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Turkey International Trade in Legal Services

Turkey International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Attorney ship Law  no.1136 of 19 March 1969

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Avukat (attorney)

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




In order to become a licensed lawyer in Turkey, an individual must: 1) Be a Turkish citizen; 2) Graduate from a Law Faculty in Turkey or to pass the related exams required by the Turkish Law Faculties if graduated from a foreign university; 3) Obtain a certificate following the completion of a one year traineeship with a Turkish Bar; 4) Have a legal domicile in the jurisdictional area of the bar association in the directory of which registration is sought; 5) Not be in a unfit state for attorneyship as per the present law (this includes provisions in relation to criminal and disciplinary records, financial standing, mental and physical impairment, having "an unsavoury reputation", and incompatibility with other professions and activities). Finally a lawyer must take an oath. There is no requirement for the attorneyship license 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

According to Article 43 of the Attorneyship law: "Every attorney is under the obligation to establish an office in the jurisdictional area of the bar association in whose directory he/she is enrolled. The specifications of the office will be defined by the bar association. An attorney may not have more than one office. Attorneys working together may not have separate offices. An attorney partnership may not open a branch in Turkey". However, Article 66 makes clear that "An attorney who is entered in the directory of a bar association is authorized to practice attorneyship in any part of Turkey provided that such practice is not on a permanent basis".

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

Under Article 35 of the Attorneyship Law, the following activities are reserved to Turkish attorneys enrolled with bar associations: Providing opinions in legal matters; litigating and defending the rights of real persons and legal entities before courts, arbitrators, and other bodies invested with jurisdictional powers; and managing all documentation associated therewith.  The title of Avukat is also protected.

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

Yes the law contains a citizenship requirement.

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

Turkish lawyers may only work as individual attorneys, or in a general unlimited liability attorney partnership. The law states that such partnerships may not acquire privileges or property outside their purpose; may not establish partnerships with third parties; and may not take over the shares of legal entities. The partners may not be partners in more than one attorney partnership and may not have more than one office of the partnership. In line with the foreign investment law, foreigners may establish attorney partnerships in Turkey. However these partnerships may only give services on foreign law and this limitation is also applicable to the Turkish Citizen Lawyers who work under these foreign attorney partnerships.

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

Lawyers must also comply with the Professional Rules of the Union of Bar Associations of Turkey and the Prohibition of Publicity Regulations. Lawyers are also under an absolute obligation to join the collective insurance scheme.

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

Lawyers wishing to establish an attorney partnership need to apply to the bar association where the attorney partnership will be registered with a letter of application signed by all the partners. In addition they must submit: a) The basic contract of the partnership with each page signed by all of the partners; b) Authenticated facsimiles of the deed for immovable property, the registration booklet for automobiles, bank receipt for money in cash, and the certificate for movable assets committed in the basic contract as security for the share in the partnership; c) A document received from bar associations certifying the entry of the partners in the directory (not be required for foreign attorney partnerships provided that reciprocity is observed); d) Authenticated facsimiles of the identification cards of the partners or passports of foreign partners.

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

Licences for both individuals and firms are issued by the relevant local bar association. The Union of Turkish Bars provides an appeal process if licences are refused. A link to all the Turkish local bar associations is available at the website of the Union of Turkish Bars http://eski.barobirlik.org.tr/eng/content?page=17



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 explicit rules or limitations on temporary practice by foreign lawyers in the areas permitted to them.

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?

Foreign lawyers may join foreign attorney partnerships and render services on foreign and international law.

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

Foreign attorney partnerships and their partners will also be under the obligation to comply with the Attorney ship Law, the Turkish Bar regulations and professional rules.  The Foreign Attorney Partnership regulations also require reciprocal arrangements in the foreign attorney’s home country. Professional services are the subject of an MFN reservation by Turkey.

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

There is no special licence granted to foreign lawyers other than the one granted for the foreign attorney partnership. Each foreign partner in a law firm must receive an approval from the appropriate local Bar in Turkey by submitting a licence or certificate of authorization  from his or her home certifying body  confirming that he/she is enrolled as a lawyer in the foreign country, and that there are no impediments to the practise of his/her profession. Moreover, reciprocity must be observed between Turkey and the home country of the foreign lawyer.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

Turkey has an International Arbitration Law based on the UNCITRAL model which entered into force on 5 July 2001. A new mediation law to be entered into force on 22 June 2013 which applies to both domestic and international disputes on matters of private law. Foreign lawyers have the right to undertake both international arbitration and mediation.

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

No. Rights of audience are reserved to Turkish lawyers.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?



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

Foreign attorney partnerships are required to register with the local bar in which they are established and in addition to the documents required for domestic firms, they must submit (1) The licence or certificate of authorization of each foreign partner received from their home bar association showing that he/she is enrolled with in the foreign country, and a translated and notarized attestation that there are no impediments to practising his/her profession;  (2) A document issued by the authorities concerned in the country of citizenship of each foreign partner acknowledging the fact that reciprocity as regards foreign attorney partnerships exists between his/her country and the Republic of Turkey in accordance with the provisions of the Attorney ship Law and regulations, and that Turkish attorneys may also render attorney partnership activities under equal conditions in the countries of these persons.

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)

The foreign attorney partnership must be registered with the registry of attorney partnerships in the relevant bar.

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


Is there a quota on the number of licences available?


Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

Foreign firms cannot have branch offices in Turkey, they must therefore establish separate offices and undergo a separate licensing process with the relevant local bars if they wish to have more than one office in Turkey.

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? The Attorney ship Partnership Regulations made by the Union of Turkish Bars stipulate that "Foreign attorney partnerships may render consultancy services only in the fields of foreign laws and international law. They may not overstep these bounds in their professional activities and may not practice attorney ship. This restriction will also be applicable to the attorneys of Turkish or foreign citizenship employed by the foreign attorney partnership."
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 general rule for the Turkish attorney partnership is also applicable for the foreign partnerships in that Partners’ names must be included in the partnerships title and the term “attorney partnership” must also be included in the title.
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL The relevant local bar is responsible for authorising foreign attorney partnerships. An appeal process to the Union of Turkish Bars is set out in the Attorney Partnership Regulations 2001.


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

Only Turkish attorneys may be partners in a Turkish attorney partnership.

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

Yes but a Turkish lawyer employed in a foreign partnership may only provide services in international and foreign law.

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

Foreign lawyers and Turkish lawyers may enter partnership but their scope of practice is then limited to the scope of law permitted to foreign lawyers (i.e.only foreign and international law).

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




Other useful sources or comments or links


Union of Turkish Bars Website: http://eski.barobirlik.org.tr/eng/