1. The terms used in this office complaint procedure shall have the following meaning:
    a) Client: the Lawyer’s client.
    b) Complaint: any written expression of dissatisfaction by or on behalf of the Client towards the Lawyer or the persons working under her responsibility regarding the execution of an agreement for services, the quality of service or the amount of the fee, not being a complaint as referred to in Section 4 of the Lawyers Act.
    c) Complainant: the Client or Client’s representative making a complaint.
    d) Complaint Officer: the lawyer charged with handling the complaint.
    e) Firm: the Partnership and, both jointly and individually, the Lawyers affiliated with the Partnership, being either a natural person or a legal entity.
    f) Lawyer: any lawyer working for and affiliated with the Firm.
    g) Partnership: the partnership Smidswater advocaten, whose members include Ms. C.B.M. Bonnier, Ms. F.A.M. van Bree and Ms. S.A. van Dijkum.

Scope of application

  1. This Complaints Procedure applies to any agreement for services between the Lawyer and the Client.
  2. Each Lawyer takes care of handling Complaints in accordance with the office complaint procedure.


  1. The purpose of this office complaints procedure is:
    a) establishing a procedure to deal constructively with Complaints within a reasonable period of time;
    b) establishing a procedure to determine the causes of Complaints;
    c) maintaining and enhancing existing relationships through proper complaint handling;
    d) training employees in client-centred response to Complaints;
    e) improving service quality with complaint handling and complaint analysis.

Information at start of service

  1. Complaints as referred to in article 1 of this office complaints procedure that are not resolved between the Client and the relevant Lawyer may be submitted to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession or the civil court, in which latter case the court in The Hague shall have exclusive jurisdiction, subject to the Partnership’s right, as plaintiff, to submit the dispute to the court of the Client’s place of residence.

Internal complaint procedure

  1. If a Client approaches the Firm with a Complaint, the Complaint will be directed to Ms. F.A.M. van Bree, who thereby acts as Complaints Officer. In case of her absence or when the Complaint concerns the actions of Ms. F.A.M. van Bree, Ms. C.B.M. Bonnier will act in her place as complaints officer.
  2. The Complaints Officer shall notify the person complained about of the filing of the Complaint and give the Complainant and the person complained about an opportunity to provide an explanation of the Complaint.
  3. The person about whom a complaint has been made attempts to reach a solution together with the Client whether or not after the intervention of the Complaints Officer.
  4. The Complaints Officer will resolve the Complaint within four weeks of receipt of the Complaint or will notify the Complainant of any deviation from this time period, stating the time period within which an opinion on the Complaint will be issued.
  5. The Complaints Officer shall notify the Complainant and the person complained about in writing of the opinion on the merits of the Complaint, whether or not accompanied by recommendations.
  6. If the Complaint is satisfactorily resolved, the Complainant, the Complaints Officer and the person complained about will sign a statement on the merits of the Complaint.

Confidentiality and free complaint handling

  1. The Complaints Officer and the person complained about shall observe confidentiality in handling the complaint.
  2. The Complainant shall not be liable for reimbursement of the costs of handling the Complaint.


  1. The Complaint Officer is responsible for the timely resolution of the Complaint.
  2. The person complained about will keep the Complaint Officer informed on any contact and possible resolution.
  3. The Complaints Officer will keep the Complainant informed about the handling of the Complaint.
  4. The Complaints Officer maintains the complaint file.

Complaint Registration

  1. The Complaint Officer records the Complaint along with the complaint subject.
  2. A Complaint can be divided into several topics.
  3. The Complaints Officer reports periodically on the handling of Complaints and makes recommendations to prevent new complaints, as well as to improve procedures.
  4. At least once a year, reports and recommendations are discussed at the Firm and presented for decision.