Doing legal business in Colombia

Colombia is ranked the 39th biggest economy in the world by GDP, according to the World Bank. It’s ranked 29th by population size, with just over 50 million inhabitants as of 2019, and is the third largest Spanish speaking nation in the world. 

Its capital Bogota is the largest city, with around nine million inhabitants. Medellin and Cali are the second and third largest cities respectively, with populations of around three million.

A recent peace process has for the most part brought to an end one of the world’s longest and most protracted civil conflicts, noted for its complexity and its extreme violence and human rights abuses. As a result, there has been significant improvement in security, stability and rule of law, as well as unprecedented economic growth and development.

Colombia’s reputation as one of the most liberal economies in the Americas is reflected by its membership of the OECD (one of only two South American countries) and its ranking of 67 (of 190) by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index (as of 2019). Despite significant opportunities in oil, gas, energy, extractives industries and agribusiness, and a relatively open market, only a few foreign law firms have entered the market.

Practising in Colombia

Only Colombian lawyers can appear in Colombian courts or provide advice on Colombian law.

Foreign lawyers do not need to register their presence or their intention to provide legal services for occasional or ‘fly in, fly out’ services. They can also establish in Colombia to provide advice in their home jurisdiction and international law, and they may employ and/or partner with Colombian lawyers.

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