After completing his school education at the Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden, Ernst studied Civil Law at Leiden University and classical trumpet with the principal teacher of trumpet at The Hague Conservatory.


In 1983, Ernst became an attorney alongside the eponymous Paul de Clercq, with whom he went on to form the partnership De Clercq and Van Win Lawyers in 1987. He became a registered and certified business mediator in 1996. Ernst was one of the initiators of the Grotius Employment Law specialist course and has lectured in this, as well as in rules of conduct at the Professional Law School. He joined the Supervisory Council in The Hague in 2006, in the role of ‘Leids Deken’ (Dean of Leiden). In 2009, he was elected as ‘Haags Deken’ (Dean of The Hague) and held this supervisory and administrative position until 2012. He has been a member of the Lawyers’ Conduct Review Committee, and performs various administrative and supervisory roles in the art, museum and healthcare sectors.

Ernst’s daily practice

Ernst handles matters and disputes on behalf of directors and supervisors, and provides boardroom advice on complex organisational changes. He deals with conflicts in partnerships and in behavioural and disciplinary law, and with employment and employment participation law matters, including in the art world. Ernst provides advice relating to Codes of Conduct and ethical issues.

Selected cases

Mergers of museums and orchestras

Provided advice on the employment and employment participation law aspects of proposed mergers and their finalisation.

Arbitration relating to the performance of a pension fund’s administration agreement and on a dispute involving an international partner of one of the big four accountants with his firm.

Guiding and settling of the dismissal of a director/shareholder in a rapidly growing start-up company

Negotiation and purchase of one of the oldest Rembrandts on behalf of Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden

Providing employment law guidance for professional musicians