Working as a lawyer in Norway

As a lawyer from another country coming to Norway to practise law you have different options. The Norwegian Bar Association provides you with an overview here.

Working in Norway under a foreign licence

It is possible to work in Norway under a foreign licence to practise as a lawyer. Which rules and procedures apply depends on whether the lawyer intends to practise law in Norway on a permanent basis or only intends to appear as a so-called ‘guest lawyer’, and on whether or not the lawyer is a national of an EEA state.

Permanent establishment in Norway as a foreign lawyer

If you wish to establish a practice in Norway in order to provide legal services here, you must send notification/an application for this to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice. In such case, you will practise under your licence from your home country and use your home country’s professional title, with your nationality added on.

a. Lawyers from EEA states

Lawyers from EEA states can practise foreign law, international law and Norwegian law. You must send notification to the Supervisory Council that you are starting up a legal practice. You must document that you are registered as a lawyer (or equivalent professional title) in your home country.

Other general requirements must also be met, such as furnishing security, paying contributions to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice (Tilsynsrådet for advokatvirksomhet) and the Disciplinary Committee (Disiplinærnemden), and presenting a declaration of acceptance of assignment from an auditor.

These rules follow from the Regulations for Advocates Sections 10-1 to 10-5.

b. Lawyers from countries outside the EEA area

Lawyers from countries outside the EEA area may only practise foreign law and international law – not Norwegian law. The permission of the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice is required prior to start-up. The Supervisory Council may also stipulate conditions and restrictions in the permit.

Other general requirements must also be met, such as furnishing security, paying contributions to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice and the Disciplinary Committee, and presenting a declaration of acceptance of assignment from an auditor.

These rules follow from the Regulations for Advocates Sections 10-6 to 10-9.

Temporary practice as a foreign lawyer in Norway (‘guest lawyer’)

Foreign lawyers (from countries inside or outside the EEA area) who do not intend to practise on a permanent basis in Norway are entitled to provide legal assistance in Norway without having to apply. Services can be provided in relation to Norwegian, foreign and international law. In such case, lawyers are obliged to use their professional title from their home country and to state the name of the professional body in their home country to which they belong, if applicable. The Norwegian authorities or courts may require documentation that the person in question is authorised to practise as a lawyer.

In such cases, the home country’s rules for practising as a lawyer also apply to the lawyer’s legal practise in Norway. The Norwegian Code of Conduct for Lawyers also applies. It is a requirement that the lawyer has furnished security in his or her home country for any liability he or she might incur in Norway.

These rules follow from the Regulations for Advocates Sections 10-10 to 10-15.

Working in Norway under a Norwegian licence

A Norwegian licence to practise as a lawyer can be issued on the basis of an equivalent licence/permit from the home country. By acquiring a Norwegian licence, the person in question is entitled to use the title ‘advokat’ on a par with lawyers educated in Norway. Foreign lawyers may also use their professional title from their home country. A Norwegian licence to practise as a lawyer is issued by the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice on certain conditions:

a. Lawyers from EEA states

Lawyers who are nationals of an EEA state can be issued a Norwegian licence to practise as a lawyer if they are entitled to practise as a lawyer in their home country. In addition, they must pass an examination at the University of Oslo (“Egnethetsprøven”) demonstrating that they have sufficient knowledge of Norwegian law. They must first apply to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice to take the examination.

b. Lawyers from countries outside the EEA area

For lawyers from countries outside the EEA area, it is possible to apply to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice for a licence to practise as a lawyer. Following an overall assessment of the applicant’s competence and suitability, the Supervisory Council may issue a licence to practise as a lawyer. The practice in this context is very restrictive.

These rules follow from the Regulations for Advocates Section 9-7.