Belgium abolishes EU nationality requirement for requalification

UK nationals can requalify in Belgium without having to obtain EU citizenship, following the reform of the country’s Judicial Code (article 428), sworn into law in August 2022.

The reform allows non-EU nationals to:

  • requalify in Belgium
  • acquire the additional practice rights reserved for members of the domestic profession – EU professional privilege and rights of audience before the country’s courts

The amendment to article 428 also creates the option for the Belgian bars to recommend that foreign law degrees are accepted for the purpose of taking the bar exam, provided they guarantee a sufficient knowledge of Belgian and EU law.

During the Opening of the Legal Year, we met with Belgian bar leaders to thank them for their support to abolish the nationality requirement.

The reform is in line with commitments made under a memorandum of understanding we signed in 2019 along with the UK’s other bars and law societies.

We also discussed the impact of the recent reform for solicitors who would like to requalify in Belgium using their UK law degree.

The Belgian bar presidents said they remain committed to opening the legal market and working closely with us to address any issues facing members, including the requirement to hold a Belgian law degree.

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