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In the Netherlands, attorneys are divided into two categories: the notaris (notary) and the advocaat (attorney). Both have their own duties and specialties.
A notaris handles general civil matters and matters involving documentation:
A notaris is not a litigator and does not appear in court. A notaris is an impartial entity; therefore, he or she works for both interested parties, contrary to in many other countries. Because the notaris in the Netherlands can work for the vendor and buyer, the buyer usually chooses the notaris. There is also a notaris helpline which is available in English.
The advocaat is a litigator and represents and assists only one party in a legal civil matter. He or she can also be considered an advisor/counselor who can go to court, communicate with all party representatives, and interact with the higher legal entities. For criminal cases, a criminal lawyer is needed. For more detailed information on advocaten, view de Rechtspraak.