Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) International Trade in Legal Services

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Attorney Regulation Act 2010

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Attorney at law

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

Taiwanese students can study law at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level. Those who complete their four-year undergraduate law education are eligible to sit the Bar exam.  Graduates must then complete a six month internship with certified institutions before a licence to practise is issued from the Ministry of Justice.  An attorney at law is not entitled to practice until he/she has become a member of a Bar Association.

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

Yes, but attorneys must register with the relevant local Bar in order to practise in that district.

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

Only Taiwanese lawyers have rights of audience in court and can provide advice on Taiwanese law

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)

Lawyers may work in sole practice or in partnerships. Legislation to permit limited liability partnerships is under consideration. 

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

The Bar has produced a code of Legal Ethics

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

Upon establishing a law firm, the attorney should join the local bar association in that jurisdiction. Attorneys shall notify the District Court and the District Court Prosecutors Office in that jurisdiction of the address of the attorney’s place of business.  No attorney shall maintain more than one place of business nor are any form of branch offices permitted within one jurisdiction, and an attorney should not establish another law firm under another name.

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

The Ministry of Justice

   

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?

There are no regulatory restrictions on foreign lawyers working on 'fly in/fly out' transactions.

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

Yes

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?

A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (i.e. become a foreign legal consultant).  In order to offer advisory services in foreign and international law, a foreign legal consultant is not required but may enter a commercial association with local lawyers.  A “Foreign Attorney” may not practice law until granted approval by the Ministry of Justice and admitted to the Bar
Association where his/her law firm is located.

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

A “foreign attorney” shall, within six months from being granted approval, apply for membership to the Bar Association in the jurisdiction where their law firm is located. That Bar Association shall not refuse admission.  A “foreign legal affairs attorney” shall, when practicing law use the formal title of A “foreign legal affairs attorney” and specify the name of his/her “home jurisdiction”.

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

A “Foreign Attorney” who applies to the Ministry of Justice for approval to practice shall meet the prior practice requirements:
Have practiced for at least five years within their “home jurisdiction” and have appropriate supporting certificate.  However, should they have been employed by a Taiwan attorney, as an assistant or a consultant for legal affairs of their “home jurisdiction”, or have practiced the law of their “home jurisdiction” in other countries or regions, that period, not to exceed two years, may be accredited into the experience period.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

The laws governing arbitration in Taiwan are the Republic of China Arbitration Act of 1998 modeled after the UNCITRAL Model Law of 1985 and the Rules on Arbitration Institutions, Mediation Procedures, and Fees of 1999. Under the Taipei Rules, parties are free to appoint the arbitrators of their choice but failing this the Chinese Arbitration Association of Taipei may appoint arbitrators on their behalf. The CAA's list includes foreign arbitrators and in order to qualify a foreign arbitrator must be a lawyer with 5 years' experience, an academic or a former judge.

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

No

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

Yes. In order to obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers must take the attorney qualification examinations according to the laws of Chinese Taipei. A non-citizen who passes the attorney qualification examinations and receives an attorney licence shall be subject to approval by the Ministry of Justice before practising as a lawyer in Chinese Taipei. These requirements are the same as the rules applicable to a local applicant.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

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

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for approving all foreign law firm commercial ventures.

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)

Other formalities required in setting up a law firm may be conducted through the Government's online portal: http://onestop.nat.gov.tw

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

No

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? Foreign law offices can only advise on home and international law. If the foreign firm wishes to employ a local lawyer they must seek approval from the Ministry of Justice.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Foreign law firms registered as attorney partnerships may only take the form of general unlimited liability partnerships.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? The name of a foreign firm must contain the indication 'AFLA' (Attorney of Foreign Legal Affairs)
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL The Ministry of Justice is responsible for lawyer admission (http://www.moj.gov.tw/mp095.html)

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

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

Only foreign lawyers may be partners in AFLA law firms.

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

If a foreign legal affairs attorney obtains permission from the Ministry of Justice, he or she may hire a Chinese Taipei attorney. The qualifications, procedures and other rules to allow him or her to do this will be set by the Ministry of Justice.

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

If a foreign legal affairs attorney obtains permission from the Ministry of Justice, he or she may join with a Chinese Taipei attorney to operate a law firm. The qualifications, procedures and other rules to allow him or her to do this will be set by the Ministry of Justice.

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

Yes - there is separate recognition in Taiwan's WTO commitments on legal services of the rights of foreign legal assistants who are not providing legal services under their own name.

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Link to law on lawyers: http://law.moj.gov.tw/eng/LawClass/LawAll?PCode=I0020006