How to practise in Italy after the Brexit transition period

The UK left the EU single market and customs union at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

The EU Lawyers Directives no longer apply to UK solicitors and law firms, and freedom of movement to the EU has come to an end.

Different rules on practising rights, immigration, visa and work permit requirements apply in each EU member state.

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

UK solicitors may practise in Italy under their home title.

They can:

  • practise the law of their home country
  • practise public international law
  • represent clients in informal arbitration (arbitrato irrituale), conciliation or mediation (subject to restrictions below)

Non-EU/EEA lawyers cannot:

  • represent clients in courts or in formal arbitration (arbitrato rituale) – EU/EEA/Swiss lawyers may appear in court in association with a local lawyer
  • represent clients in mediations in some specific matters provided by law – such as banking, finance and real estate disputes
  • use the Italian professional title ‘avvocato’

Requalifying as an Italian lawyer after the transition period

In order to requalify as an Italian lawyer, solicitors must sit an ad hoc Bar exam before a special commission of the Italian National Bar Council.

There’s a reduced examination for those who have:

  • passed examinations in Italian universities or
  • practised the legal profession in Italy for a significant period

Those who have an Italian law degree can requalify through a reduced examination on Italian ethical and professional rules.

There are no nationality, residency or reciprocity requirements to requalify as an Italian lawyer.

All Italian avvocati must be registered with their local bar in order to practise in Italy.

Resources

Italian National Bar (Consiglio Nazionale Forense)

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

The information above 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 you to consider instructing external counsel to obtain advice specific to your business objectives.