Serbia International Trade in Legal Services

IBA Global Cross Border Legal Services Report:

National licensing requirements

Legal Profession Act of 9 May 2011

Admission to the Serbian Bar requires the following: (i) A law degree earned in the Republic of Serbia or a law degree earned in a foreign country and recognized in accordance with the regulations governing the University education sector; (ii) Successful completion of the bar exam; (iii) Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia; (iv) General health and full working capacity; (v) Not to hold employed status; (vi) Not to possess a criminal record; (vii) Not to undertake any incompatible activities; (viii) To be worthy of the practice of law; (ix) To have a practicing address and be able to fulfill the technical requirements laid down by the Bar Association of Serbia. If an applicant has previously been refused registration, at least three years must have elapsed since any previous refusal decision.

Only a licensed lawyer may provide written/oral legal advice, representation in court, mediation for the purpose of concluding a legal transaction or the peaceful settlement of disputes and contentious relationships and draft contracts and other legal documents.

Attorneys can practise law independently, in a joint law office (.e. not a formal legal entity but one that is established by contract) or as a member of a law partnership (a legal entity, established by contract). Multi-disciplinary practices partnerships are not allowed.

Ethical requirements are contained in the Code of Professional Ethics of the Bar Association of Serbia.

The Bar Association of Serbia issues licences to individual lawyers and authorises law firms.

Regulation of trade in legal services

Serbia has observer status at the WTO. Accession has been in progress since 15 February 2005

Serbia is a member of CEFTA, has a bilateral Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU and bilateral FTAs with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the European Free Trade Association.

No, although as a potential candidate country for EU membership, Serbia will have to progressively move towards the EU acquis, which includes the European single market regime for lawyers.

Yes. CMS, Schoenherr, Wolf Theiss and Deloitte Legal all work in co-operation with local firms. Harrisons Solicitors is an English law firm providing English and Serbian legal services.

Regulation of foreign lawyers

A foreign national may be registered either in directory A or directory B of foreign attorneys provided he can demonstrate that he is registered to practice law in his home state of origin and he meets the applicable requirements of the law. Registration in directory A limits the foreign lawyers to providing legal advice and opinions regarding the application of law of his home country and international law. A foreign lawyer registered in register B, may additionally provide legal advice in Serbian law (without undertaking examinations) provided that for three consecutive years s/he has been practising law in Serbia.

To be entered into Register B (i.e. to be permitted to provide advice on Serbian law as a foreign lawyer) the foreign lawyer must have at least three consecutive years of practising law in Serbia. The foreign lawyer needs to prove they have adequate professional liability insurance.

Foreign parties in an arbitration procedure under the Rules of the Foreign Trade Arbitration Court organized within the Serbian Chamber of Commerce may be represented by foreign counsel. The Serbian Law on Arbitration (2006) does not prohibit local parties from retaining foreign counsel. Foreign lawyers are not allowed to undertake mediation.

Yes, if the lawyer is listed in 'Register B'.

Effectively, yes. Being admitted to Register B allows foreign lawyers to undertake the same work as Serbian lawyers.

Regulation of foreign law firms

The Law does not explicitly address this issue. Foreign firms tend to work in conjunction with local firms.

Regulation of foreign and domestic lawyer partnership and employment

Yes but the country of the foreign lawyer's qualification must be made clear in any listing of lawyers.

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