Frits Hommersom met groene bril

KiFiD expands scope of application regarding free choice of lawyer

In my nautical practice, I am regularly confronted with pleasure sailors who have legal expenses insurance and who, in the context of a legal dispute, try to have me (as a specialist in nautical matters) engaged by the insurer to represent their interests in a dispute with a third party.

In 2013, it was determined at the European level that an insured has the right to free choice of lawyer in legal proceedings. Unfortunately, practice proved to be a bit more unruly than the clean legal theory. Particularly in cases where compulsory litigation assistance was not an issue, legal expenses insurers tended to keep the matter in-house.

Fortunately, KiFid recently ruled that the costs of an external lawyer are also eligible for reimbursement in the absence of legal proceedings. KiFid ruled: at any stage that may lead to a judicial procedure, an insured may invoke free choice of lawyer.

KiFid’s ruling is particularly important in issues that require specialist knowledge.

It is precisely in the preliminary phase of an impending legal dispute that the insured has an interest in making a free choice to be assisted by a specialist in the relevant field of law, if so desired.

After all, it is precisely in such matters that thorough and specialist assistance can prevent unnecessary proceedings and ensure that the interests of the insured are optimally served.

Frits Hommersom


Frits Hommersom met groene bril

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