Identification at intake: Are you who you say you are?

Published by: Rebecca Weisz-Hertsworm posted on 11 May 2021 reading time

In the case of a new client, we will ask for proof of identification at the intake. As mediators and lawyers, we are obliged to identify who is standing in front of us. We act for people in court or assist them during conflicts and must therefore check carefully that someone is who they say they are.

Identification in mediation

It has been a while, but I remember it well. I was acting as a mediator in a divorce case. The meeting was to start at four o'clock and the participants were right on time. They came together in a car and walked to the door of our office while talking. After shaking hands, which was still possible back then without anyone worrying about corona, and the first sip of pleur, we went through the mediation agreement.

We had seen each other before and got to know each other, so the start went smoothly. Before signing the mediation agreement, I asked for proof of identity, just for form's sake. To my astonishment, the woman had not brought her husband but his twin brother. Later, it turned out that her husband no longer wanted to participate and that the woman still wanted to settle the divorce quickly and without fuss. Identity fraud seemed to her to be a good solution.

The mediation agreement was not signed. This was a good lesson for me and since then I check the details on the identity document even more carefully. So this identification check is not only important at the intake.

Identification in the legal profession

As a lawyer, I also establish the identity of my client. I am also obliged to do so pursuant to Article 7.1 of the Regulation on the Legal Profession. The identification can be done with a valid identification document. This can be a driving licence, a passport or identity card. It is not necessary to make a copy or scan of the proof of identity. If it concerns legal assistance to a legal entity, an extract from the Trade Register will be requested to verify who is authorised to represent the company.


The obligation to establish identity is to prevent non-legal practices. Lawyers and mediators do not have to carry out an extensive investigation. Even if the investigation is limited to establishing the identity, this is not a step that can be skipped. In this way, trust in the legal profession and in mediation can be safeguarded.

Secure options are available for sending a digital copy of your identification.

For more information on our working methods as a lawyer or mediator, please contact us without obligation.