The Amsterdam Bar Association, which this year has the honors of hosting the General Congress, has chosen the ethical dilemmas facing lawyers today as its central theme and has developed this theme into several subtopics in line with current events.

Every lawyer faces dilemmas, not only with regard to how a case is handled, but also with regard to taking on clients, cases and payments. Which clients are still allowed, and which are not, when should a case be discontinued? How far should a lawyer go in identifying his client and the source of his payment? The regulations for lawyers are getting tougher on this point, think for example of the law for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and sanction regulations. Besides regulations, own norms and values can also play a role, something that is increasingly the case with young lawyers. And above all, let us not forget the increasing pressure of public opinion. Can we still act for a big oil company that pollutes the environment; can we act for a Russian client? And how do these regulations, public opinion and personal views relate to access to justice? Does this not jeopardize the lawyer’s gatekeeper function? Interesting questions about which there is much to say. This includes the dilemmas a lawyer faces in the case of major criminal trials. How can lawyers guard against the pressure exerted on them from the criminal milieu? How do lawyers deal with threats? This congress will address all these questions.

The premise of the congress is that the questions will be discussed and then not only by the panellists, but also with those present in the room. Therefore, each sub-topic will be preceded by a poll in the room on a stimulating proposition, followed by a short introduction and then a lively panel discussion with hopefully a lot of interaction from the audience.

The theme of the congress is a contemporary one. The congress hopes to contribute to thinking about today’s ethical dilemmas and how to deal with them. The congress also hopes to be inspiring for members of the young bar. Several speakers are therefore from the young bar. We are convinced that the combination of experience, youthful enthusiasm and topicality will lead to a great conference.

We therefore hope to welcome many of you to Amsterdam.