LexisNexis

Georgia International Trade in Legal Services

Georgia International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Law "On Advocates" adopted on 20 June 2001 

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 “Adwokati” or Advocate

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

 

 

According to the Law on Advocates, In order to obtain a licence to practise as an advocate in Georgia, an individual must hold Georgian Citizenship; possess a university degree in law; have passed the Bar Exam; have at least 1 year work experience as a legal expert or a lawyer’s trainee; be a member of the Georgian Bar Association and adhere to Georgian Laws and ethical requirements.

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 Georgia is national.

 

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

Advocates enjoy a full monopoly over court representation in criminal matters. In civil matters, Article 94 of the Civil Procedural Code states that all persons have a right to provide court representation at first instance. Article 440 of the CPC however reserves appearance in the Appeal or Supreme court level to licensed advocates.

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

Only citizens of Georgia may become advocates.

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

The Law on Advocates permits advocates to work either in sole practice or in law firms. In the latter case, the law firm can be organized as a partnership or a legal entity established in accordance with the Law of Georgia on Entrepreneurs (limited liability company, limited partnership, etc.)  (Article 18 of the Law “On Advocates”) 

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

In addition to a number of provisions in the Georgian Law “On Advocates” governing conflict of interest and other obligations of lawyers, the Georgian Bar Association has adopted a Code of Ethics for its members. 

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

There is no requirement to receive a “license” as such. However, under article 18 of the 'Law On Advocates' once the law office is set up, a respective notification must be sent to the Georgian Bar Association. The notification must include the details of the law office, as well as the list of advocates working in the law office. The notification must be submitted to the Bar Association within 10 days from the date of establishment of the law office.

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

Individuals are licensed by the Georgian Bar Association.

   

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?

Currently Georgian laws do not permit issuance of the temporary licenses for legal practice.  Georgia maintains no express restrictions on the fly-in fly-out consulting outside the regulated area of criminal defence (and civil representation, partially). However, foreign advocates may not engage in “advocate activities” on the territory of Georgia, within the meaning of the Law on Advocates.

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

There are no restrictions on the right of foreign lawyers to obtain visas to visit clients  in Georgia. As for marketing, such activities would be subject to general rules and requirements applicable to the activities of advocates in Georgia.

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 may practise outside of the areas of law reserved to advocates and there is no specific foreign legal consultant licensing process.

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

Currently there is no notion of a “limited license” for foreign lawyers.

 

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 Arbitration“, which came into force on 1 January 2010 does not establish any restrictions on the nationality and profession of arbitrators.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

Foreign lawyers may only appear in civil courts at first instance in the capacity of “representatives” of the clients, not as advocates.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

The nationality requirement for advocates makes it impossible for non-Georgian citizens to requalify as local 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 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)

Foreign firms may use any of the allowed legal forms (General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, representative office, etc.) to organize their business in Georgia. Registration is required with the National Agency of Public Registry.
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? No
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? No, general rules and procedures apply.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? No, general rules and procedures apply.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not Applicable.
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

There are no such restrictions.

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?

Such partnership is not prohibited. However, the general advocacy requirements shall apply to the activities of such partnership.

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

Such employment is not prohibited. However, the general advocacy requirements and restrictions shall apply to the activities of the foreign lawyer.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

We have indicated that foreign lawyers may not engage in activities subject to Law on Advocates. At the same time, currently there are no administrative or criminal sanctions for the breach of the requirements of the said Law. There is one line of interpretation, which equates such activities to “entrepreneurial activities without a special license (permit)”, which is an action punishable under both -General Administrative Misdemeanours Code and the Criminal Code of Georgia. However, we believe that such interpretation of the existing legal framework might be far-stretched. Overall, even though there is a restriction on activities of foreign lawyers in Georgia in the capacity of advocates, the current legislation does not prohibit engagement of foreign lawyers in consultancy activities.

Verified by

BGI Legal: http://www.bgi.ge (January 2014)