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Luxembourg International Trade in Legal Services

Luxembourg International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Legal Profession Act of 10 August 1991 (Loi sur la profession d’avocat) modified by the Act concerning the exercise of legal profession under the form of a legal entity (Loi concernant l’exercice de la profession d’avocat sous forme d’une personne morale) of 16 December 2011.

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 Avocat / Rechtsanwalt

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

 

 

In order to practice law in Luxembourg, one must be registered in one of the lists of the “Tableau de l’Ordre” (article 5 of the Act).  Following completion of the required University legal studies, candidates must undertake the required 2-year internship.

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 in Luxembourg is national.

 

 

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

Activities reserved to lawyers are mentioned in Article 2 of the Act. They include: assisting or representing clients, procedural acts on behalf of clients, pleading before any court or tribunal. In addition only lawyers are permitted to give legal advice in relation to financial benefits and draft contracts (Article 2 (2)).

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

Local nationality is not required but lawyers must hold the nationality of an EU member State. However, as an exception to this rule the “Conseil de l’ordre” (the Luxembourg Bar Association) may decide to accept nationals of non-EU States upon proof of reciprocity.

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

Article 1 (8) of the Act mentions that a lawyer may be self-employed; a lawyer can freely associate with another lawyer; and lawyers may practise as a legal entity (personne morale) i.e. a law firm.
Association between lawyers may take different legal forms (see article 34 of the Act) but collaboration cannot imply any form of subordination that might affect a lawyer's independence. Salaried lawyers are only subject to subordination concerning the determination of their working conditions.
Concerning law firm, the possibility for lawyers to establish them is recent (2011). Article 34-2 (1) mentions that legal forms of such entities may be non-trading companies (société civile) or commercial company (société commerciale) as provided for in Article 2 of the modified act of August 10, 1915. Legal entities registered in a foreign country may be registered.

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

Lawyers must comply with the « Règlement Intérieur de l’Ordre des Avocats du Barreau de Luxembourg » (=professional rules).
They must take an oath. 

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

 

 

 

Law firms must be registered on the “tableau des avocats de l’Ordre” (bar association); on list V if lawyers who work within the firm are registered in list I of the tableau, and list VI in other cases.  There are certain documents that must be communicated to the President of the Bar Association. For law firms in general (either national or foreign): The legal statutes of the firm; The list of the associate members of the law firm (to be sent in January every year); For foreign law firms only (additional):
Proof that the foreign legal entity is entitled to practise law in the country of origin (to be sent in January every year, proof must not be more than 3 months old);

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

 

The President of the Bar Association must be contacted to register a law firm.  The Conseil de l’ordre (council of the bar association) is the authority which decides on the possibility to inscribe the law firm in one of the lists.

   

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?

Provision of temporary services by a lawyer from a non-EU Member State is forbidden in Luxembourg.  For EU lawyers, see Art. 2 of Loi du 29 avril 1980 réglant l'activité en prestations de service lists the activities that they may undertake without residency or registration.  Article 3 requires EU lawyers taking part in court proceedings to act in concert with a registered lawyer and be introduced to the jurisdiction and President of the Bar of the place of practice.

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

Luxembourg 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 may practise in Luxembourg under their home country title in the law of their home country or public international law.  EEA lawyers may establish under their home title and additionally practise local law in association with a Luxembourg lawyer.

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

Foreign lawyers must maintain a professional address or office in Luxembourg.

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 must hold EEA nationality and an EEA legal qualification.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? The Act on civil and commercial mediation of February 24th, does not preclude foreign lawyers from undertaking mediation. A foreign mediator from another EU member State may qualify as an “accredited mediator” if he or she has equivalent skills to those required of a mediator in Luxembourg (article 1251-3. (1) of the Civil Procedure Code).  Article 5.3.1. of the Professional rules (Règlement Intérieur de l’Ordre des Avocats du Barreau de Luxembourg) mentions that lawyers may act as mediators or arbitrators. Foreign lawyers who are admitted to practise in Luxembourg may undertake such activities as well.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

Yes, if they registered on one of the lists on the tableau de l’Ordre or covered under the application of the temporary practice provisions.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

 

There are three possible options for requalification:  Firstly, lawyers from other EEA states, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Norway may requalify in Luxembourg on the basis of three years of experience of practising in Luxembourg in Luxemburg Law (knowledge of the 3 official languages of Luxembourg may be required); Secondly, lawyers from other EEA states or non-EU countries may requalify as Luxembourg lawyers if there is reciprocity with the foreign lawyer's home state and if they comply with the key requirements (education, internship, knowledge of the 3 official languages of Luxembourg).  Lastly, a foreign lawyer may requalify if they hold a diploma which is recognised by the Ministry of Justice on the grounds that the studies that the lawyer pursued were similar to Luxembourg law.  After recognition, the candidate must complete 6 months of courses on Luxembourg law and pass an examination, followed by a 2 years stage in a law firm and a final examination at the end of the stage, in addition knowledge of the 3 official languages of Luxembourg is required.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Foreign law firms do not need a licence but must register with the Luxembourg Bar.

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 be registered on one of the lists (V or VI) or the tableau de l’Ordre.
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 law firms are subject to the same rules on corporate form as local law firms.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Local and foreign law firms must comply with Art. 34-3 (2) of the Act which states that names of law firms must be preceded or followed by the legal form of the firm and the mention “inscrit au barreau de Luxembourg/Diekirch” (registered at the Luxembourg or Diekirch bar).
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Law firms must register with the Bâtonnier de l’Ordre des avocats.
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

Restrictions are provided for in Article 34-3(3) of the Act. Shares must be nominative and can only be owned by individuals who fulfil the conditions to be an associate of a legal entity which practise law in Luxembourg. Members of decisional bodies of the law firms must also be associates in the law firm. To be registered on list V, one or more associate of the law firms must be registered on list I (fully qualified lawyers) and practise as a lawyer in Luxembourg permanently. He (or she or they) must also have a significant influence on the activity of the law firm. To be registered on list V, at least one of the associates must be registered on list I or list IV (foreign lawyers practicing permanently in Luxembourg under their foreign title) and practice permanently in Luxembourg.

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

There is no prohibition on employment of a Luxembourg lawyer by an EEA lawyer or law firm.

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

Yes provided that all of the partners are resident in Luxembourg.

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

 

Ordre des Avocats à la Cour Supérieure de Justice de Luxembourg http://www.barreau.lu/