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Why are lawyers in the Netherlands obliged to establish the identity of new clients?


Like all lawyers registered in the Netherlands, AMS Advocaten is obliged to establish the identity of new clients. This obligation stems from the European legislation for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act

Since the introduction of the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act and the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act in 2008, specific professional groups in the Netherlands have been obliged to monitor more closely the money flows within their companies. The legislation applies to notaries, accountants, tax advisers, and lawyers.

Dutch Legal Profession Regulations

Subsequently, the Legal Profession Regulations came into force in 2015. These included additional supervisory regulations for the implementation of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act and the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act. These regulations require all lawyers in the Netherlands to establish the identity of their clients.

Identification of natural persons and legal entities

AMS Advocaten will establish the identity of a natural person by means of a (copy of a) valid identity card (passport, driving licence, or identity card). In the case of legal entities, we verify the authorised representatives of a legal entity (alone or together with other directors) on the basis of a current (online) extract from the Trade Register. We also establish the identity of the (indirect) representatives by means of a valid proof of identity.

Dutch lawyer guarantees privacy

AMS Advocaten store and process all personal information in accordance with the legal regulations. This means that personal information will only be used to comply with our statutory duty to provide proof of identity. Furthermore, the information will be stored securely and will not be kept any longer than necessary.

Confidentiality and the right to remain silent in the Netherlands

For lawyers, confidentiality is a key concept. Under Dutch law, lawyers have an obligation to observe secrecy. This means that, in principle, they do not disclose to third parties the identities of their clients and the content of specific cases (unless the client agrees or there are other reasons that confidentiality is not necessary). The lawyer also has a right to refuse to give evidence. This means that a lawyer who is summoned to testify in court may exercise their right to remain silent.

AMS Advocaten in the Netherlands: Secure transmission of data

In short, upon the engagement of AMS Advocaten, you will be asked to provide information to be able to establish your identity satisfactorily. AMS Advocaten is required to do so under Dutch law. Your information will be processed confidentially and adequately and will not be kept for longer than necessary.

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