Recognised Legal Professions

Recognised Legal Professions in Europe

The free movement of professionals in the European Union

The Treaty of Rome establishing the European Community covers all economic activities in their cross border dimensions.

Sporting activities, for example, have their economic dimension as the recent Bosman case illustrates. As the European Court of Justice has stated that “the provisions of the Treaty relating to freedom of movement of persons are intended to facilitate the pursuit by Community citizens of occupational activities of all kinds throughout the Community, and to preclude measures which might place Community citizens at a disadvantage when they wish to pursue an economic activity in the territory of another Member State.”

Naturally, lawyers and other legal professionals can benefit from this freedom of movement.

Former Article 47 (ex Article 57) states that, in order “to make it easier for persons to take up and pursue activities as self-employed persons, the Council shall, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, issue directives for the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications.” The article also say the following:

  • For the same purpose, the Council shall, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, issue directives for the coordination of the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the taking-up and pursuit of activities as self-employed persons. The Council, acting unanimously throughout the procedure referred to in Article 251, shall decide on directives the implementation of which involves in at least one Member State amendment of the existing principles laid down by law governing the professions with respect to training and conditions of access for natural persons. In other cases the Council shall act by qualified majority.
  • In the case of the medical and allied and pharmaceutical professions, the progressive abolition of restrictions shall be dependent upon coordination of the conditions for their exercise in the various Member States.

Scope of Directive 89/48/EEC

The general directive will apply to individuals who fall under of the following criteria:

  • Nationality of an EEA State: see Nationality in this legal encyclopedia.
  • Profession is not covered by a transitional directive: See information on Transitional directives in this legal ecyclopedia.
  • Profession is not covered by a sectoral directive: See information on sectioral directives in this legal ecyclopedia.
  • Profession is a Regulated Profession: there is information on Regulated Professions in this legal encyclopedia.
  • The profession is the same as the profession in the host State: Each country has its own legal traditions and each has developed and grown specialised legal professions to suit these traditions. In the Member state sections of this Website under the heading “mobility” and “eligibility” the national viewpoints on this question are given. In some Member States the implementation for lawyers only applies to a limited category of legal professions mentioned in the lawyers’ services directive 77/249/EEC. The Vlasspoulou case clearly indicates that this is insufficient. All applicants must have their knowledge and qualifications taken into account and one cannot exclude ab initio those not following a particular profession. Indeed such transmutations are de riguer. The logic of the compensation mechanisms found in Article 4 of directive 89/48/EEC demands that national professional boundaries must be looked at flexibly. National modes of practice are no longer isolated. This question is, therefore, not so easily answered. See Mobility of Lawyers in this encyclopedia.

Recognised Legal Professions

The law, in Germany, includes a list of recognised legal professions in other Member Countries.

Recognised Legal Professions in Germany, by country, as enlisted in the Annex § 1 of the Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany (EuRAG), which Implemented the Directives of the European Community pertaining to the professional law regulating the legal profession:

  • Austria: Rechtsanwalt
  • Belgium: Avocat/ Advocaat/ Rechtsanwalt
  • Denmark: Advokat
  • Finland: Asianajaja/ Advokat
  • France: Avocat
  • Greece: Dikigoros
  • Iceland: LĂśgmaur
  • Ireland: Barrister, Solicitor
  • Italy: Avvocato
  • Liechtenstein: Rechtsanwalt
  • Luxemburg: Avocat
  • The Netherlands: Advocaat
  • Norway: Advokat
  • Portugal: Advogado
  • Spain: Abogado/Advocat/Avogado/Abokatu
  • Sweden: Advokat
  • United Kingdom: Advocate, Barrister, Solicitor

EEA Lawyers: Establishment under home State professional title in Germany

EEA nationals who are admitted to practice in a relevant EEA legal profession (see above) can apply to practice in Germany under home State title. (Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany § 2)

Applications must include (Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany § 3):

  • proof of citizenship of a Member State of the European Union or of one of the signatory States to the Agreement on the European Economic Area;
  • a certificate issued by the competent authority in the home State attesting to the European lawyer’s membership of that profession. The Land administration of justice may require that, when presented, this certificate must not be more than three months old.

The application and obligatory supporting documents must be submitted in German, in so far as they are issued by the applicant; other documents, which are not in German, must be presented with a certified German translation.
Once admitted they can practice under their home State title. If that is the same as in Germany (i.e. Rechtsanwalt) then they must also indicate their hoe Sate Bar (Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany § 5).

They have to present an annual certificate from the home State Bar attesting to their membership (Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany § 6(2)). If their right to practice in the home State lapses, so too does the right to practice in Germany (Law regulating the activity of European lawyers in Germany § 6 (3 & 4)).

Direct Effect of Directive 89/48/EEC

A reference has been made by the Administrative Court of First Instance in Athens regarding directive 89/48/EEC asking the European Court of Justice whether:

  • it entails rights in favour of individuals to whom it relates;
  • these rights are directly effective;
  • the damage the applicants claim to have suffered could be recovered;
  • there was any infringement of article 12 of the directive;

The results of this case which are awaited with interest. It is likely that issues 1, 2, and 3 above will be answered positively.

Directive 98/5/EEC

For information on Directive 98/5/EC 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, see in this legal encyclopedia.

Lawyers in some European Countries



See Also

Further Reading

Leave a Comment