Norway International Trade in Legal Services

Norway International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Domstolsloven (Courts of Justice Act) 1915. 

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 obtain a licence to practise in Norway, an individual must fulfil the conditions laid down in clause § 220 of the Act. These require: 1) a Norwegian University degree in law; 2) A clean conduct record (in the form of a police certificate that is less than three months old); 3) Two years'  of practice as an associate lawyer or as an assistant judge; 4) Experience of trying three cases before the courts, at least one of which must have been a civil case; 5) participation in a special course for advocates; 6) the candidate must be at least 20 years of age.  In addition, further conditions are required before an advocate can appear before the Supreme Court: At least one year's practice experience and proof of suitability for Supreme Court litigation in an evaluation by the Supreme Court.

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 practice of law in Norway is national.

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



Section 218 of the Courts of Justice Act mentions that the practice of law is reserved to licensed advokater. According to section 218 “to practice law means to give legal assistance to others as a profession or in a regular manner”. However, a person with a law degree may give legal assistance without being licensed as an advokat. Such legal practice can only be carried on in a one-man firm owned by the said person (Section 218 (1)).  Legal assistance may be provided by anyone to the extent that it is necessary to provide good and complete assistance by another profession. A legal licence is required for litigation.

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

Local nationality is not a requirement for the practice of law. 

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

Section 231 of the Act provides for the legal forms in which lawyers can work: “[t]he legal practice of advokater may only be organised as a one-man firm owned by the advokat, or as a company in accordance with the provisions below, unless something else follows from legislation. […].In companies which carry on legal practice, only persons who exercise a significant part of their professional activities in the service of the company may own shares or hold office as directors or deputy directors. Shares in companies which carry on legal practice may also be owned by a parent company, provided that all shares of the parent company are owned by persons who, exercise a substantial part of their professional activities in the service of the parent company, and that the parent company conforms to the provisions of the fourth to sixth paragraphs below” ([“the company may only engage in affairs which are reasonably connected with the legal practice as advokater”] and [“if the conditions for owning shares are no longer fulfilled by a person or a company that owns a share of a company which carries on legal practice, the share must be disposed of within two years”]).

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

Rules of conduct for advokater are set out in Chapter 12 of the Regulations for Advokater. The rules have been sanctioned by the King and have the effect of regulations, cf. § 224, second paragraph, of the Courts of Law Act. They apply to all advokater (membership of the Bar is not mandatory but, in practice, 91% of local lawyers are members).

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

There is no mention in the Courts of Justice Act of any need for law firms to be licensed separately to practice law but advokater must provide the Supervisory Council with their office address and report if they wind up their practice.

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

The Supervisory Counsel for Legal Practice (“Tilsynsrådet”) issues licences to advokater and others giving legal advice. It is also competent to revoke licences on the basis of Section 230 of the Act.



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?

Rules about temporary practice for foreign lawyers are laid down in Section 10-10 of the Regulations. Foreign lawyers may be required by government authorities or courts to provide evidence of their right to practise as a foreign lawyer and are bound by the Norwegian code of conduct for lawyers (as set out in chapter 12 of the Regulations). EEA lawyers are bound instead by the CCBE cross border code of conduct.

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

Norway 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?

If lawyers from countries outside the EEA wish to provide legal assistance on a permanent basis in Norway, they have to acquire a licence from the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice in order to be able to "provide legal assistance in foreign and international law".  They must provide security, make a financial contribution to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice and to the Disciplinary Council for Advocates, and provide a declaration from a registered public accountant. EEA lawyers covered by Directive 98/5/EC must register with the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice with proof that they are qualified in their home jurisdiction before being allowed to establish permanently and they are then permitted to practise foreign, international and Norwegian law.

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 who provides legal assistance in Norway shall use his professional title in the language or one of the languages of his jurisdiction of origin, with an indication of the professional organisation to which he belongs, or the courts of law before which he is entitled to appear. Foreign lawyers from outside the EEA will need to provide the required security and abide by the rules of good professional conduct for advokater as set out in Chapter 12 of the regulations.

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

No prior conditions, other than qualification in a foreign lawyer's home jurisdiction and evidence of good conduct are mentioned in the regulations.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? Nothing in the Arbitration Act (2004) prohibits foreign lawyers from undertaking arbitration. Section 13 requires arbitrators to be impartial and independent of the parties and qualified for the task. Section 14 of this Act mentions that only on those grounds may arbitrators be challenged.

Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

An EEA lawyer may appear in court. According to  Paragraph10-4 of the Regulations, In cases when the counsel or defence attorney is required to appear before the Supreme Court, an EEA lawyer must appear jointly with a Norwegian advocate entitled to appear before the Supreme Court. These rules also provide that in other special instances, the court may stipulate as a condition for accepting that a foreign advocate may appear as counsel or defence attorney that the advocate shall appear jointly with a Norwegian advocate.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?




EEA lawyers may requalify in Norway. In order to be licensed as an advokat, an applicant from another EEA state must demonstrate: 1) that he has passed an examination in Norway which demonstrates that the person in question has sufficient knowledge of Norwegian law, or 2) that he has exercised actual and regular activities as an advocate in Norway for at least three years, assuming that the practice has mainly comprised Norwegian law, or also the law of the European Union, as the case may be, or  3) that he has exercised actual and regular activities as an advocate in Norway for at least three years, with a shorter period within Norwegian law, or also the law of the European Union, as the case may be, assuming that the person in question has attained sufficient knowledge of Norwegian law. Non-EFTAn foreign lawyers may not requalify as local lawyers.


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

Licences are not required for law firms.

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)

According to the Company Act, all companies including foreign companies must register with the Register of Business Enterprise. However, sole proprietorships with less than five employees not selling purchased goods do not have to register.
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?


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? None are specified in the regulations.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? None are specified in the regulations.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not applicable


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

According to § 231 of the Courts of Justice Act, only those who are actively practising in the law firm or who conduct the majority of their activity from the firm may be directors or hold shares in it.

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


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

Yes, subject to the requirement that the foreign lawyer practices actively in the firm

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




Other useful sources or comments or links

See also, the Norwegian Bar Association website: