Why are you working at Hertoghs?
When I was looking to switch from the tax judiciary to litigation, Hertoghs was an obvious choice. Hertoghs is an absolute top-class firm in multiple respects when it comes to tax and criminal law. The late Hans Hertoghs pioneered this unique niche more than 30 years ago. Before that, tax and criminal litigation were two separate worlds. Tax experts and tax advisers are not familiar with criminal and penalty law, while tax law is a mystery to most criminal lawyers. At Hertoghs, I have the opportunity to combine the two fields of law at the highest level. Subject matter expertise, teamwork and quality are priorities here.
What attracts you in Hertoghs’ areas of expertise?
It is the combination of fields of law that appeals to me: yin and yang. When you practise criminal law, the yin, you deal with people; a lot of emotions come into play. Clients have a strong personal interest in their case and criminal law offers great scope for interpretation, creativity and negotiation. Out-of-court settlements are not unusual. Criminal law is a basic and historic field of law that is rooted in the codification of principles of law, case law and customary law. The human dimension and the defendant take centre-stage in a criminal law setting.
Tax law, the yang, is the diametric opposite. Substantive tax law and procedural tax law are extremely complex, highly technical, legally inscrutable and rather opaque. Tax regulations and tax case law are political and instrumental; they can change from year to year. Tax disputes are not so much about people as they are about financial interests. By playing two-level chess and recognising the overlap between these two fields of law, you are bound to gain unique perspectives. When you leverage your expertise in the two fields, you will achieve the best results for your clients.
What is your particular expertise and how did you develop it?
I earned a master’s degree in Dutch law with a specialisation in criminal law and criminology from the University of Groningen. After that, I got a master’s degree in tax law from VU University Amsterdam. I specialised in indirect taxes. I started my legal career as a judicial clerk with the Tax Law Team of the District Court of The Hague. After a few years, I decided to become an attorney in January 2015. Besides litigating tax cases and practising tax and criminal law, I specialise in cases involving foreign assets, recovery disputes and indirect taxes (VAT and customs). Tax proceedings in cassation are also an area of special interest to me.
What is your definition of a good attorney?
I think a good attorney should be solutions-oriented. As an attorney, I am not looking to play games. I want to solve the problem at hand. Taxpayers or defendants typically do not have control over what happens to them, but they can control how they deal with the situation. The tax authorities and the Public Prosecution Service are powerful government agencies that can leave a trail of destruction in their bureaucratic wake for a business or individual. A good attorney knows how to protect their clients from the worst of it and will go all-out to defend their clients’ legitimate interests. A good attorney plays hardball, but always respects the human dimension.
- Master’s degree in Dutch law, specialisation in criminal law and criminology, from University of Groningen (2009)
- Master’s degree in tax law, a focus on indirect taxes, from VU University Amsterdam (2011)
- Professional certificate in litigation, specialisation in criminal law (2018)
- Specialist course in tax litigation (2020)
- Course in law of criminal evidence, VU University Amsterdam (2020)
- Specialisatie Opleiding Strafrecht Willem Pompe Instituut 2022
- Member of the Dutch Tax Lawyers Association (NVAB)
- Member of the Dutch Association of Defence Council (NVSA)
- Member of the Association for Tax Studies (vvBw)
- Member of the Association for Corporate Growth Holland (ACG Holland)
- Guest lecturer at the student court for tax law, Tilburg University
- Regular annotator NTFR (Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Fiscaal Recht)
- Co-author of BTW-fraude (VAT fraud), a book published in 2020