In 2007, there were approximately 15 thousand lawyers in the Netherlands, nearly 4 thousand more than in 2000. The steady increase in the number of lawyers is not merely confined to the Netherlands.
Number of cases increases more rapidly than number of lawyers
The number of lawyers grows annually, but at a slower rate than the number of court cases. The bulk of activities consists of preparing and participating in lawsuits. The number of lawyers had risen by nearly 35 percent in 2007 relative to 2000. Over the same period, the number of cases brought before Dutch courts grew by half, but was marginally reduced relative to 2007.
Lawyers and cases dealt with by Dutch courts, index (2000 = 100)
Increase also occurs in other European countries
The number of lawyers has also risen in other European countries in recent years. Between 2000 and 2007, the ratio per 10 thousand inhabitants increased by 2 in the Netherlands and Belgium. In Germany, the ratio per 10 thousand inhabitants increased by 5 in the same period.
Relatively few lawyers in the Netherlands
With more than 8 lawyers per 10 thousand inhabitants, the inhabitant-to-lawyer ratio is relatively low in the Netherlands compared with the surrounding countries. The ratio is twice as high in Belgium and Germany and even higher in Great Britain. The highest ratio in Europe is found in Spain with 26 lawyers per 10 thousand inhabitants. In the Netherlands, many institutions and organisations are engaged in solving problems and conflicts without intervention by a lawyer. This partly accounts for the low inhabitant-to-lawyer ratio in the Netherlands.
Average number of lawyers per 10 thousand inhabitants, 2004-2006
Mathijs Jacobs and Nynke de Lange