How to practise in Switzerland after the Brexit transition period

This information assumes that after the end of the Brexit transition period the EU Lawyers Directives will no longer apply to UK solicitors and law firms.

The 2019 UK–Switzerland Citizen’s Rights Agreement (CRA) has secured enhanced practising rights for UK lawyers in Switzerland compared to lawyers from other non-EU/EEA countries.

Conditions for UK solicitors to practise in Switzerland on a permanent basis after the end of the transition period under the CRA

Under the UK–Switzerland CRA, UK lawyers registered and working in Switzerland on a permanent basis under their home professional title before the end of the transition period will continue to be able to practise while they remain registered in Switzerland.

UK lawyers have been granted a four-year period after the end of 2020 to register, or to start their application to register, to work in Switzerland under their UK professional title on a permanent basis or transfer into the Swiss profession.

UK lawyers who have transferred to the Swiss professional title will continue to be recognised and will continue to be able to practise as they do now, provided they remain registered in Switzerland.

Conditions for UK solicitors to practise in Switzerland on a temporary basis (fly-in, fly-out) under the CRA

UK lawyers can continue to serve existing Swiss clients on a fly-in, fly-out basis for up to 90 days in each calendar year for at least five years following exit day where written contracts have been signed and started before the end of 2020.

An extension to the five-year limit is possible through an agreement of a UK–Switzerland joint committee.

Where there is not a signed and commenced service contract in place at the end of 2020, or where services go beyond the scope of the contract in place, lawyers will need to secure a work permit (L permit) and visa in the same way as other non-EEA lawyers.

The work permit and visa requirements apply to lawyers who service clients in Switzerland for between eight and 90 days per calendar year.

Resources

UK–Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

Swiss Bar Association

Geneva Bar Association

Zurich Bar Association

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.


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