Tunisia International Trade in Legal Services

Tunisia International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Law No 87/1989 on the Organisation of the Legal Profession

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Lawyers in Tunisia practise under the title: avocat. They may be registered either as lawyers pleading before the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

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

In order to practise as an avocat in Tunisia, an individual must be registered in the table of avocats. Registration requires an individual: 1.To have held Tunisian nationality for at least 5 years; 2. To be resident in Tunisia; 3. To be between 20 and 50 years of age; (4.repealed); 5. To hold a CAPA (certificat d'aptitude à la profession d'avocat) from the Institut Superieur de la profession de l'avocat (those holding the title of professor of law from a Tunisian or foreign university may gain an exemption from this requirement); 6. To have no criminal record,  never to have been declared bankrupt or to have had his/her registration cancelled for disciplinary reasons; 7. To have fulfilled all legal requirements for national service.  If newly qualified, the lawyer is first entered as a trainee lawyer for one year during which time he/she can only plead in lower courts and cannot establish his own firm. After one year, he/she may apply to be entered on the roll as a lawyer with the right to plead before the Court of Appeal. A lawyer with at least 10 years professional experience, at least eight of which have been spent as a lawyer with the right to plead in front of the Court of Appeal may apply to become a lawyer with the right to appear before the Supreme Court.

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

A Tunisian avocat has the right to practise throughout the country

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

According to article 26 of Law 87/1989, only lawyers may plead before any courts, subject to limited exceptions for the employees of public authorities and the relatives of litigants.

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

The practice of law in Tunisia is reserved to Tunisian nationals.

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

A Tunisian avocat may be self-employed, practise in association with another Lawyer or in a firm governed by law 87/1989 (Article 27).

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

Law 87/1989 lays out in some detail further ethical requirements including the handling of conflict of interest and confidentiality. Disciplinary proceedings against Tunisian advocats are conducted by the Tunisian Bar or its regional sections, as appropriate.

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

Yes, According to Law firms act No 60 year 1998, Article 16  the demarcation of professional Law firms well be held by the National Council at the request of an order signed by all partners

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

The Tunisian Bar (Le Conseil de l'Ordre National des Avocats) can register an individual who has fulfilled all the necessary conditions in the relevant section of the roll, which is divided into the list of Stagiares, lawyers pleading before the Court of Appeal and lawyers pleading before the Supreme Court. Law firms must be registered with the Tunisian Bar.  The Bar may be contacted at:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie, Palais de Justice, 50 Boulevard Bab Benat,1006 TUNIS, TUNISIE 
Tél. 00 216 71 560 315 - 00 216 71 582 166, Fax. 00 216 71 568 923 - 00 216 71 261 009 



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?

As the practise of law is reserved to Tunisian nationals this is not applicable

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


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?

As the practise of law is reserved to Tunisian nationals this is not applicable

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

As the practise of law is reserved to Tunisian nationals this is not applicable

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

As the practise of law is reserved to Tunisian nationals this is not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

No restrictions

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


As the practise of law is reserved to Tunisian nationals this is not applicable

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


Requalification is not possible due to the nationality provision in the law


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

A foreign law firm may not obtain a licence in its own right but a Tunisian avocat or groups of avocats may open an office which is associated with a foreign law firm. There have been examples of foreign law firms opening offices as 'legal consultants' in the past but there is no legislative or regulatory framework covering this type of operation.

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


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?

Tunisian lawyers may not be employed by foreign law firms

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

Partnership with foreign lawyers is not permitted.

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

Since the practice of law is reserved to Tunisian avocats, foreigners could not be employed as lawyers.



Other useful sources or comments or links

Tunisian Government Portal - www.e-justice.tn,

Tunisian lawyers law - www.jurisitetunisie.com/tunisie/codes/avocat/menu.html