Doing legal business in Uzbekistan

The Republic of Uzbekistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It has a civil law system.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan was accepted on 8 December 1992 and is the most important element of legislation of independent Republic of Uzbekistan.

The primary sources of Uzbekistan law are:

  • the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • constitutional laws
  • ordinary laws
  • decrees of the president
  • decrees of the cabinet of ministers
  • normative acts

The legal profession

A lawyer in Uzbekistan is called an advocate (himoya qilmoq).
The legal profession in Uzbekistan is divided into:

  • commercial lawyers who provide commercial legal services and are subject to general civil and tax legislation and other legislation governing legal relations between commercial entities
  • advocates whose practice is regulated by the Law on Legal Profession

Commercial lawyers are not regulated and do not:

  • need a licence to practice law
  • have a special status under Uzbek law
  • have the same privileges and immunities as advocates

An advocate must:

  • be a citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • hold a university degree in law
  • not have any unspent criminal convictions
  • have obtained a licence to practise
  • be legally competent

Licences are issued by the Chamber of Lawyers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and membership is compulsory. Candidates must pass an exam set by the Higher Qualifications Committee and swear the oath.

Uzbek legislation is unclear on the areas of work reserved to advocates. However, only licensed advocates can provide legal aid, including assisting in representing in court.
Advocates may:

  • work as sole practitioners
  • set up their own law office
  • work in a college of advocates
  • create a law firm jointly with other lawyers

Regulation and representation

The Chamber of Lawyers of the Republic of Uzbekistan was created in 2008. It represents the interest of advocates at national level and is responsible for regulating advocates in Uzbekistan.

Law offices, colleges of advocates and law firms as well as lawyers’ associations must be registered with the Ministry of Justice or Regional Departments of Justice.

Foreign law firms

Foreign law firms do not need special licences to practise law beyond the usual company registration procedures.

Registration of foreign companies must be made with the local authority for state registration (khokimiyat, or the Inspectorate for Registration of Entrepreneurial Entities).

There are no rules about ‘fly in fly out’ practice of law or any requirement to obtain a temporary licence. However, the Arbitration Tribunal Act limits arbitrators to those of Uzbek nationality.

There are no restrictions on employing foreign lawyers, partnerships or the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm.

Requalifying in England and Wales

Uzbekistan was added to the recognised jurisdictions list for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) in 2009.

The QLTS is the route by which lawyers from other jurisdictions can be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales. It does not require a degree in common law or even an LLM (a Master of Laws degree) from a UK university.

Qualifying this way does not require a training contract or experience with a UK law firm either. The scheme is managed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The tests are designed to ensure that requalifying lawyers meet the same standard of knowledge and skill required of a locally qualified solicitor of England and Wales.

Solicitors Qualifying Examination

The QLTS will be replaced by a new route to qualification through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in autumn 2021.

Read our guidance on the SQE for foreign lawyers

World Trade Organisation

Uzbekistan applied for membership in 1994 but its accession process has been inactive since 2005.

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