LexisNexis

Slovenia International Trade in Legal Services

Slovenia International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Bar Act was adopted in 1993 and amended in 1996, 2001, 2008 and 2009.

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Odvetnik/Odvetnica

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The right to practise law is acquired with admission to the Bar (Article 1 of the Bar Act).  Article 25 lists the requirements to be admitted to the Bar: 1. To be a citizen of the Republic of Slovenia, 2. To be economically active and in a generally healthy condition, 3. To hold the professional title of Bachelor of Law (B.Law) acquired in the Republic of Slovenia or to hold a Bachelor's Degree in Law acquired abroad and recognized in the Republic of Slovenia, 4. To have passed the state examination of legal profession, 5. To have four years' practical experience as a Bachelor of Law,  at least one year of which was with a lawyer, 6. To have an active command of the Slovenian language, 7. To be of a suitable character for the practice of the legal profession, 8. To have the equipment and premises required and suitable for practising the legal profession. The one year experience requirement for a lawyer can be fulfilled by practice of the same duration with a notary public. The minimum of one year practice in a law office, is not required if the individual concerned has held the office of judge, public prosecutor or public attorney for at least five years. On registration, lawyers must take an oath. The licence to practice law is permanent and does not need to be renewed.

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 Slovene Bar Association consists of 11 regional assemblies. Lawyers are free to practise in any of territorial sub-divisions but there is a registration requirement according to Article 23 of the Bar Act:  “The lawyer shall be free to choose and change his registered office and shall prior to each changing of location inform the Bar Association of Slovenia thereof. The lawyer cannot have a subsidiary of his law office in the Republic of Slovenia.”

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

The activities of lawyers are listed in Article 2 of the Bar Act: “Within the scope of his law practice the lawyer shall give legal advice, represent and defend his clients in courts and in front of other authorities, draw up documents and act on his clients' behalf in their legal relationships. Unless otherwise provided by the law, it is exclusively by the lawyer that a client may be represented in courts on the basis of remuneration.”

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

 

 

 

 

Slovenian citizenship is mentioned as a requirement to practise law in Article 25 of the Bar Act. However, Article 2a of the Act also sets out that "A foreign lawyer who has acquired the right to practise his profession in his parent country may perform in the Republic of Slovenia, under the terms and conditions specified herein, the following services:
- Lawyer's services,
- Legal profession appertaining to the professional title acquired in his parent country,
- Legal profession appertaining to the professional title of ""lawyer"".
Practicing legal profession by foreign lawyers is specified in the Articles 34a to 34g of Bar Act.

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

Slovenian lawyers may work as sole practitioners or in a law firm. Articles 35 and 36 of the Bar Act give more detail on the conditions governing practice in law firms: “Article 35: A Law Firm may be established as a Civil Law Firm or as a Law Firm with the status of legal entity. A Law Firm with the status of legal entity may be established as a company with unlimited personal liability of partners for the Law Firm's obligations. Article 36: The establishment and operation of the Law Firm shall be subject to the regulations on commercial companies, unless otherwise provided by this law”. Law firms may not have more than one office in Slovenia.

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

The Code of Conduct for Lawyers (1994, amended in 2001), Bar decision On the Lawyers' Tariff (2003), Attorney Tariff Act (adopted in 2008, expired in 2009, shall continue to be applied) as well as numerous internal acts of the Bar Association.

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

The Bar Association only maintains the roll of lawyers, however Article 39 of the Bar Act provides for the conditions for the practice of law by firms. Law firms must be entered in the Court Registry. The Bar Association must give its consent prior to registration with the court. Partners in a Law Firm may only be lawyers performing legal practice in the Law Firm. Partners may not perform legal practice in other law firms.

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

Slovene Bar association (http://www.odv-zb.si/predstavitev)

   

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 from the EU may provide temporary services (Article 34.e of the Bar Act) without needing to register but they must inform the Bar Association of Slovenia and submit evidence of their qualification and insurance cover, as well as an address or a proxy for services of documents. They will be subject to the rules of the Slovenian Bar in their temporary practice. They may provide services in relation to home country law, EU law and international law (with the exception of representing clients before Slovenian courts where certain restrictions apply).

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

Slovenia 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 and EU lawyers must obtain foreign lawyer identity cards in order to practise as foreign legal consultants.  An EU lawyer may obtain a licence to establish as a foreign legal consultant. This licence entitles him/her to give legal advice on the legislation of his parent country, on the legislation of the European Union, on international law and on the legislation of the Republic of Slovenia. Representation of clients before the courts in the Republic of Slovenia must be done in cooperation with a licensed Slovenian lawyer. EU lawyers are not permitted to be elected to the Slovenian Bar, train pupils and prospective entrants to the Bar, be appointed the proxy of a legal aid client or be appointed attorney ex officio.  Under Article 34g of the Bar Act, lawyers from outside the EU who are licensed in their home countries may also obtain foreign legal licences in Slovenia on the same terms as EU lawyers. In order to do so, they must satisfy the following conditions: Be in good health and able to conduct business, have an active command of the Slovenian language, be suitable for practising the legal profession, have the necessary equipment and premises required and suitable for practising the legal profession.

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

Foreign lawyers are required to maintain an office in Slovenia and to actually and continuously perform their profession.

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

Foreign (non EU) lawyers who are licensed in their home countries, must: pass an exam on Slovenian law and be in good health and able to conduct business, have an active command of the Slovenian language, be suitable for practising the legal profession, have the necessary equipment and premises required and suitable for practising the legal profession. EU lawyers must be of EU nationality and qualification and provide a certificate of good standing (no more than 3 months old) from their home country bar or regulatory authority.  If a lawyer is disbarred in their home country then they are considered disbarred in Slovenia. A foreign (non EU) lawyer’s licence is subject to de facto reciprocity between Slovenia and his parent country.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

There is no requirement for an arbitrator to be a Slovene national, qualified as a lawyer or a registered member of the Bar.  Article 7 of the Mediation Act (2008) explicitly mentions the possibility of appointing foreign mediators.

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

 

 Article 34c of the Bar Act provides that EU/EFTA and Swiss lawyers may appear in court but must do so in cooperation with a local lawyer.
“In the performance of lawyer's services related to the representation of clients before the courts in the Republic of Slovenia, the lawyer referred to in the preceding Article shall cooperate with the lawyer who is entitled in the Republic of Slovenia to practise his legal profession under the professional title of ""lawyer"".”

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

EU lawyers may fully requalify as Slovenian lawyers following the European Establishment Directive 98/5/EC, either by examination or by assimilation over a three year period of continuous and effective practice in Slovenia. Article 34d of the Bar Act sets out the requirements for applicants.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Law firms must obtain prior approval from the Bar Council before establishing.

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 also be entered in the court register (equivalent to the business register).

 

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

EU law firms may establish as unlimited partnerships or as civil law firms. Non-EU foreign law firms may only establish as unlimited partnerships. The Bar Council must give its consent to the establishment of any law firm. 

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?

There are no geographical restrictions. According to Article 23 of Bar Act the lawyer shall be free to choose and change his registered office and shall prior to each changing of location inform the Bar Association of Slovenia thereof. The lawyer may have a subsidiary of his law office in the Republic of Slovenia, if the subsidiary is managed by another lawyer in his employment. A Law Firm may establish a subsidiary outside its headquarters, if the subsidiary is managed by another partner or a lawyer employed at the Law Firm. The lawyer or the Law Firm shall inform the Bar Association about the establishment of a subsidiary in 30 days of establishment and prior to the commencement of operations. Law firms may only have a single office in Slovenia. Prior to changing location a lawyer shall ask the regional assembly for their opinion on adequacy of business premises.

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? Foreign companies must establish branches in Slovenia and parent companies remain fully liable. Article 35 and 36 of the Bar Act set out the legal forms available to law firms, all law firms must be approved by the Bar and registered with the Court Registry.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? There are no specific rules for the names of foreign law firms. However, Article 38 provides for rules about names of law firms in general in Slovenia:
“The registered name of the Law Firm shall necessarily contain an additional indication of Law Firm, expressed with the abbreviation ""o. p.""
The name of a former partner may, with his consent or with his heirs' consent, remain preserved in the registered name of the Law Firm referred to in the preceding paragraph for at maximum five years, with additional indication ""former"" accompanying his name.”
 
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Law firms must be entered in the Court registry having obtained the consent of the Bar Association:http://www.sodisce.si/javne_knjige/sodni_register/

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

There are two types of restrictions on ownership applicable to foreign law firms. First there are limitations on ownership that apply to all law firms which are provided for in Article 37 of the Bar Act:
“The activity of the Law Firm shall be limited to practising the legal profession. Partners in a Law Firm may only be lawyers. Management of the affairs of a Law Firm cannot be entrusted to a person other than a lawyer". In this context, lawyer means Slovenian lawyer.
There are also rules on the foreign ownership of companies (article 36 of the Bar Act provides that establishment and operation of the Law Firm shall be subject to the regulations on commercial companies, unless otherwise provided by this law): “At least half of the ordinary members of the Board of Directors have to be nationals of the Republic of Slovenia. The managing director of a limited liability company or at least the procurator has to be a Slovenian national. A non-Slovenian national, who is a director of a branch, established in the Republic of Slovenia by a foreign juridical person, has to be a resident in the Republic of Slovenia. The establishment of branches by foreign companies is conditioned with the registration of the parent company in a court register in the country of origin for at least one year”.

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

A  Slovenian lawyer may be employed by an EU law firm (its branch office in Slovenia), but employment in organisations not registered with the Bar is contrary to the code of conduct. However, branch offices of any foreign law firms may be registered in the Companies’ Register. The lawyer or the law firm shall inform the Bar Association about the establishment of a branch office in 30 days of establishment and prior to the commencement of operations. 

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

EU lawyers may enter partnerships with Slovenian lawyers but non-EU lawyers must requalify in order to form such partnerships.

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

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

http://www.odv-zb.si/en/about-the-bar