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Gabon International Trade in Legal Services

IBA Global Cross Border Legal Services Report:

Verified by: Ordre des Avocats du Gabon

National licensing requirements

Law No. 013/2014 of 7 January 2015 Organising the Profession of Advocates in Gabon

In accordance with provisions of Ch. 3, to be admitted to the Bar the applicant must: i) hold a law degree in or a master's degree in law or any other equivalent degree (Art. 19); ii) have completed a one-year internship under the supervision of a licenced lawyer with at least 5 years on the Roll of Advocates. (Art. 19); iii) after the first internship, make an application to the president of the bar association for the second internship period of one year(Art. 20); iv) At the end of the second internship, make an application to the Bar Council for enrolment at the bar (Art. 31).

An avocat may practise as an individual, in a partnership, within a professional company, in collaboration, as a salaried lawyer, or in a company of advocates (Art. 5).

The ethical and regulatory requirements that the lawyer must adhere to are contained in Law No. 013/2014 of 7 January 2015 organising the Profession of Advocates in Gabon

Yes. Law firms must be authorized by the Council of the Gabon Bar (Art. 46)

The Council of the Bar Association of Gabon issues licenses for both individual lawyers and law firms.

Regulation of trade in legal services

Gabon joined the WTO on 1 January 1995

Gabon has made no sectoral GATS commitments on legal services

Gabon is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). In addition, Gabon has signed preferential trade agreements with Kazakhstan, Turkey and United States of America.

No, but negotiations are under way at the CEMAC level to strengthen integration, particularly of professional services. Gabon also has a bilateral judicial cooperation agreement with France which provides for the free movement of legal services (Art. 31 of the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance, Exequatur of Judgments and Extradition between the French Republic and the Republic of Gabon of 23 July 1963).

Lawyers from France are permitted by the Judicial Cooperation Treaty to appear before Gabonese courts as local lawyers.

Yes. Local law firms are alliance members of the DLA Piper network and in association with the multijurisdictional African law firm John W Ffooks & Co.

Regulation of foreign lawyers

There is no limited licensing regime for foreign lawyers in Gabon, however the law allows foreign lawyers to have access to Gabon courts subject to certain conditions including practicing in association with a local lawyer (Art 45)

Yes. While the provisions of the uniform acts on mediation and arbitration in OHADA (Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) do not specify whether or not foreign lawyers may undertake arbitration and mediation, this happens in practice.

Only lawyers from a country offering reciprocal access may appear before the courts, if they meet certain conditions (Art. 12).

Yes - subject to reciprocity conditions.

Regulation of foreign law firms

Gabon’s 1998 investment code implements CEMAC's investment regulations and provides the same rights to foreign companies operating in Gabon as to domestic firms. Foreign businesses need to register with the Investment Promotion Agency (ANPI-Gabon).

Regulation of foreign and domestic lawyer partnership and employment

Lawyers of foreign nationality may practise in Gabon with one or more Gabonese lawyers, on condition that the Gabonese advocates hold the majority of shares of the firm concerned. (Art. 45)

Foreign lawyers may not hold the majority of shares in a law firm in Gabon.

Yes, but the foreign lawyer must first be authorised to appear in court.

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