Professional ID Card for Lawyers in Belgium

Professional ID Card for Lawyers in Belgium


Online authentication made easy with strong authentication and qualified signatures.

To allow strong authentication of lawyers and to enable them to sign documents on line in that capacity, Belgian bar councils Orde van Vlaamse balies (OVB) and Ordre des barreaux francophones de Belgique (OBFG), invited Zetes to deliver a secure solution. Our dedicated production site and card personalisation capabilities, combined with the ability of its ZetesConfidens division to issue authentication and signature certificates, plus provide an identity document delivery service, enabled Zetes to offer an end-to-end solution with the best possible security guarantees.

In 2016, the OBFG (AVOCATS.BE) and OVB joined forces and, in collaboration with the Belgian Federal Justice Department, undertook to digitise the administrative procedures related to the legal profession. The  creation of a secure platform  was part of this ambitious project. The lawyers had to be able to log onto it for access to various IT services and in particular,  to send documents to courts, other lawyers and clients, as well as to file submissions. This is the context in which the question of lawyer authentication arose and in which Zetes was contacted by the two organisations behind the project.

lawyers card

Online authentication and electronic signatures

This project had several aims. All lawyers in Belgium had to be equipped with an authentication tool that would allow them to log onto the platform  and sign documents digitally.


Moreover, to optimise the use of the professional identity card, it should allow access to certain buildings, such as courts and prisons. Building access was previously managed locally via the production of passes. By choosing a single system and supplier, the OVB and the OBFG resolutely opted for a centralised system.

Finally, the lawyerscard would be used to register for training sessions.

After  exploring  several avenues, they finally  chose a chip card containing two certificates:  one for authentication and one for the signature. Zetes handles both the production and the personalisation of the card, as well as generating the certificates.

A Qualified Trust Services Provider

Generation of certificates is managed by eaZyCert, a solution from ZetesConfidens’ portfolio which includes a PKI infrastructure. ZetesConfidens holds the status of Qualified Trust Service Provider under the terms of European Union regulation EU910/2014 and therefore appears on the European Trust List.

To issue certificates for lawyers (a total of around 18,000 people), ZetesConfidens’ eaZyCert solution uses the LRA (Local Registration Authority) principle. This means that ZetesConfidens delegates the collection  of  the  data necessary to  establish  the  identity of cardholders  to the administrative  employees of the bar councils. To be able to issue qualified certificates, registration is controlled to guarantee the highest possible level of security concerning the identity of the certificate holder. To do this, bar employees use registration stations provided by ZetesConfidens. The card can also be ordered on line. In that case, ZetesConfidens uses the Belgian eID as a strong authentication tool.

Secure management from production to delivery

lawyers cardAs the supplier  of the eID card (since 2003), the Kids-ID, driving licences and passports, Zetes has highly secure facilities where identity documents are produced.

The same infrastructure, with ISO 27001 certification for the secure management of information  systems, was used for the production and personalisation of the lawyerscard. The letters informing  lawyers of their  PIN/PUK codes are also printed there. These codes let them activate their cards when they are picking them up. The cards are delivered to the bar councils by the ZetesExpress courier service. They remain in secure mode, since they have not been activated, until delivered to the individual cardholder following a final check of his or her identity.

They can only be activated using PIN codes, which are sent directly to the lawyers.

Services to guarantee the continuity of the project

Zetes and its ZetesConfidens division also offer a range of services, such as validation services for certificates (OCSP), to answer queries concerning the validity of a certificate, a call centre available 24/7 to disable a card in case of loss or theft, a support service in case of technical problems and to provide training,  so that bar employees will  always have correct and up-to-date information. In this way, Zetes provides complete management of the card life cycle and its certificates.

PKI security eIDAS QTSP e-signature




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