A person using legal expenses insurance (LEI) has the right under EU law to choose their own lawyer for mediation proceedings, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled.

The question was what falls under the term “proceedings” in article 201 of Directive 2009/138/EC (also known as known as Solvency II).

Article 201 already allows freedom of choice in choosing a lawyer in “proceedings”. Under article 201 (1)(a), any LEI contract shall provide that: “where recourse is had to a lawyer or other person appropriately qualified […] in order to defend, represent or serve the interests of the insured person in any inquiry or proceedings, that insured person shall be free to choose such lawyer or other person.”

In relation to mediation, the CJEU found that the term “proceedings” includes any stage which is capable of leading to proceedings before a judicial body. There is no distinction drawn between the preparatory stage and the decision-making stage of such proceedings.

This means that an insured person using LEI can choose their own lawyer for mediation proceedings.