LexisNexis

Denmark International Trade in Legal Services

Denmark International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Danish Administration of Justice Act; cf. Consolidated Act No. 1261 of 23 October 2007

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 advokat

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

 

 

According to article 119 of the Administration of Justice Act, in order to have the right to practice as a lawyer, an individual must be legally competent, not bankrupt, have a Danish Bachelors and Masters degree in law, have completed 3 years of practical experience, have passed an examination and a practical test in litigation.

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

There is a single national licence to practise in Denmark.

 

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

According to the Danish Administration of Justice Act, licensed lawyers (Advokater) have an exclusive right to conduct cases for others before the courts. The title, Advokat, is also protected and it is illegal for anyone to practise law who does not hold this title.

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

No

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

Danish lawyers may work as sole practitioners, in a grouping of lawyers, or in public limited, private limited or limited partnership companies. Such companies must have as their only permitted object the pratice of law and they must be owned solely by lawyers. Professional corporations of lawyers are required and have exclusive right to use the words “advokataktieselskab”, “advokatanpartsselskab” or “advokatkommanditaktieselskab” or abbreviations of such words in their names.

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

The Danish Bar and Law Society has issued a code of conduct, bylaws and various other rules which can be found at: http://www.advokatsamfundet.dk/Service/English/Rules

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

All law firms must register with the Danish Bar and Law Society. Firms registering as corporations must supply the following information: The members’ names, the members’ civil registration or Central Business Register numbers, the members’ nominal ownership interest, the members’ voting share and the corporation’s total nominal capital, the total number of votes, and, if the shares are divided into classes, the basis of such division and the distribution of the capital among classes.

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

Lawyers are licensed by the Ministry of Justice, Civil and Police Department (www.justitsministeriet.dk/civilogpolitiafdelingen.html). The Danish Bar and Law Society (’Advokatsamfundet’) is then responsible for the ongoing supervision of licensed lawyers. (www.advokatsamfundet.dk)

   

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?

Only EU lawyers are entitled to provide legal services on a temporary basis without being registered. Non EU foreign lawyers and non-EU law firms wishing to send employees to Denmark must register with the Danish Business Authority Register of Foreign Service Providers: www.virk.dk, regardless of the length of time that they are conducting business in Denmark.

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

Denmark 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?

Foreign lawyers must register as providers of legal services with the Danish Business Authority Register of Foreign Service Providers. They are entitled to provide legal services only in the laws of the country in which they are qualified and in international law. They are not registered by the Bar and are not recognised as lawyers. EU lawyers must register with the Danish Bar and Law Society as well as with the Danish Business Authority.

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

Although foreign lawyers must be registered to provide services in Denmark, residency is not required.

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

An EU lawyer must hold EU nationality and qualification. A non-EU foreign legal consultant must  be qualified in the laws of the country in which he/she wishes to offer legal services.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? Danish arbitration is modelled on UNCITRAL's model law. Foreign lawyers may conduct international arbitration and mediation proceedings but must register with the Danish Business Authority before providing services in Denmark.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

European Union/EFTA and Swiss lawyers may all appear in court provided they do so in association with a local lawyer. Other nationals are not permitted to appear in court.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

 

European lawyers who wish to requalify as Danish lawyers may requalify under article 10 of Directive 98/5/EC but must have been established as a Registered European Lawyer in Denmark for a minimum of three years and have obtained experience in local law.  Alternatively. lawyers from other the EU, EFTA or Switzerland without three years' experience and residency in Denmark may sit an aptitude test.   It is not possible for lawyers from outside the EU to requalify as a Danish advokat on the basis of his foreign degree and/or title.  He/she must take the Danish law degree although some of his/her prior education may be transformed into credits at a Danish law school.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

A foreign law firm may establish in Denmark but only to conduct home country and international law. Foreign firms are not permitted to market their services. EU law firms are permitted to establish under the same conditions as Danish law firms (see Danish Bar and Law Society Order No. 1431 of 11 December 2007).

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 firms must register with the Danish Business Authority at www.virk.dk
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 foreign firms as opposed to individual lawyers - both are limited in scope of practice to home country and international law.
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? Foreign law firms are not permitted to use any of the following forms in their names: advokataktieselskab”, “advokatanpartsselskab” or “advokatkommanditaktieselskab”, as these are restricted to Danish advokater.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL European law firms should apply to the Danish Bar and Law Society as well as to the Danish Business Authority: www.virk.dk; Non-European firms should apply to the Danish Business Authority.
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

According to the EU's WTO commitments on legal services, only lawyers with a Danish licence to practise and law firms registered in Denmark may own shares in a Danish law firm. Only lawyers with a Danish licence to practise may sit on the board or be part of the management of a Danish law firm.

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

A Danish lawyer may only practise law in a professional corporation of lawyers or as an in house lawyer providing servcies only to his or her client.

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

No since law firms may only be owned by 'lawyers' (advokater and EU lawyers)

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

www.advokatsamfundet.dk