LexisNexis

Cyprus International Trade in Legal Services

Cyprus International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Advocates Law 1961 (as amended)

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Advocate or Dikigoros (Δικηγ?ρoς)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the Advocates Act, a Cypriot lawyer must (a) be at least 21 (b) be of a good character and not be an unsuitable person due to any kind of behaviour which would justify the Disciplinary Board taking measures against him and (c) be a citizen of the Republic with permanent residence in Cyprus or a non-Cypriot citizen who is a spouse or a child of a citizen of the Republic with permanent residence in Cyprus.  Enrollment requires the individual to be (i) a holder of a Law degree or diploma from a University or institution recognised by the Legal Council; (ii) have completed a training period of not less than twelve months at the office of an advocate practising for at least five years (iii) have passed an examination managed by the Legal Council; (iv) paid a fee and been entered on the register maintained by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. On entry into the Supreme Court's register the advocate must then apply for a licence from the Cyprus Bar Association. This licence must be renewed annually and requires confirmation from the local bar association in the district in which the advocate practises of their ongoing practice of law and confirmation from the Department of Social Assurance that they are an advocate contributor to the Social Insurance Fund.

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 practice covers the Republic of Cyprus

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Practising as an advocate” is defined in the Advocates Law as"(i) appearing before any Court to conduct any proceedings on behalf of any person or the Republic; (ii) preparing or perusing any pleading on behalf of a client. For the purposes of this paragraph “pleading” includes any document filed in Court and forms part of the pleadings but does not include an expert’s report or a witness attestation including a statement of facts.  (iii) the act of registering trademarks or patents and appearing before any administrative authority for the aforementioned purposes (iv) drawing, reviewing, amending any Memorandum or Articles of Association of a company of any form or any application, report, statement, affidavit, decision or other document pertaining to the incorporation, registration, organisation, reorganisation or dissolution
of any legal entity (v) registering ships and drawing all documents referring to the incorporation, transfer, alteration or abolition of all rights on a ship as well as appearing before the competent authority for this purpose (vi) giving opinions on all legal matters submitted to the advocate (viii) drawing or perusing any document filed in Court for administration purposes under the Administration of Estates Law.

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

The Advocates Law requires that Cypriot lawyers are either Cypriot nationals or the spouses or children of Cypriot nationals. Since Cyprus' accession to the EU in 2004, EU nationals may also become Cypriot lawyers.

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

Cypriot lawyers may practice as sole practitioners, in general or limited liability partnerships or in limited liability companies.

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

The Cyprus Bar Association has issued a code of conduct:http://www.cyprusbarassociation.org/v1/files/disciplinary/New_code_of_counduct_eng.pdf

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

A separate approval, in addition to company formation requirements, is required from the Legal Council for partnerships and companies consisting of advocates. The Bar Council must then enter firms onto its firm register.

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

Both the Legal Council and the Bar Council are involved in issuing licences to individuals and law firms.  The Legal Council is a regulatory body chaired by the Attorney General and comprising representatives of the Bar Council and other practising attorneys.

   

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?

EU, EEA and Swiss lawyers who hold recognised professional titles and European nationality may provide temporary services in Cyprus on an unrestricted basis. Lawyers of other nationalies are not permitted to practise law in Cyprus.

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

All EEA nationals may work in Cyprus without restrictions, non-EEA nationals may obtain business visas on the basis of an invitation from a local company.

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?

Only EEA or Swiss lawyers may provide legal services in Cyprus as registered European lawyers. They may provide services on their home country law, European law and international law and may additionally practise Cypriot law provided they do so in association with a Cypriot lawyer.

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

An EEA lawyer establishing in Cyprus must use his home professional title and register with the Cypriot Bar.

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

An EEA lawyer establishing in Cyprus must provide evidence from their home licensing authority that they are suitably qualified and have a clean disciplinary record.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? The Cyprus Arbitration and Mediation Centre runs arbitration proceedings in Cyprus on the basis of the UNCITRAL model. Parties are free to appoint arbitrators and the CAMC maintains a list which includes a number of foreign (EU) lawyers.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

In addition to the rights of EU and EEA lawyers to appear before Cypriot courts, the Legal Council may, at its discretion, upon application by an established advocate from abroad, grant a special licence to such advocate to appear before any Court of the Republic in order to practise law in the Republic in relation to any specific proceedings or any specific case or matter.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

 

EEA lawyers who wish to requalify as Cypriot lawyers may requalify under article 10 of Directive 98/5/EC but must have been established as a Registered European Lawyer in Cyprus for a minimum of three years and have obtained experience in local law.  Alternatively EEA lawyers without three years' experience in practising law in Cyprus may sit an aptitude test.  

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

The Cypriot legislation only deals with the case of an EEA firm which may open an office and is required only to register with the Cypriot Bar Association.

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)

Not applicable
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

No

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

No

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

No

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? There are no scope of practice rules that apply to firms as opposed to individual lawyers.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? EEA firms establishing in Cyprus may only take the forms permitted to local lawyers.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? An EEA law firm may use its own name in Cyprus but must add the name of a local partner.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL EEA law firms must register with the Cypriot Bar Association
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

There are no restrictions on the ownership share of EEA lawyers in Cypriot law firms.

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Cypriot lawyers may be employed by EEA lawyers or law firms.

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Cypriot lawyers may enter parterships with EEA lawyers.

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Cypriot lawyers may employ EEA lawyers.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Cyprus Bar Association