There are several professions involved in distributing legal services in the Netherlands. These are, to some extent, in competition with one another. The advocaat is the only one mentioned in the 1977 Legal Services Directive. Most advocaten are also procureur, the exercise of which profession is compatible with that of advocate. The function of the procureur is explained below.
Dutch lawyers are either advocaten or procureurs. Some are only an advocaat and some are only a procureur, but the bulk are both. On January 1, 1989 there were 5,655 advocates, of which 1,311 were trainee advocates. There is compulsory liability insurance for this profession.
The role of the procureur is to sign documents in civil cases. The procureur deals with formal aspects in civil procedure. It is the procureur that is known to the court and he can introduce the advocaten from different districts.
For example an advocaat in Rotterdam acting in a divorce case in Amsterdam is able to prepare the documents but cannot exhibit these before the Amsterdam court. The local procureur must be in the court and it is he that must sign and send the documents to court. During the oral procedure the Rotterdam advocaat can appear even without the assistance of the local procureur, after a, usually written, introduction by the local procureur.
In criminal cases there is no division of labour and no procureur.
The intending Advocaat will have to complete a law degree and a professional stage.