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Czech Republic International Trade in Legal Services

Czech Republic International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Act No. 85/1996 Sb. of 13th March 1996 on the Legal Profession
(English version available at http://www.cak.cz/scripts/detail.php?id=1993 )

Under what title do lawyers practise?


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



In order to become a lawyer in the Czech Republic a candidate must: 1) have a university degree in law, 2) have undertaken professional training as a legal trainee for a minimum of 3 years, 3) have passed the professional examination of the Czech Bar Association and 4) have been registered in the Register of Czech Bar Association.

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 in the Czech Republic is a national one.



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

The provision of legal services is defined in Act No. 85/1996 as: "representing clients in proceedings before courts and other bodies, acting as a defence lawyer in criminal cases, giving legal advice, preparing documents, legal analyses and other forms of legal aid where these are provided on a permanent basis and for a fee".

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

Legal services in the territory of the Czech Republic may be provided, under conditions and in the manner stipulated by the Act on the Legal Profession by natural persons who are citizens and qualified lawyers of the EU Member State, State Parties to the European Economic Area Agreement or the Swiss Confederation  (hereinafter referred to as “home country”) or citizens of other states who are permanently established in a “home country” and have obtained the entitlement to provide legal services under the home-country professional title.

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

Czech lawyers may practice as sole practitioners, in a consortium or under the Commercial Code as members of an unlimited company, limited partnership company or limited liability company, provided that the object of business of any of these companies is solely the practice of legal profession and that only lawyers establish its membership.

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

The professional ethics governing Czech lawyers is set down in a Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Czech Bar Association No. 1/1997 (Bulletin of 31 October 1996)

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

According to the Czech Commercial Code, law firms have to be registered in the Commercial Register maintained by the court.

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

The Czech Bar Association registers both individual lawyers and firms (www.cak.cz)



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?

Only European lawyers are entitled to provide legal services on a temporary basis without being registered, foreign lawyers must register with the Czech Bar Association. A visiting European lawyer is not authorized to make contracts for the transfer of real estate, mortgage contracts relating to the property, and contracts for the transfer or lease of an enterprise; they are also not authorized to authenticate signatures.

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

The Czech Republic is one of the 25 countries in Europe that has signed the Schengen agreement. This allows a non-EEA national to obtain a visa to enter one or more of the Schengen countries for business or tourism purposes on a single visit of up to 90 days, or to make multiple entries to the Schengen area on any number of occasions over a 180 day period, provided none of these is for longer than 90 days.  A number of non-EEA countries are exempt from visa requirements.

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?

A lawyer who has been admitted to the Czech Bar as a “Foreign Lawyer“, (i.e. not from the EU, the European Economic Area Agreement, Swiss Confederation nor permanently established in a home country) according to Article 5a of the Act on the Legal Profession shall be entitled to provide legal services only in the law of the country in which he/she obtained his/her entitlement to provide legal services and in the area of international law.  European lawyers may also provide services in EU law and Czech law. When a European lawyer provides legal services involving the representation of clients before courts and other bodies, including defence in criminal proceedings, and where legislation stipulates that a party must be represented by a lawyer, or that only a lawyer may be the representative of a party, the European lawyer must appoint a Czech lawyer, upon agreement with his client, as a consultant for the proceedings.

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

All foreign lawyers (EU and otherwise) must comply with local codes of ethics and only act under their home title. Foreign lawyers (and foreign law firms) must take out indemnity insurance or submit a copy of their existing insurance policy to the Czech Bar for approval.

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

Foreign lawyers must hold a professional title in their home country and must prove that they are entitled to provide legal services in a foreign country. European lawyers must hold EU nationality or be citizens of an EU Member State, State Party to the European Economic Area Agreement or the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter referred to as “home country”) or citizens of other states being permanently established in a home country and hold a qualification (i.e.to obtain in their home country entitlement to provide legal services under their home-country professional title).

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? Foreign lawyers can register and undertake arbitration at the Czech arbitration court.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

European lawyers (citizens of the EU Member State, State Party to the European Economic Area Agreement or the Swiss Confederation  (hereinafter referred to as “home country”) or citizens of other states being permanently established in a home country)  Union/EFTA and Swiss lawyers may appear in court provided they do so in association with a local lawyer.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?



European lawyers who wish to requalify as Czech lawyers may requalify under article 10 of Directive 98/5/EC but must have been providing legal services in the Czech Republic for three years as established European lawyers and have obtained experience in the law of the Czech Republic. Alternatively European lawyers from other the EU, EFTA or Switzerland without three years' experience and residency in the Czech Republic may sit an aptitude test;  All other applicants must have a master's degree in law and three years of professional training and pass the Bar exam in the Czech republic. Both the aptitude test and the Bar exam may be taken only in the Czech or Slovak language.


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

A foreign law firm may establish in the Czech Republic to provide legal services under section 35 of the Act on the Legal Profession, if it:
a) has a registered office or a branch of his business in the law firm's home country,
b) its members are only lawyers or other individuals who are authorized to provide legal services in their home countries,
c) its business is exclusively the provision of legal services,
d) a foreign company or a branch of his business is entered in the Commercial Register
e) Legal services are provided only by lawyers and established European lawyers.       A Foreign law firm shall be obliged to submit to the Bar a counterpart or an officially verified copy of its contract of insurance of its members or of the Foreign Company itself, or a document issued by the insurance company or a foreign insurance company or another competent person certifying the existence of insurance

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)

Foreign law firms must also register in the Commercial Register.
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)


Is there a quota on the number of licences available?


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


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? A foreign law firm can take one of the forms permitted by the Commercial Register. Regardless of whether it takes on limited or unlimited liability form, it must take out adequate professional indemnity insurance to cover its practice in the Czech Republic.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? A lawyer providing legal services on behalf of a foreign law firm should use the business name or the name of the foreign law firm or its appropriate organizational unit, according to the entry in the Commercial Register.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Only individual foreign lawyers are registered in the Register maintained by the Czech Bar Association.


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

No there are no limits on foreign participation in a law firm in the Czech Republic.

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

Yes this is expressly provided for in section 15a of the Act on the Legal Profession.

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

Yes but a Czech lawyer may only be a partner (or 'cooperate') in only one law firm.

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




Other useful sources or comments or links

Link to the Czech Bar Association: http://www.cak.cz/