Azerbaijan International Trade in Legal Services

Azerbaijan International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Law "On Advocates and Advocates' Activity" (2000) and Presidential Decree No. 637 "On Confirming the List of Activities which Require Special Permission (Licenses)." 

Under what title do lawyers practise?

1) Advokaty ("advocates"  who can represent clients in criminal court and who are members of the Collegium of Advocates);

2) "Yuristy" or legal advisers, persons with legal training who can represent clients in civil proceedings only and provide general legal advice.

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

In order to become an advocate, an individual must have a Masters degree in law and have completed three years' work as a legal adviser or have worked in a University department of law, and then have passed the exam of the Qualification Committee of the Collegium. To obtain a license, an individual must present a passport, a legal education diploma, proof of registration with the tax authorities, a work log (or trudovaya knizhka) which demonstrates two years of legal internship work (stazhirovka) and the appropriate fee to the qualifications committee.

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

The licence to practise law in Azerbaijan is national.



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


The Law on Advocates and Advocates' Activity (1999) (as amended) limits practice as an advocate to those who are members of the Collegium and have taken the advocate's oath. Only advocates can act as criminal defence lawyers (zashchitniki) in court, pre-trial investigations and inquiries in accordance with the procedural legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  Advocates can also represent individuals and legal entities in governmental and non-governmental bodies and organizations, including those in foreign countries and international organizations; give oral and written consultations, clarifications and interpretations on legal questions; compile statements, appeals and documents of a legal nature; render necessary legal assistance to individuals and to legal entities; offer other legal assistance.  Article  92.1 of the Criminal Procedural Code states that: “Only persons entitled to work as lawyers in the Azerbaijan Republic may act as defence counsel in criminal proceeding”.  According to Article 66 of the Civil Procedural Code, advocates shall provide representation in civil cases. However, their monopoly is limited to proceedings at the Supreme Court level only.

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

There is no nationality restriction on the practice of law in Azerbaijan

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

Article 5 of the Law on Advocates provides that advocates may either work in sole practice or in forms otherwise stipulated in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan (chambers of advocates or law firms). Article 6 requires the prior state registration of a legal structure for practice and further requires that the founders of a firm or chambers must be Azeri advocates. 

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

The Law on Advocates and Advocate’s activities and the Criminal Procedure Code contain some general rights and responsibilities of advocates (e.g. on attorney-client privilege). The promulgation of a more detailed code of ethics was left under the law to the Collegium of Advocates but no such code has been published.

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

In cases where three or more advocates work together they may apply for a firm licence.

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

The Qualification Commission of the Bar Association (formerly the Collegium of Advocates) determines, against the requirements set out in the Law and upon an assessment of professional competence, the eligibility of  candidates seeking to become advocates.


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?

 There are no explicit restrictions on the fly-in fly-out practice of law outside the regulated area of criminal defence, provided services are not marketed directly to the public.

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

Business visitors may obtain a visa to visit Azerbaijan but must have an invitation from an Azeri business.

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?

There is no requirement for a foreign lawyer to obtain a licence to practise as foreign legal consultant in Azerbaijan but they must not call themselves advocates and do not have right of audience where these are reserved to advocates.

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)

Not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? The Law "On International Arbitration" allows parties to choose the arbitrator of their choice for international arbitrations or those relating to investment disputes.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances? There is no prohibition on foreign lawyers appearing in court except in criminal cases.
Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers? There is no mechanism for foreign lawyers to requalify or gain recognition of their qualifications in order to become advocates.


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 practise 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)

In order to set up a limited liability company or partnership in Azerbaijan a foreign firm must register with the Ministry of Taxes. Branches of foreign firms are not permitted.

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
Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they?


Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take?  
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take?  
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL  


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 sources or comments or links

Ministry of Justice -