Rutten, Hubeau and Van Houtte, ‘Legal malpractice in Belgium: redress from a client perspective’

This article focuses on the mechanisms providing direct redress for a client, victim of legal malpractice, in Belgium. Generally jurisprudence focuses on lawyer discipline (regulatory approach), while the client perspective (end-user approach) is somewhat overlooked. From his perspective, the client does not care if a certain duty is expressly embedded in the Code of Ethics of the Bar, the main point is which remedies are available. The paper starts off with the analysis of some of the (limited) data available regarding malpractice claims in Belgium. Secondly, the different means of redress available are examined. The two collective insurance policies concluded by the Bar Associations constitute the most important means of redress. The first collective insurance protects clients against errors committed by their attorney. The second collective insurance protects clients against the mishandling of their money. Since the 1st of January 2016 consumers can seek assistance from the Ombudsman Service for Consumer Disputes involving Attorneys. Finally, the individual redress through ordinary court procedures is discussed. The article has adopted an end-user approach. It focuses on how a consumer/client can obtain redress in cases of legal malpractice.

Stefan Rutten, Bernard Hubeau and Jean Van Houtte, Legal malpractice in Belgium: redress from a client perspective, International Journal of the Legal Profession. Published online: 24 Feb 2017.

First posted 2017-02-28 13:13:49

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