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How to practise in Luxembourg 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 in Luxembourg under home title after the end of the transition period
Luxembourg has no foreign legal consultant status.
Article 5 of the Loi du 10 Août 1991 sur la profession d'avocat states that “no one may practise the profession of lawyer if he/she has not obtained registration on the roll of a Bar Association established in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg”.
UK solicitors have the following options in order to continue fulfilling this registration requirements from the end of the transition period:
- if you’re an EU/EEA citizen with a legal qualification in another EU/EEA member state you can re-register in List IV with the Luxembourg Bar or the Diekirch Bar under this title. The Directives will continue to apply to you and your practising rights in Luxembourg will remain unchanged
- if you’ve been registered on List IV and practising in Luxembourg or EU law for a minimum of three years, you may be eligible to requalify as a Luxembourg avocat and enrolled in List I under article 9 of the Loi du 13 Novembre 2002. This is the Luxembourg transposition of article 10 of the Lawyers’ Establishment Directive 98/5/EC. This right is only available until the end of the transition period, but any applications made to the Luxembourg Bar before 31 December should be processed
- if you fulfil the appropriate requirements, you can requalify as a Luxembourg lawyer and enroll in List I by attending the required training and sitting the examination. This route will continue to be available to UK nationals after the end of the transition period
- in-house lawyers are not considered qualified lawyers and are not regulated by the Luxembourg Bar
There are two independent bar associations in Luxembourg:
- the Luxembourg Bar Association
- the Diekirch Bar Assocation
Legal professional privilege in Luxembourg courts only applies to members of the bars.
Requalifying as a Luxembourg lawyer after the Brexit transition period
Lawyers from non-EU countries may requalify as Luxembourg lawyers if there is reciprocity and they comply with the key requirements:
- knowledge of the three official languages of Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Bar has confirmed to the Law Society that the EU nationality requirement for requalification will be waived for UK nationals under the reciprocity principle as none of the UK professions hold such a requirement.
UK lawyers may requalify in Luxembourg if they hold a diploma which is recognised by the Ministry of Justice.
After recognition, the candidate must:
- complete six months of courses on Luxembourg law
- pass an examination
- complete a two-year stage in a law firm
- pass a final examination at the end of the stage
- be tested on their knowledge of the three official languages of Luxembourg
Setting up a law firm in Luxembourg
Foreign law firms must be registered on one of the lists (List V or VI) of the Tableau de l’Ordre.
Shares must be nominative and can only be owned by individuals who fulfil the conditions to be an associate of a legal entity which practises law in Luxembourg.
Members of decisional bodies of law firms must also be associates in the law firm.
To be registered on list V, one or more associate of the law firms must be registered on list I (fully qualified lawyers practising under host country title) and practise as a lawyer in Luxembourg permanently.
The registered associates must also have a significant influence on the activity of the law firm.
To be registered on list VI, at least one of the associates must be registered on list I or list IV (foreign lawyers practising permanently in Luxembourg under their home title) and practise permanently in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg lawyers are allowed to share profits with non-EEA lawyers only if the Luxembourg Bar recognises that the authorisation process of their firm in their jurisdiction of origin fulfils the equivalence criteria required by the Loi sur la profession d’avocat dated 10 August 1991.
UK law firms should contact the Luxembourg Bar to confirm that they fulfil such requirement.
Name of the firm
There are no restrictions on the name of the new firm.
However, local and foreign law firms must comply with articles 34 and 33(2) of the act, which state that names of law firms must be preceded or followed by the legal form of the firm and mention “Inscrit au Barreau de Luxembourg/Diekirch” (registered at the Luxembourg or Diekirch bar).
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 to consider instructing external counsel to obtain advice specific to your business objectives.