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Slovakia International Trade in Legal Services

Slovakia International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Parliamentary Act No. 586/2003 Coll. on the Legal Profession and on Amending Act No. 455/1991 Coll. on the Business and Self-Employment Services (Business Licensing Act) as amended

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Advokát

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

In order to be a lawyer in Slovakia, an individual must be enrolled with the Bar Association and must meet the following conditions: Have full capacity to do legal acts ; have a Master´s degree in law from a law school in the Slovak Republic or hold a recognised university diploma whereby the Master´s degree was awarded to him by a law school in a foreign country other than the Slovak Republic,; have served as a trainee lawyer to a practising lawyer for at least three years; have passed the prescribed Bar examination; be a person of integrity and not to have been subject to any final disciplinary action or disbarment; and to have taken an oath.

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 Slovak Bar maintains the roll of all lawyers practising in Slovakia

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

The practice of law is defined in the Slovak Bar Act to mean "representation of clients before courts of law, governmental authorities and other entities, acting for and defending individuals in criminal proceedings, legal consultancy, writing instruments about legal acts, making legal analyses, administration of clients´ property and other forms of legal advice, assistance and legal services, if provided continuously and in return for a fee (hereinafter referred to as "legal services"). These are not acts reserved exclusively to lawyers and in certain circumstances may also be conducted by bailiffs, notaries, chartered accountants and others.

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

No

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

Under section 12 of the Act, (1) Every lawyer may practise law: a) as a sole practitioner, b) in a partnership of lawyers jointly with other lawyers, c) as a partner in a general non-commercial partnership, d) as a general partner in a limited liability partnership, or e) as a company executive in a limited liability company.

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

The Bar Association produces the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers

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

The Slovak Bar must be informed of the practising addresses of law firms of all types.

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

The Slovak 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?

The provision of temporary services in Slovakia by a lawyer from a non-EU Member State under his/her home title is not permitted. EEA lawyers may practise temporarily as a result of the Lawyers Services Directive (77/249/EEC).

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

Slovakia 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?

 

Slovakia distinguishes between three types of non-Slovak lawyers: a) EEA lawyers who have similar rights to Slovak lawyers but who must practise in association with a Slovak lawyer if they are practising Slovak law;  b) a foreign registered lawyer  - a lawyer of any OECD Member State whose name is entered on the roll of foreign registered lawyers maintained by the Bar, c) an international legal practitioner - a national of any WTO Member State, who is in his home Member State authorised to pursue his professional activities and provide legal services as a sole practitioner and without any limitations, and whose name is entered on the roll of international legal practitioners maintained by the Bar.

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

An EEA lawyer must register with the relevant local bar in Slovakia, practise under his home title and comply with the Slovak code of conduct.

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?

Arbitration in Slovakia is modelled after UNCITRAL and the body responsible is the Court of Arbitration of the Slovak Chamber of Commerceand Industry.  There are no prohibitions on foreign lawyers being involved in arbitration in Slovakia.

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

European Union/EFTA and Swiss lawyers may appear in court provided they do so in association with a local lawyer. Other nationals are not permitted to appear in court.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

EEA lawyers may requalify under Directive 98/5/EC either by examination or a period of assimilation into the profession in Slovakia over three years.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Only EEA law firms may open offices in Slovakia, lawyers from other countries must practise as individuals.

 

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)

All business entities must be entered in the commercial register.

 

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Foreign law firms may only consist of Slovak lawyers and, European lawyers, it must take an unlimited liability form and maintain Professional Indemnity Policy cover with a minimum indemnity limit of EUR 1,500,000 per member.

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? The Establishment Directive (98/5/EC) makes it clear that EU law firms may use the name of their law firm they use in their home country. The host Member State may require that, in addition mention is made of the legal form of the grouping in the home Member State and/or of the names of any members of the grouping practising in the host Member State.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL EEA lawyers must register their offices with the Slovak bar.

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

There are no restrictions on the ownership share of EEA lawyers in a Slovakian law firm.

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

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

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

A Slovakian lawyer may enter partnership with an EEA lawyer.

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

Yes but only under their home title.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Slovenská Advokátska Komora (Slovak Bar Association): http://www.sak.sk/