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IBA Global Cross Border Legal Services Report: Albania

IBA Global Cross Border Legal Services Report:

Albania

Verified by: Kalo Attorneys

National licensing requirements

Under the Advocacy Law (Article 13), the profession of advocate can be practised in the Republic of Albania by every Albanian citizen who meets the following conditions:

  • a) Has full legal capacity to act;
  • b) Has completed the second cycle program of university studies in law in the country, or a unified degree, or has completed recognised university studies in law abroad,
  • c) Has completed an internship with an advocate practicing the profession of advocate in the Republic of Albania, for a period not less than one year and has received a positive evaluation;
  • d) Has successfully completed the initial training program at the School of Advocacy and received the relevant certificate;
  • e) Has no unspent conviction for a criminal offense committed intentionally or for a criminal offense committed in negligence, for which he/she has not been rehabilitated and which threatens the reputation and integrity of the profession of advocate
  • f) Has not had previous disciplinary action taken against them, removing the title of advocate, unless this disciplinary measure has been extinguished pursuant to the specific provisions of the law;
  • g) Has not been discharged from a public function, for reasons of ethical integrity, by a final binding decision of the competent body, except when the disciplinary measure is extinguished according to the specific legislation;
  • h) Has successfully passed the Advocate's Qualifying Exam, according to the rules laid down in this law, in the Articles of Association of the Advocacy Chamber of Albania and relevant regulations.
  • i) Has paid the required fee to the Advocacy Chamber of Albania.

An advocate may perform the following activities:

  • (a) Legal counselling of natural and legal persons;
  • (b) representation in criminal, civil, administrative proceedings, or of any other nature that may not be included in these three categories, at any scale of the judiciary, inside or outside country, in international courts or any other body, with which the Republic of Albania has adhered, as well as representation in mediation or arbitration procedures;
  • (c) drafting legal acts and any other acts, according to the requirements of natural or legal persons, domestic or foreign, within the territory of Republic of Albania;
  • (d) other actions provided for in Albanian legislation or foreign legislation, when the activity is performed outside the territory of the Republic of Albania.

Any natural or legal person who has not acquired the title of advocate, in accordance with the provisions of the Advocacy Law is not permitted to: (a)act as a representative of the parties or draft written acts for the parties in the court proceedings, in which the parties should be represented by an advocate, according to the procedural legislation in force; (b) act as a representative of a party, where not included in the category of subjects that can represent the parties, according to the procedural legislation even if the law does not provide for representation only by an advocate; (c) act as advocate by presenting false or untrue facts, with the intention of deceiving the public.

Advocates may practise individually or jointly with other advocates organized in law firms incorporated pursuant to the Albanian Company Law.

The advocate practising law in the republic of Albania must comply with the following requirements: Hold an annual permit for the exercise of the profession; be registered with the commercial register, comply with the provisions provided for in the Articles of Association of the Advocacy Chamber of Albania and Advocate’s Code of Ethics; have fulfilled any legal obligations in relation to professional liability; attend the continuing training program, in accordance with the provisions of the Advocates Law. The Code of Ethics is being updated following the new Advocates Act 2018.

There is no specific license required for law firms to practice law. However, the establishment of a law firm is subject to approval by the Advocacy Chamber of Albania.

The Advocacy Chamber of Albania issues licences to individual lawyers and approves the establishment of law firms by one or more advocates.

Regulation of trade in legal services

Albania joined the WTO on 8 September 2000

Albania has reserved legal services (CPC 861 - excluding consultancy on the law of the jurisdiction where the service supplier is qualified as a lawyer and on international law), across modes 1-4, to Albanian citizens who are qualified as lawyers or notaries, and resident in Albania. It has committed access in modes 1-3 in consultancy on foreign and international law.

Albania is a party to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and has bilateral trade agreements with the EU and Turkey. It has been recognised under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU as a potential candidate country for membership of the EU, although negotiations have not yet begun.

Not currently, although trade in services is included in CEFTA and negotiations should eventually touch on professional services, including legal. As a candidate country for EU membership Albania will have to progressively move towards the EU acquis, which includes the European single market regime for lawyers.

There are subsidiary offices of international, Greek, Italian and Austrian law firms present in the Albanian market.

Regulation of foreign lawyers

There is no explicit restriction set forth in the applicable legislation that a foreign lawyer obtains a visa to visit clients or to market insofar as the foreign lawyer does not practice law in Albania within the meaning and requirements set forth by the Albanian Advocacy Law.

There is no such concept of limited license in the Albanian legislation although there are no restrictions on foreign lawyers practising as legal consultants on foreign and international law.

There is no explicit restriction set forth in the applicable legislation. Foreign lawyers having obtained the relevant license pursuant to the Albanian legislation in force are entitled to the same rights as Albanian lawyers; therefore, representation in mediation or arbitration procedures should be permitted.

Foreign lawyers may appear in court only after having obtained a licence to practice law in Albania pursuant to the legislation in force.

Yes. Any European Union citizen who has acquired the title of lawyer, according to the rules of that Member State, and has signed a co-operation agreement with a law firm in the Republic of Albania, and been recognized and registered as such by the Advocacy Chamber of Albania and the tax authorities. After practicing the profession of advocate for a period not less than three years in Albania, an EU lawyer may request the right to be registered as a full advocate with the Advocacy Chamber of Albania.

Regulation of foreign law firms

There is no specific provision in the Albanian legislation referring to foreign law firms. But it is likely that foreign law firms must undergo the same approvals as local law firms (i.e. approval from Advocacy Chamber of Albania etc.).

In addition to the relevant approval from the Advocacy Chamber, a foreign law firm must register with the National Business Centre.

Regulation of foreign and domestic lawyer partnership and employment

Under the Advocacy Law, law firms are registered as a legal entity in the form provided by the applicable legislation in force i.e. the Company Law. Accordingly, under the Company Law a legal entity may be established as a subsidiary of a foreign company or as a branch or as a representative office of a foreign company. In the case of subsidiaries, the business forms typically utilized that are provided for under the Albanian Company Law are as follows: General Partnership; Limited Partnership; Limited Liability Company; or Joint Stock Company. General and Limited Partnerships are rarely used in practice whereas limited liability companies (SHPK) and joint stock companies (SHA) are the most frequently used forms of businesses encountered in Albania.

There are no provisions in the Albanian legislation referring explicitly to foreign law firms. There are however rules provided for in the Articles of Association of the Advocacy Chamber of Albania, which apply to the name law firms can use where they have been established by one or more advocates. Additionally, where the foreign lawyer is granted the title of ‘advocate’ (in cases of foreign citizen who has earned the title “advocate” in a member state of the European Union, and has signed a co-operation agreement with one law firm duly established in the Republic of Albania), the name of the foreign lawyer should be placed after the name of known and registered law firm in the Republic of Albania accompanied by words "in cooperation with".

Advocacy Chamber of Albania.

If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL

http://www.dhka.org.al/

There are no restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm, provided they are admitted as advocates or if the entity concerned is not engaged in the practice of law. (See General Principles of the Code of Ethics)

There are no restrictions provided by the applicable law.

Albanian advocates are not allowed to fee share with non-advocates or form partnerships with non advocates. They are also only allowed to be partners in one law firm (See rules 11-13 of the Code of Ethics).

Other useful links / sources

National Chamber of Advocacy of Albania http://www.dhka.org.al/