Syria International Trade in Legal Services

Syria International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Advocates Law, law no.30 of 28 June 2010

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Lawyers in Syria practice under a single title, 'mohamy', which may be translated as 'advocate' or 'lawyer'.

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

According to the Advocates Law no.30, a practising advocate must be registered and in order to register, an individual must satisfy the following conditions: 1. Have full civil capacity; 2. Hold a degree in law from a Syrian University or equivalent; 3. Be less than 50 years old, unless he or she has already practised  in the legal profession or the judiciary for at least seven years; 4.Have held Syrian nationality for at least five years, or the nationality of another Arab country which qualifies for reciprocal recognition; 5. Have a good reputation that inspires confidence and due respect for the profession; 6. Not have been convicted of any criminal offence; 7. Not have been convicted for any crimes that are incompatible with the duties of the profession and its dignity; 8. Not to have ben subject to disbarment for disciplinary reasons or to have been fired from a public  sector post; 9. Be resident in the jurisdiction in which he is registered; 10. Not be infected with an incurable disease; 11. Not to have been dismissed or retired for health reasons.   Trainee lawyers must complete two years of.

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 license to practice law in Syria is a national one but advocates must be registered with the Bar Association in the local jurisdiction in which they practise.

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

According to the Advocates Law 2010,  advocates are the only class of persons entitled to practise law.

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

The practice of law is reserved to Syrian nationals. However article 10 of the Advocates Law states that a practising Arab lawyer registered in one of the member countries of the Union of Arab States has the right to plead before of most of the Syrian courts under certain conditions.

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

Article 6(7) of the Commercial Companies Law (Syrian Legislative Decree No. 29 of 2011) stipulates that professsionals and specialists may form a civil company under special regulations. The Advocates Law does however state that Syrian lawyers may only have one office unless they are Members of the Board of the Syrian Bar in which case they may also have an office in Damascus for their term of office with the Bar.

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

The law contains further provisions including articles on fees (which allow contingency fees up to 25%), client confidentiality (which release the lawyer from any obligation to look after client documentation five years after his mandate has elapsed) and a prohibition on acting in a situation of conflict of interest

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

Regulations concerning law firms have been drawn up following Article 6 (6) of Law No 3 of the Year 2008 on Companies Law 

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

Lawyers are enrolled in the register of Syrian Bar on the basis of a proposal from the local branch of the Bar. If a lawyer moves from one State to another, he must apply to transfer his enrolment. Law firms must deposit their articles of association with the Bar for approval.

   

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?

Not applicable

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

Business visas may be obtained in advance on the basis of a letter of invitation from the sponsoring Syrian organisation which states the business to be conducted and the status/qualification of the applicant.

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?

The practice of any law in Syria is reserved to Syrian Advocates. A foreign lawyer could only practice in Syria by taking Syrian nationality and then seeking admission after five years have elapsed, through the examination run by the Ministry of Higher Education.

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?

The Syrian arbitration Act provide that an arbitrator need not be of a specific sex or nationality, unless the parties to arbitration agree otherwise. An arbitrator must not be a minor, subject to interdiction or deprived of his civil rights by reason of a judgment against him for a felony or misdemeanor contrary to morality or by reason ofdeclaration of bankruptcy, unless he has
been rehabilitated.

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

 

An Arab lawyer may appear in a Syrian Court at the same level at which he is admitted in his home jurisdiction (e.g. Appeal, Cassation) provided there are reciprocal arrangements in place for Syrian lawyers and the Arab lawyer has obtained the permission of the President of the Syrian Bar.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

The practice of any law in Syria is reserved to Syrian Advocates. An Arab lawyer could only practice in Syria by taking Syrian nationality for five years and passing the examination set by the Ministry of Higher Education.The practice of any law in Syria is reserved to Syrian Advocates. An Arab lawyer could only practice in Syria by taking Syrian nationality for five years and passing the examination set by the Ministry of Higher Education.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

Foreign law firms may only practice indirectly through associations with local law firms.  There is no formal licensing regime for foreign law firms which regulates these arrangements. But acccording to article 73 a Syrian lawyer may only accept a mandate from a foreign law firm or company after first obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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)

Not applicable

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?

Not applicable

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

Lawyers are explicitly prohibited by the Advocates Law from employment in 'foreign companies'.

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

Not applicable

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

A foreign lawyer could be employed by a Syrian lawyer or law firm but not as a lawyer and they would not be able to practice law in Syria.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

www.syrianbar.com