The Netherlands score high on the Rule of Law Index, but here, too, lawyers face threats and intimidation. Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) pointed out the deterioration in the Netherlands in a UPR report last year. For L4L, journalist Jochem Meijer and lawyer Otto Volgenant asked lawyers about their experiences.
They interviewed Richard Korver, Igna Oomen, Job Knoester and Tim de Greve and Muriël Rosing -depending on the interviewee- about threats, an obstructive Public Prosecutor’s Office, incident legislation, statements by members of parliament, social media and the functionality of a thick skin.
Attorney Richard Korver specializes in assisting victims of violence and sex offences cases. After more than twenty years as a lawyer, he has since also learnt the downsides of the legal profession. His car windows have been smashed, his office cameras vandalized and he has been threatened on several occasions. For several years, he has been trained to recognize danger more quickly.
Igna Oomen works as a lawyer in the field of asylum and immigration law. In that capacity, she assists many asylum seekers in their asylum procedure. In doing so, she has encountered abuses on quite a few occasions, comparable to the problems in the childcare allowance affair (“kindertoeslagenaffaire”). To do something about these abuses, she published, together with two others, the collection ‘Ongehoord. Onrecht in het Vreemdelingenrecht’ two years ago.
Job Knoester works mainly as a tbs lawyer. In several cases that also appeared in the news, he assisted suspects. This brought him into contact with what can be called ‘public negativity’. To be a lawyer, he says, you have to be able to take strong criticism. However, that criticism now often crosses a boundary.
Rosing and De Greve sued the Dutch State for violation of the right to privilege in the Castor case, a criminal investigation into asset manager Box Consultants. ‘They could read everything,’ says Rosing, whose emails, intended solely for her client, came into the hands of several employees of the prosecutor. They could read ‘What witnesses we wanted to go hear, what strategies we discussed with the client.’
Read the PDF (in Dutch) here.
This interview was originally published in Dutch in the Advocatenblad. Lawyers for Lawyers received permission to post the English version of the interview on our website.
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