Bolivia International Trade in Legal Service

IBA Global Cross Border Legal Services Report:

National licensing requirements

Ley del Ejercicio de la AbogacíaLey 387- 9 de Julio 2013

To become an abogado in Bolivia, a candidate must complete a law degree at one of the eight Bolivian law faculties (9-10 semesters) and then submit a graduation certificate and certificate of good civil standing to the Ministry of Justice.

Only lawyers registered with the Ministry of Justice may practise law in the territory of Bolivia (article 6, Ley del Ejercicio de la Abogacia).

Abogados may work in partnerships, corporations or in sole practice. There are not limitations indicated in law.

The Code of Ethics is contained in Supreme Decree No 26052

Yes - Firms must submit a written request to the Ministry of Justice along with photocopy of the act or deed of incorporation, copy of the deposit proving the payment for registration to the MoJ, certification that certifies the registration of all members of the corporation, and a document containing the structure, regulations and internal procedures of the company. The MoJ through the Public registry of Lawyers will verify the compliance with the requirements to proceed with the registration.

The Ministry of Justice licences individual practitioners and registers law firms.

Regulation of trade in legal services

Bolivia joined the WTO on 12 September 1995

Bolivia has made no sectoral GATS commitments on legal services

Bolivia is a member of MERCOSUR (with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay) , of the Andean Community (CAN) with Peru, Colombia, Ecuador; and of ALADI (Latin American Integration Association), with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela

"MERCOSUR establishes a common market including the free circulation of goods, services, capital and labour between the member countries. Andean Community makes provision for the free trade in services between Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador, excluding financial services. ALADI facilitates the creation of a Latin American Common Market between 13 member countries including MERCOSUR and Andean Community member states. "

Trade in legal services is not explicitly covered in these agreements, although the free movement of business persons is encouraged.

Yes. There are regional South American law firms with offices in Bolivia (e.g. Ferrere).

Regulation of foreign lawyers

Foreign companies or individuals may carry out isolated or occasional acts in Bolivia without having to register or incorporate. If, however, these acts are habitual, registration or incorporation is mandatory.

Special-Purpose visas are granted for reasons of work, health and family for a stay of 30 days, and 180 days for temporary work for those who carry out remunerated activities. A Multiple Entry Visa is granted for a stay in Bolivia of 1 year and is given to those individuals who carry out investment and business activities in Bolivia.

Parties can only choose lawyers who are licensed to practise in Bolivia to represent them in arbitrations in Bolivia. (Bolivian Arbitration and Conciliation Law No 1770/1997)

Following registration with the MoJ and approval of foreign qualification credentials, foreign lawyers are permitted to appear in court.

Regulation of foreign law firms

Any foreign company may incorporate a branch office in Bolivia without limitation.

In order to establish a branch office, the following documents are required: articles of incorporation; bylaws; certificate of good standing; and board resolution approving the establishment of a branch.

Regulation of foreign and domestic lawyer partnership and employment

According to the law, foreign investors entering into joint venture contracts must establish a legal domicile in Bolivia. Under Bolivian law, joint venture agreements do not have legal status, and must be notarized and registered before the Commerce Registry. Foreign companies investing in certain regulated industries are required to enter into joint venture agreements.

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for all registration of law firms. ()

There are no limitations or special restrictions for foreign partners or shareholders; in the case of a foreign entity, a certificate of good standing is required.

Yes - expatriates may comprise only 15% of the worforce of a company registered and dominciled in Bolivia

Other useful links / sources

Colegio Nacional de Abogados de Bolivia, and Illustre Colegio de Abogados de La Paz https://www.icalp.org.bo/