LexisNexis

Armenia International Trade in Legal Services

Armenia International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector The Law "On Advocacy" (2004)
Under what title do lawyers practise?

Advocate

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

 

According to the Law on Advocacy, in order to qualify for a licence, an individual with a law degree must study in Advocates school for 1 year, which includes 6 months of theoretical studies and 6 months of practice.  If the individual has previous experience this can reduce the time spent in Advocates school to 6 months. Afterwards, the individual must pass the Chamber of Advocates Board qualification exam to obtain a licence.
The licence is granted for an unlimited time.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

Since 2004 a single unified licence has been issued for the practice of law in Armenia.

 

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

The practice of law is defined in the Law on Advocacy to include: 1) consultation, including consulting clients on their rights and obligations, activities of the judicial system in respect to the rights of the client, as well as studying documents, preparing other documents of legal nature; 2) representation, including court representation; 3) defence in criminal cases 4) legal support to witnesses in the manner prescribed by law. Article 5 of the Law on Advocacy, states that “defence in criminal cases shall be carried out solely by an advocate.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

There is no nationality restriction on the practice of law in Armenia.

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

According to the Law on Advocacy, advocates may either work in sole practice or in a law firm (defined in the code as an advocate 'with the status of a legal person').

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

 

Ethical Requirements - Armenian lawyers must also adhere to the Code of Advocates Ethics 2012.

 
Regulatory Requirements - In order not to lose the licence, the advocate must participate in training organised by the Chambers of Advocates and complete at least 48 hours of training every 2 years.

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

There is no licensing process for law firms

 

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Chamber of Advocates  (“Pastabanneri Palat”).
   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

The law suggests that a foreign lawyer should register with the Chamber of Advocates.

 

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

Armenia has made WTO commitments that have the effect of allowing foreign lawyers to obtain working visas to provide services on condition that they hold appropriate professional qualifications.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

Under article 17 of the Law on Advocacy, a foreign advocate is entitled to practise in Armenia on the basis of his or her home country licence but must register with the Chamber of Advocates. A foreign advocate cannot provide legal assistance on issues related to state or official secrets of the Republic of Armenia or be elected in the bodies of the Chamber of Advocates. The rules state that "8.3.1 A foreign advocate shall practice advocacy according to the procedure by the Law, the Charter of the Chamber of Advocates and the Code. 8.3.2 When practicing within the territory of the Republic of Armenia, the rules of conduct for the RA advocates shall also apply to the foreign advocate accredited by the Chamber as much as the rules may refer to the foreign advocate. "

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not beyond the general requirements for the issuance of work permits to foreign nationals.

 

 

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Foreign professionals are subject to an economic needs test for work permits

 

 

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? The law "On Commercial Arbitration" 2006 set up the Armenian arbitration court in the Chamber of Commerce which is open to foreign lawyers.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances? Foreign lawyers may appear in civil cases but in order to represent a client in a criminal case, they would need to be certified by the Chamber of Advocates.
Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers? The Law on Advocacy recognises the possibility of foreign lawyers requalifying as Armenian advocates.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

There is no requirement for foreign law firms to obtain special licences to practice law beyond the usual company registration procedures.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Since 2011 the Ministry of Justice has operated a one-stop shop which handles all of the registration and tax requirements for investors.

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc) Not applicable
Is there a quota on the number of licences available? There are no quantitative limitations on law firms
Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have? There are no geographical restrictions on law firms
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm? No
May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm? Yes
Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer? Yes
Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer? Yes
   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Armenian Chamber of Advocates - www.advocates.am/
 

Ameria Legal and Tax Advisors        (Nov 2013)
http://www.amerialegal.am/