Which countries offer jobs for foreign lawyers?

Bavarian State Ministry of Justice

A) In principle, foreign legal qualifications are not recognized

In Germany, the practice of the state-regulated legal professions of lawyer, judge, public prosecutor and notary requires the acquisition of the qualification for judicial office (§ 5 DRiG). In addition, only German citizens can become judges or public prosecutors.
Qualification for judicial office is achieved by completing the two-year preparatory service for trainee lawyers and then passing the second state examination in law. Admission to the preparatory service, in turn, requires a passed First Legal Examination in Germany (Section 46 (1) of the Bavarian Training and Examination Regulations for Lawyers - JAPO). Due to the differences in the national legal systems that are the subject of the training, legal degrees acquired abroad cannot be recognized as a first legal examination.


B) Special regulations

However, there are special regulations for certain groups of people:

1. Late repatriates

Pursuant to Section 10 (2) of the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG), which, in accordance with Section 112 (1) of the German Judges Act (DRiG), also applies to legal qualifications, examinations or certificates of qualification that ethnic repatriates have taken or acquired in the resettlement areas are to be recognized if they are equivalent to the corresponding examinations or certificates of proficiency in Germany. For the whole of Bavaria, the President of the Munich Higher Regional Court, 80097 Munich, is responsible for the decision on recognition as the First Legal Examination. If recognition is granted as the first legal examination, an application for admission to the preparatory service of legal trainees can then be submitted to the President of the Higher Regional Court in whose district the applicant wishes to perform the preparatory service. However, it should be noted that experience has shown that it is hardly possible to pass the Second State Examination in Law that follows the preparatory service if you do not already have sufficient knowledge of German law at the beginning of the legal traineeship.

2. University degrees in law that were obtained in a member state of the European Union, in another signatory state to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in Switzerland

Subject to the requirements of Section 112a DRiG, applicants can also be admitted to the preparatory service if they have a university degree in law that was obtained in a member state of the European Union, in another state that is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in Switzerland. This requires that it is a diploma that gives access to post-university training in the other country for the profession of European lawyer in accordance with Section 1 of the Act on the Activities of European Lawyers in Germany (EuRAG).

Furthermore, the applicant must prove that he has knowledge and skills in the area of ​​German civil law, criminal law and public law that are equivalent to the knowledge and skills certified by the state compulsory subject examination according to § 5 Paragraph 1 DRiG. Sufficient knowledge of the legal areas specified in Section 18 (2) JAPO is therefore required. A two-stage equivalency test is used to determine whether the applicant has such legal knowledge:

a) First stage: Examination of diplomas and other evidence

First of all, the diplomas, examination certificates, other qualifications and relevant professional experience submitted by the applicant are checked to determine whether they have knowledge in the areas specified in Section 18 (2) JAPO at the level of the first legal examination (Section 5 (1) DRiG ) certify.

b) Second stage: Supplementary aptitude test

In those of the three areas mentioned, the sufficient mastery of which has not yet been proven, the existence of the corresponding knowledge must be proven by taking a supplementary aptitude test. This is done by producing the written block of the state compulsory subject examination of the First Legal Examination offered in this area in accordance with the applicable examination regulations.

The aptitude test is passed, insofar as all the exams of the state compulsory subject examination are to be completed, if the number of exams required to pass the state compulsory subject examination, but at least half of the exams to be completed, have been passed, i.e. have been assessed with at least 4.00 points and written exams in at least two of the three areas civil law, criminal law and public law have been passed, at least one of them in civil law.

If the aptitude test is not to be taken in an area due to sufficient written evidence, the examinations of the state compulsory subject examination offered in this area are fictitiously assessed as passed.

There is no oral examination. If the proficiency test is passed, a certificate will be issued. A grade is not stipulated therein. The aptitude test passed in one federal state entitles you to access the preparatory service in all other federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Applicants who want to take this route must apply to the President of the Higher Regional Court in whose district they want to do the preparatory service to be admitted to the preparatory service. The trainee law offices of the higher regional courts provide more information on the application modalities.

3. Persons who have acquired the right to practice the legal profession in a member state of the European Union, in another signatory to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in Switzerland

Anyone in a member state of the European Union, in another signatory state to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in Switzerland has already acquired the right to work independently as a lawyer under one of the professional titles listed in the appendix to § 1 EuRAG, can on request be admitted to the Bar Association responsible for the place of his place of business and is then entitled to practice the activity of a lawyer in Germany under the professional title of the country of origin in accordance with §§ 1 to 3 of the Federal Lawyers' Act (established European lawyer, § 2 para. 1 EuRAG). Anyone who would be entitled to use the professional title "Attorney" must also indicate the professional organization to which they belong in their country of origin, Section 5 (1) EuRAG. The requirements for admission to the Bar Association and the relevant procedure are regulated in §§ 3 ff. EuRAG; Further information on this can be obtained from the bar associations.

Furthermore, the named group of people can obtain admission to the legal profession according to Sections 4 to 36 and 46 to 46c of the Federal Lawyers' Act as follows:

a) Admission to the legal profession is possible without further examination after at least three years of effective and regular activity as a resident European lawyer in Germany in the field of German law including Community law, Section 11 (1) EuRAG. The bar associations are also responsible for this, §§ 6 Paragraph 1, 33 BRAO.

b) In addition, there is the possibility of an application for the establishment of an equivalent professional qualification in order to be admitted to the bar in Germany, §§ 16 ff. EuRAG. For this purpose, it is necessary to take an aptitude test on a regular basis. A previous three-year activity as a resident European lawyer is not required in this case.

This aptitude test is no longer offered in Bavaria. Since January 1, 2006 it has been carried out by the

State Justice Examination Office Baden-Württemberg
as the joint examination office of the state of Baden-Württemberg
and the Free States of Bavaria and Saxony
P.O. Box 10 34 61
70029 Stuttgart

The aptitude test for admission to the bar in Germany is also carried out by the following examination offices:

Joint examination office of the federal states of Hesse,
North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland
and Thuringia for the acceptance test
for admission to the bar
Martin-Luther-Platz 40
40212 Düsseldorf

Joint examination office of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg,
Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg,
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony,
Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein
Salzburger Str. 21-25
10825 Berlin-Schöneberg


4. Individuals with degrees obtained in the UK

With the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, applicants with degrees from Great Britain will no longer have the options set out under 2. and 3. to be admitted to the preparatory service in accordance with Section 112a DRiG or to submit an application under the EuRAG. In the case of applications submitted before the end of the transition period, the procedure initiated for the equivalence assessment according to § 112a DRiG or the procedure according to the regulations of the EuRAG will be completed.

Lawyers from Great Britain will in future only be entitled to settle in the Federal Republic in order to advise on British law and international law under their British professional title (Section 206 Paragraph 1 of the Federal Lawyers' Act - BRAO); Reference is made to the relevant statements under D.

In addition, reference is made to the following information:

Qualifications that have already been recognized remain valid.


C) Re-study

If none of the aforementioned facts apply to holders of foreign legal qualifications, but they nevertheless want to practice one of the regulated legal professions in Germany, the only option left is to successfully pass the first legal examination in Germany. Admission to this requires a law degree in Germany, but for a minimum duration of three and a half years (cf. § 22 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 JAPO), the respective law faculty in Bavaria can credit a study abroad with up to three semesters (§ 22 Paragraph 1 JAPO) . 1 sentence 5 JAPO). Under the requirements of Section 24, Paragraph 1, Clause 2 of the JAPO, the university can also recognize performance records acquired abroad as equivalent to one of the performance records required for admission to the First State Examination in Law; If you study abroad for at least three years, this crediting option extends to two of the three certificates of achievement. Finally, the examinations performed abroad in accordance with § 43 JAPO can be credited in whole or in part to the law university examination as part of the first legal examination if they are equivalent by the respective faculty. For more information, please contact the respective law faculty.

The Certificate Recognition Office for the Free State of Bavaria, Pündterplatz 5, 80803 Munich, or Stuttgarter Straße 1, 91710 Gunzenhausen, is responsible for information on access to Bavarian universities with a foreign university entrance certificate.


D) Legal services in the field of foreign law

If holders of foreign legal degrees in Germany only want to provide legal services in the field of foreign law, there is the option of applying to the local district or regional court president to register as a legal service provider. For the higher regional court district of Munich, applications are to be directed to the president of the district court in Munich, for the higher regional court districts of Nuremberg and Bamberg to the president of the regional court of Aschaffenburg (§ 1 RDGZuStV). The prerequisites for such registration are, in particular, personal suitability and reliability, theoretical and practical expertise in the relevant foreign law and the existence of professional liability insurance, Section 12 (1) of the Legal Services Act (RDG). Registration entitles you to provide legal services in the relevant foreign law and, under certain conditions, also in the area of ​​law of the European Union and the European Economic Area (Section 10 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 No. 3 RDG), but not in the area of German law. You can find more information on this on the announcement platform for out-of-court legal services (www.rechtsdienstleistungsregister.de).

In addition, in certain cases, according to Section 206 BRAO, there is the option of establishing legal services in the areas of the law of the country of origin and international law under the designation of the country of origin. The bar associations can provide more information on this.


E) Exercising other legal professions

Special admission requirements apply to work as a civil servant in public administration. If you have any questions, please contact the relevant recruiting authority.

Incidentally, exercising other regulated legal professions than those mentioned above is not legally bound in Germany to evidence of a specific qualification or competence. In particular, working for a bank, insurance company or other commercial enterprise does not require a degree in law acquired in Germany or the passing of the Second State Examination in Law.


F) Management of foreign academic degrees

The question of whether and, if so, in what form an academic degree awarded abroad may be used in Germany must be separated from the question of professional or academic recognition of a degree. The Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art is responsible for information on this. Frequently asked questions on this topic are answered on its website:


G) Further information

You can obtain further information from the Bavarian State Ministry of Justice, State Judicial Examination Office, on 089 / 5597-2590 or 089 / 5597-2604 or at the e-mail address [email protected]