Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Lawyers practising abroad on a permanent basis — EU rules

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Languages and formats available
Multilingual display
Text

Lawyers practising abroad on a permanent basis — EU rules

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 98/5/EC — practice as a lawyer on a permanent basis in an EU country other than that of qualification

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?

The directive enables lawyers who qualify in one EU country to practise on a permanent basis in another under their home country professional title. The directive applies to EU nationals authorised to practise under the professional title of ‘lawyer’ , but the system also extends to all nationals of European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.

KEY POINTS

Right to practise

Lawyers may pursue their profession on a permanent basis in another EU country under the professional title acquired in their home EU country.

Those wishing to do so must register with the competent authorities of the host EU country.

Fields of activity

Lawyers practising under their home country professional title can carry on the same professional activities as host country lawyers, with certain exceptions.

They may give advice on the law of both home and host EU country, as well as on EU and international law. For activities relating to the representation or defence of a client in legal proceedings, lawyers who have qualified outside of the country in question may be required to work in conjunction with a local lawyer.

Equal standing

Lawyers from other EU countries may also obtain the professional title of the host EU country under certain conditions. They must be active effectively and regularly for a period of 3 years in the host country and must have had sufficient practice in host country law during that period.

If the activity in host country law is not sufficient, lawyers who have qualified outside the host country may still obtain the professional title of the host country by demonstrating to the competent authorities that they have acquired the necessary knowledge by other means (e.g. by attending relevant lectures or seminars).

Joint practice

Where a host EU country allows joint practices, one or more lawyers belonging to a grouping in their home country may pursue their activities as members of their grouping in the host country.

Professional conduct

Lawyers practising on a permanent basis in another EU country should observe the professional conduct rules of the host country, even if they remain subject to the deontology of their home country.

Disciplinary procedures

Lawyers practising under their home country professional title are subject to the disciplinary procedures of the host EU country.

WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE ENTER INTO FORCE?

On 14 March 1998. EU countries had to transpose it into their national legislation by 14 March 2000.

BACKGROUND

Other EU legal instruments also apply to the legal profession. These relate to:

the possibility to provide services on a temporary or occasional basis (Directive 77/249/EEC);

the recognition of the professional qualification, so as to gain immediate integration to the profession in the host EU country (Directive 2005/36/EC);

ACT

Directive 98/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 to facilitate practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a Member State other than that in which the qualification was obtained (OJ L 77, 14.3.1998, pp. 36-43)

Successive amendments to Directive 98/5/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

RELATED ACTS

Council Directive 77/249/EEC of 22 March 1977 to facilitate the effective exercise by lawyers of freedom to provide services (OJ L 78, 26.3.1977, pp. 17-18). See consolidated version.

Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications (OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, pp. 22-142). See consolidated version.

last update 28.10.2015

Top