Pakistan International Trade in Legal Services

Pakistan International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973 (the “Act”), and Pakistan Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Rules, 1976 (the “Rules”).

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Advocate (lb. There are four classes of Advocates: Senior Advocates of the Supreme Court, Advocates of the Supreme Court, Advocates of the High Court and Advocates (Section 21 of the Act).

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A person is eligible for enrolment as an Advocate if he/she is: A citizen of Pakistan or deriving nationality from the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, or a national of any other country, who has resided in Pakistan for one year; at least 21 years of age; be a barrister or have obtained a Bachelor's degree in any subject other than Law and a degree in Law from a university in or outside Pakistan, recognised by the Pakistan Bar Council. S/he has undergone training and passed an examination prescribed by the Pakistan Bar Council. S/he has paid an enrolment fee and fulfils such other conditions as may be prescribed by the Pakistan Bar Council (Section 26 of the Act).   The Rules stipulate that before being admitted  as an Advocate, an applicant is required to submit   inter alia, satisfactory evidence of his or her date of birth, two testimonials from Advocates of 10 years standing as to the character and conduct of the applicant, an affidavit stating fully, truly and accurately if any criminal proceedings  or other misconduct were instituted against him or her, and a certificate of training from the Advocate in whose Chamber he or she has worked (this is because the applicant  must have undergone training, after taking the LL.B (Part-III) Examination, for six months, in a Chamber of an Advocate of not less than ten years standing at the Bar. The Applicant must also pass the Written Examination obtaining 50% marks, and pass the Viva Voce Examination. A person is exempt from the training & Viva Voce Examination, if: they have received an LL.M. or Bar-at-Law degree; have held a judicial office for at least five years or a post, for the same period, the duties whereof entailed interpretation or drafting of laws; or if they have been enrolled, outside Pakistan, and practised there for at least one year.
A person is qualified for admission as an Advocate
of the High Court, if s/he has: practised as an Advocate in the subordinate Courts in Pakistan for a period of not less than two years; practised outside Pakistan as an Advocate before any High Court recognised by the Pakistan Bar Council; or for reasons of their legal training or experience, been exempted from two years practise in the subordinate Courts, by the Bar Council, with the previous approval of the High Court; and paid the enrolment fee.
A person shall be qualified to be admitted as a senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and an Advocate of the Supreme Court including an Advocate-on record if s/he fulfils such conditions as may be laid down in this regard from time to time by the rules established by Pakistan Bar Council and has paid such enrolment fee or other dues as may be prescribed by that Council (Section 28 of the Act). Under the Rules, such person shall also provide inter alia, a certificate from a Provincial Bar Council to the effect that the applicant is an enrolled Advocate of the High Court concerned, he or she was not convicted for an offence of professional and other misconduct, a certificate from the High Court concerned that he or she is a fit and proper person to appear and plead as an Advocate before the Supreme Court of Pakistan,  an affidavit by the applicant that he or she is eligible and not disqualified to practice as an Advocate of the Supreme Court and that he or she was not convicted an offence of professional or other misconduct and no such case is pending before any Bar Council and a list of selected cases conducted by the applicant in the High Court.
Disqualification for admission/enrolment. (Section 28(A) 0f the Act): A person shall be disqualified for being admitted as an Advocate if he was dismissed or removed from the service of the Government or Public Statutory Corporation on a charge involving misconduct or moral turpitude or he has been convicted, on a charge involving moral turpitude or he has been declared a tout and such declaration has not been withdrawn."

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

Advocates of the Supreme Court and High Court have rights of audience throughout Pakistan, ordinary Advocates only have rights in their home province up to but not including the High Court.

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

Section 22 of the Act provides that "no person shall be entitled to practise the profession of law unless he is an Advocate". Advocates of the Supreme Court may appear in any court or tribunal in Pakistan, Advocates of the High Court may appear in any court or tribunal except the Supreme Court and any other Advocate may appear in the courts or tribunals of the province in which he is admitted apart from the High Court.

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

The Act contains a requirement for nationality of either Pakistan or the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir. An exception is made for foreign nationals who have resided in Pakistan for a year prior to application and who come from a country in which 'citizens of Pakistan duly qualified are permitted to practise law '.

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

There is no mention of the form in which Advocates may practice; there many lawyers who practice as sole practitioners while many law firms also exist in Pakistan including a number of purely corporate commercial firms with multiple partners and lawyers.  The legal form of these law firms is assumed to be partnership but is generally undisclosed.

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

The Rules contain the Canons of Professional Conduct and Etiquette of Advocates which include provisions on duty to the court, conflicts of interest, duty to clients etc.

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

No

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

Under sections 23-25 of the Act (as amended), advocates and advocates of the High Court are entered on the rolls of the relevant provincial bar council and the Pakistan Bar Council maintains the roll of Supreme Court advocates.

   

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?

Any person can provide legal consultancy, but a foreign lawyer cannot practise law and appear in courts or otherwise formally plead cases unless he or she has been licensed to practise law in Pakistan. Foreign lawyers can form law firms in Pakistan as long there is 40 percent Pakistani equity within five years of an initial investment.

 

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

A lawyer may apply for a business visa which requires a letter of invitation from a local organisation in Pakistan.

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?

There is no formal foreign legal consultancy regime in Pakistan.

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

Not applicable

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? Yes

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

No

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

A person who is a national of any other country who has resided in Pakistan for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day on which he applies for admission, may be admitted as an Advocate if citizens of Pakistan duly qualified are permitted to practice law in that other country.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

 

 

 

 

In theory, although the acceptability of a foreign legal consultancy business has not been tested, probably because of the minimum investment requirements in such a business. It is also possible for foreign businesses to open representative offices but their expenses must be met by remittances from abroad and the scope of their activities is limited to the undertaking of liaison work and representation of the interests of the parent company. Also, the lawyers employed by such firms must be enrolled Advocates, and in case of foreign lawyers they will not be allowed to plead but only provide consultancy services. Thus, the Licence relevant in this situation shall be of the Advocates employed to practise in courts of Pakistan, and foreign equity of shares shall be limited to 60% in such a firm. 

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)

The general rules governing investment in the service sector require prior permission or license from the concerned agencies. 100% foreign equity allowed on repatriatable basis but the amount of any foreign equity investment in the company/project shall be at least US$ 0.15 Million. The minimum share of the local (Pakistani) partner in a joint venture will be 60:40 for the service sector. Hence, foreign lawyers can form law firms in Pakistan as long as there is 40 percent Pakistani equity within five years of an initial investment.
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?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

Not applicable

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?

Not applicable

Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take?

Not applicable

Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take?

Not applicable

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 is a 60% cap on foreign equity ownership in the service sector.

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

There appears to be no restriction in the law.

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

There is no coverage of this point in the legislation

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

There is no prohibition against the employment of foreign lawyers although they would not be able to practice as Advocates, and can provide consultancy only.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

 Pakistan Bar Council: http://pakistanbarcouncil.org/