LexisNexis

Liechtenstein International Trade in Legal Services

Liechtenstein International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Rechtsanwaltsgesetz (RAG) 8 December 1992

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 Rechtsanwalt

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

 

 

The following are the requirements for practice as a lawyer in Liechtenstein: proof of good character ("operational and trustworthy"); Liechtenstein national citizenship or the citizenship rights of a Contracting Party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area; Residence in the Principality of Liechtenstein or in a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area; law degree from a government-recognized university or college; Evidence of at least two years of practical legal work within the Liechtenstein courts; passed the bar exam; provide proof of required level of liability insurance; registration with the Financial Market Authority of Liechtenstein.

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

Yes

 

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

Under Article 7 and 8 of the RAG, lawyers and law firms on the register have the exclusive power to provide professional legal advice, and represent parties in all judicial and extrajudicial matters.

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

Only lawyers from Liechtenstein or an EEA contracting party may practise law in Liechtenstein.

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

Liechtenstein lawyers may work as sole practitioners, in simple partnerships, general partnerships, limited companies or limited liability partnerships.

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

Liechtenstein lawyers must comply with the Professional Guidelines of the Liechtenstein Chamber of Lawyers of 05. May 1994 (as amended).

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

Law firms must be entered on the register and there are certain formalities which must be observed: All owners or members of the law firm must be registered individually, the law firm must have the required indemnity insurance and observe the requirements in the Act in relation to the storage of client files for 10 years.

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

The Financial Markets Authority maintains the register for individuals and law firms and the Supreme Court acts as the disciplinary authority.

   

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?

Lawyers wishing to provide temporary services in Liechtenstein must fulfil the following conditions: Nationality of a Contracting Party to the Agreement on the EEA or Switzerland; Recent confirmation of the Bar Association in the State of origin; Proof of liability insurance with a minimum coverage per occurrence of CHF 1,000,000

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

Nationals from any EU country may enter Liechtenstein freely. Holders of passports from other  OECD countries, most Central and South American and Caribbean countries and a number of other small countries (e.g. Seychelles) may have visa free access for up to 90 days.

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?

Lawyers from within the EU, EFTA or Switzerland are covered by the Lawyers' Establishment Directive 98/5/EC which allows them to practise under their home country title and to practise Liechtenstein law under certain controls. There are no provisions for foreign legal consultants from elsewhere to establish.

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

A foreign lawyer (only EEA nationals are permitted) must abide by the Liechtenstein code of conduct and remain in good standing with his or her home bar.

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

In order to register as a 'foreign' lawyer in Liechtenstein an individual must hold the nationality of an EEA country and be resident in Liechtenstein or in an EEA member state, be qualified as a lawyer in an EEA member country, be in good standing and hold the required indemnity insurance.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? There are no formal institutional  arrangements governing arbitration in Liechtenstein.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

EEA lawyers may appear in court in conjunction with a local lawyer.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

EEA lawyers may requalify in Liechtenstein either by examination or after a period of assimilation by working alongside a local lawyer.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Only a law firm from another EEA member state may open an office in Liechtenstein

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? EEA law firms are permitted to practise local law as well as EU, home country and international law. The individual lawyer must be qualified in Liechtenstein law or the EEA lawyer must work in conjunction with a local lawyer.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? The only foreign law firms allowed to establish in Liechtenstein are other EEA firms and they are entitled to establish in all the forms permitted to Liechtenstein firms.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? None are specified in the code of conduct.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL The Financial Markets Authority maintains the register for individual European lawyers and law firms as well as local lawyers and law firms and the Supreme Court acts as the disciplinary authority (see http://www.fma-li.li/en/financial-intermediaries/other-financial-intermediaries-division/lawyers.html)
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

Only Liechtenstein and other EEA lawyers who are entered on the FMA list may own shares or be a partner in a law firm.

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

Yes, although the foreign lawyers concerned must be other EEA lawyers or law firms.

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

Yes although the lawyers concerned must be other EEA lawyers or law firms.

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Liechtenstein Bar Association: http://www.lirak.li/