How to practise in Germany after the Brexit transition period

The information below assumes that after the end of the Brexit transition period, the EU Lawyers Directives will no longer apply to UK solicitors and law firms, and that they will be treated as non-EU third country lawyers and law firms.

The position may change depending on the outcome of the ongoing UK-EU negotiations.

Conditions for UK solicitors to practise under home title after the end of the transition period

Germany has a foreign legal consultant (FLC) status for lawyers from non-EU/EFTA countries.

Requirements to access FLC status

A foreign lawyer from a non-EU/EFTA state that’s a signatory to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is eligible for FLC status if they exercise a profession in their home country that’s comparable to the rechtsanwalt in Germany in terms of:

  • education
  • competencies
  • legal position

This assessment is carried out by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Licences for foreign lawyers are granted by local bars (Article 206 of the Federal Lawyers’ Act (BRAO)).

FLCs may establish in Germany under their home title and can practise home country law and international public law.

FLCs must:

  • file for membership in the local bar as an established foreign lawyer
  • submit a certificate from the competent body in their country of origin that they’re a member of the legal profession in that country
  • provide evidence that they have the same kind of professional insurance coverage as required from a German rechtsanwalt

FLCs can:

  • practise home country law (English and Welsh law) and public international law
  • represent clients in arbitration, conciliation or mediation

FLCs cannot:

  • appear in court
  • practise German law

Requalifying as a German lawyer after the transition period

There are currently no nationality, residency or reciprocity requirements for non-EU lawyers to requalify into local profession

In order to requalify, non-EU/EFTA lawyers must go through the entire German education/qualification process.

Foreign lawyers must pass the first State Examination (as part of a degree), followed by the Referendariat (two years practical training at civil and criminal courts, with an administrative authority/court and with counsel, that is at a law firm). This is then followed by the second State Examination.

Resources

Federal Lawyers’ Act (BRAO) (German)

Law on the activities of European lawyers (EuRAG) (German)

German Federal Bar (BRAK) (regulation of the legal profession, English versions available)

If you have any questions, email our international team at international@lawsociety.org.uk.

This information does not constitute legal advice. It was drafted by the Law Society of England and Wales on the basis of desk research, bilateral relations with European Bars and engagement with members.

The Law Society cannot be held liable for actions taken on the basis of this note or lack thereof. In case of specific queries, we strongly advise to consider instructing external counsel to obtain advice specific to your business objectives.

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