On 7 November 2013, the CJEU issued a preliminary ruling (in Jan Sneller v DAS Nederlandse Rechtsbijstand Verzekeringsmaatschappij NV (C-442/12)) on the interpretation of Article 4(1) of Council Directive 87/344/EEC relating to legal expenses insurance. Article 4(1) provides for the freedom of the insured under legal expenses policies to choose their lawyer. In this case, the insurer in question had issued a policy which provided for legal assistance for the policyholder to be provided by the insurer's own employees. The policy also provided that, if a case must (either according to the terms of the contract or in the insurer's opinion) be referred to external counsel, the insured would then have the right to choose his own lawyer.The CJEU found that this was contrary to Article 4(1). Furthermore, the CJEU found that the position would be no different if legal assistance for the proceedings in question was not compulsory under national law.
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CJEU ruling - insured's entitlement to select a lawyer under legal expenses insurance policy
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