Complaints & Disputes

While Hielkema & co will make every effort to provide you with the best possible service, you may find yourself not completely satisfied with some aspect of our service. Below, we explain what course of action you can take to resolve any issues. We will listen. We want our clients to feel satisfied.

Our internal complaints procedure

If you are dissatisfied with the quality of our services or about the invoice you received, we request that you first submit your objections to your own lawyer. Alternatively, you may direct your complaint to our firm’s Complaints Officer, H.M. Hielkema. We will work with you to find a solution to the problem at hand as soon as possible; we will always confirm this solution to you in writing. If you nevertheless feel our discussion has not produced a satisfactory outcome, you have the option of submitting a complaint to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur). However, this is possible only after you have submitted your complaint to our firm first or after our firm has failed to respond to your complaint in writing within four weeks.

Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur)

Hielkema & co is a member of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur). This Disputes Committee was established on 1 June 1999 and falls  under the authority of the Foundation for Disputes Committees for Consumer Cases (Stichting Geschillencommissies voor Consumentenzaken/SGC) and the Foundation for Disputes Committees for Profession and Business (Stichting Geschillencommissies voor Beroep en Bedrijf/SGB). You can submit your complaint to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession (Geschillencommissie Advocatuur) up to 12 months after the date of the written response you received from our firm.   The Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur will deliver a ruling in the form of an arbitration award for business clients or in the form of a binding opinion if the dispute is referred by a private client. The Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur is competent to rule on complaints regarding the quality of the services provided by solicitors and on the legitimacy of invoice amounts. You may also believe you are entitled to compensation for damages. The Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur is also authorised to rule on damage claims up to an amount of €10,000. Claims for damages involving larger amounts can only be referred to the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur if you specifically limit the amount of the claim to €10,000, whereby you waive the excess amount in writing.   The Complaints and Dispute Settlement Scheme for the Legal Profession/Klachten- en Geschillenregeling Advocatuur does not rule on disputes relating to the collection of one or more invoices sent by the Partnership to the client. The Disputes Committee will handle the case in accordance with the regulations of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession as applicable at the time the complaint is submitted to the Disputes Committee. Rulings of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur are not open to appeal.   The address of the Disputes Committee is: Secretaris Geschillencommissie Advocatuur (Secretary of the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession), Bordewijklaan 46 (second floor) 2591 XR The Hague, the Netherlands PO Box 90600 2509 LP The Hague, the Netherlands – tel. +31 (0)70 310 53 10 www.geschillencommissie.nl For more information about the Disputes Committee for the Legal Profession/Geschillencommissie Advocatuur, feel free to request a leaflet. Alternatively, you can request information from the Dutch Bar Association (Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten www.advocatenorde.nl).