Code of Conduct for Lawyers in Europe (CCBE)

Code of Conduct for Lawyers in Europe (CCBE)

The Code of Conduct for European Lawyers was approved at the CCBE Plenary Session on October 28, 1988, and was amended during subsequent Plenary Sessions on November 28, 1998, December 6, 2002 and May 19, 2006. The Code includes an Explanatory Memorandum which is updated daily. during the CCBE Plenary Session on May 19, 2006.


4.1. Rules of conduct in court

A lawyer who appears or participates in a case before a court or tribunal must respect the rules of conduct that apply before that court or tribunal.

4.2. The right way of procedures

A lawyer must always take into account the correct way (conduct) of the procedures.

4.3. Behavior in Court

A lawyer must show proper respect and courtesy in front of the court, and at the same time protect the client's interests with honesty and courage without considering the lawyer's own interests or any kind of consequences for him or another person.

4.4. False or unclear information

A lawyer should never knowingly give false or unclear information to the court.

4.5. Supplement to arbitrators, etc.

The rules that govern the lawyer's relations with the courts also apply to the lawyer's relations with the arbitrators and to any person who exercises judicial or quasi-judicial functions, even if these functions are exercised in a non-permanent way.


3.1. Acceptance and Completion of Advice/Instructions

3.1.1. A lawyer should not take over a case for a party if he has not received instructions from this party. However, a lawyer can act in a case, if he/she is instructed by another lawyer who acts on behalf of that party, or when the case is entrusted to him/her by a competent structure. The lawyer must make serious attempts to verify the identity, competence, and authority of the person or body instructing him, in cases where the specific circumstances show that the identity, competence, and authority are unclear.

3.1.2. A lawyer must advise and represent the client in a timely/prompt manner, with honesty and care. The lawyer must take personal responsibility for not taking into account the instructions of his client and must keep the client informed about the progress of the case that it is trusted.

3.1.3. A lawyer should not accept a matter, for which the lawyer knows or should have known that he does not have the appropriate competence, without cooperating with a lawyer who is competent to take over that matter. A lawyer should not accept instructions unless he or she can ignore them immediately, taking into account the pressure of other work he or she has to do.

3.1.4. A lawyer should not exercise the right to withdraw from a case in a manner or under circumstances where his client may not be able to find other legal assistance in a timely manner to prevent discrimination that the client may suffer.

3.2. Conflict of Interest

3.2.1. A lawyer may not advise, represent, or act on behalf of two or more clients in the same matter if there is a conflict, or a considerable risk of having a conflict, between the interests of these clients.

3.2.2. A lawyer must stop acting for both or all of the clients involved if a conflict of interest appears between these clients and also whenever there is a risk of breach of confidentiality or when the lawyer's independence may be impaired.

3.2.3. A lawyer should also not agree to act on behalf of a new client if there is a risk of breach of trust given to the lawyer by a previous client or if the lawyer's knowledge of the previous client's affairs will give the client more advantage. new.

3.2.4. When lawyers practice within an organization, paragraphs 3.2.1 and 3.2.3 above will apply to the organization itself and all its members.

3.3. Pactum de Quota Litis

3.3.1. A lawyer should not have the right to make a "pactum de quota litis".

3.3.2. "Pactum de quota litis" means an agreement between a lawyer and the client made before the conclusion of a case in which the client is a party, by which the client undertakes to pay the lawyer a part of the result, regardless of whether this represents a sum of money or any other benefit achieved by the client upon completion of the case.

3.3.3. "Pactum de quota litis" does not include an agreement where fees can be charged/paid in proportion to the value of the lawyer's case if this is in accordance with an approved official fee or is under the control of the Competent Authority which has jurisdiction over the lawyer.

3.4. Regulation of Fees

A fee set by the lawyer must be fully disclosed to the client, must be fair and reasonable, and must comply with the law and professional rules established for lawyers.

3.5. Payment on account

If a lawyer requests that the payment of fees and/or disbursements be made on account, this payment must not exceed a reasonable amount of fees and/or disbursements included - pre-calculated. Failure to make this payment may prompt the lawyer to give up the case or refuse to accept the case, but it is always subject to paragraph 3.1.4 above.

3.6. Fee Sharing with Non-Attorneys

3.6.1. A lawyer may not share his/her fees with a person who is not a lawyer, except when an association between the lawyer and the other person is permitted by the laws and professional rules that apply to lawyers.

3.6.2. The provisions of paragraph 3.6.1 above shall not prevent a lawyer from paying a fee, commission, or other compensation to the heirs (of title or property) of the deceased lawyer or to a retired lawyer as a mark of respect. the practice of the dead or retired lawyer.

3.7. Cost of Litigation (court proceedings) and the possibility of Legal Aid

3.7.1. The lawyer must all the time try to reach the most cost-effective solution regarding the client's case and must advise the client during the appropriate stages on the priority to make an effort for the solution or refer to the alternative resolution of the dispute.

3.7.2. A lawyer must inform the client about the possibility of obtaining Legal Aid in cases where it is possible.

3.8. Customer funds

3.8.1. Lawyers who take control of funds on behalf of clients or third parties (hereinafter referred to as "Client Funds") must deposit these funds in a bank account or similar institution under the control of a public authority (hereinafter to use the "customer account"). A Client's account must be separate from any other lawyer's account. All client funds delivered to the lawyer must be deposited in this type of account, unless the owner of these funds agrees to be treated differently.

3.8.2. The lawyer must keep complete and accurate data showing all the actions the lawyer takes with the client's funds and their division with the lawyer's funds. The data must be stored for a certain time according to the relevant national rules.

3.8.3. A client's account cannot be in debit except in exceptional cases as provided for in the national rules or due to debiting by the bank, for which the lawyer cannot have influence. This type of account cannot be given as a guarantee or used as security for any reason. There can be no merger between the client's account with any other bank account, and the client's funds in the client's account cannot be used to pay money that the lawyer has not repaid to the bank.

3.8.4. Clients' funds must be transferred to their owners in the shortest period of time or in accordance with the conditions authorized by the owners of these funds.

3.8.5. The lawyer cannot transfer funds from the client's account to the lawyer's account for the payment of fees without informing the client in writing.

3.8.6. The Competent Authorities in the Member States must have the power to verify and examine any document related to client funds, but this must respect confidentiality or the applicable legal professional privilege.

3.9. Professional Insurance Coverage

3.9.1. Lawyers must be insured against civil legal liability arising from outside their legal practice, to the extent that is reasonable considering the nature and extent of the risks involved in professional activities.

3.9.2. If this is impossible, the lawyer must inform the client about this situation and its consequences.


5.1. The Spirit of the Professional Corporation

5.1.1. The corporate spirit of the profession requires a relationship of trust and cooperation between lawyers for the benefit of their clients and with the aim of avoiding unnecessary legal proceedings and any kind of behavior that could damage the reputation of the profession. However, it should never happen that the interests of the profession are placed before the interests of the client.

5.1.2. A lawyer must know/be familiar with the lawyers of the Member States as colleagues of the profession and act with honesty and courtesy towards them.

5.2. Cooperation between Lawyers of different Member States

5.2.1. It is the duty of the lawyer to whom a lawyer from another member state has been offered not to accept instructions in a case, where the lawyer is not competent to take over. The lawyer in this case should be prepared to help the colleague to get the necessary information to advise the lawyer who is competent to provide the requested service.

5.2.2. When a lawyer from a Member State cooperates with a lawyer from another Member State, both have a joint obligation to take into account the changes in the respective legal systems and professional organizations, the powers and obligations of lawyers in the countries in question.

5.3. Correspondence between Lawyers

5.3.1. If a lawyer intends to send communications/documents to a lawyer in another Member State, for which the sender wishes to remain confidential or not to be prejudiced/discriminated, he or she must clearly make this clear before sending the documents. .

5.3.2. If the potential recipient of the documents is unable to ensure their status as confidential or without prejudice, he or she must inform the sender in a timely manner without any delay.

5.4. Referral Fees

5.4.1. A lawyer must not request or accept from another lawyer or any other person a fee, commission, or any other compensation for the referral or recommendation of a lawyer from the client.

5.4.2. A lawyer may not pay anyone a fee, commission, or any other type of compensation for referring a client to him/her.

5.5. Communication with Opposing Parties

A lawyer must not communicate about a certain matter with any person when he knows that this person is represented or advised in this matter by another lawyer, without the other lawyer's permission (and he must keep the other lawyer informed about these communications) .

5.6. (Removed by decision of the Plenary Session of Dublin with Deleted on December 6, 2002)

5.7. Responsibility for Fees

In the professional relations between the members of the different Bars of the Member States, where a lawyer is not obliged to recommend another lawyer or to introduce the other lawyer to the client, but instead the lawyer passes the responsibility to a correspondent, on an issue assigned, or requests advice from the correspondent, the instructed/advised lawyer bears personal responsibility, even when the client is unable to pay, for the payments of fees and costs that must be given to the foreign correspondent. The lawyers involved, however, at the beginning of the relationship between them take special actions on this issue. Furthermore, the instructed lawyer can at any time limit his/her liability to the amount/amount of fees, costs incurred before suggesting to a foreign lawyer the conditions regarding the future liability of the instructed lawyer.

5.8. Continuing professional development

Lawyers must maintain and develop their professional knowledge and skills, taking into account the European dimension of their profession.

5.9. Disputes between Lawyers of Different Member States

5.9.1. If a lawyer considers that a colleague in another Member State has violated a rule of professional conduct, the lawyer must inform his colleague about the matter.

5.9.2. If a personal disagreement of a professional nature occurs between lawyers of different Member States, they should, if possible, try to resolve it amicably.

5.9.3. A lawyer shall not commence against a lawyer in another state any of the proceedings on the matters provided for in paragraphs 5.9.1 or 5.9.2, as above, before first informing the Bars or Legal Associations to which they belong, for the purpose to give the opportunity to the Bars or Legal Associations involved to reach a solution.


This Explanatory Memorandum was prepared by the CCBE Working Group on Deontology, which authored the initial version of the Code of Conduct, at the request of the CCBE Standing Committee. This Memorandum aims to explain the origin of the measures defined in the Code, to illustrate the problems for which these measures are designed, especially in relation to cross-border activities, and to offer assistance for their implementation to the Competent Authorities of the Member States. The Explanatory Memorandum was updated during the CCBE Plenary Session on May 19, 2006.

The original versions of the Code are in English and French. Translations in other languages of the European community have been prepared under the authority of the national delegations.

Commentary on Article 1.1 - The Function of the Lawyer in Society

The Declaration of Perugia, approved by the CCBE in 1977, defined the main principles of the professional conduct of lawyers in the European Community (EC). The provisions in Article 1.1 reiterate the position of the Declaration of Perugia on the function of the lawyer in society, which forms the basis for the rules that govern the performance of this function.

Commentary on Article 1.2 - Nature of the Rules of Professional Conduct

These predictions restore in a substantial way the explanation of the Declaration of Perugia on the nature of the rules of professional conduct and the way that special rules depend on special local circumstances but are again based on common values.

Commentary on Article 1.3 - Purpose of the Code

These forecasts present the development of the principles of the Periugia Declaration in a Code of Conduct for lawyers of the European Union and the European Economic Area, and lawyers of States with CCBE Observer Status, with a special reference to their cross-border activities. (defined in Article 1.5). The provisions in Article 1.3.2 present the specific objectives of the CCBE, taking into account the substantial articles of the Code.

Commentary on Article 1.4 - Field of Application Personal Ratio

The rules are set to be applied by all lawyers as defined in the Lawyers Services Directive 1977 and the Lawyers Placement Directive 1998, and lawyers of CCBE Observer States. This includes the lawyers of the countries that have continuously adhered to the above Directives, whose names have been added by the amendment of the Directives. The Code applies to all lawyers represented in the CCBE, regardless of whether they are Full Members or Observers, and specifically:

Belgiumavocat / advocaat / Rechtsanwalt
Czech Republicsolicitor
finlandasianajaja / lawyer
FYRO Macedoniasolicitor
Puffin Islandlogmaour
irelandbarrister, solicitor
Latviazverinats advokats
Luxembourglawyer / Rechtsanwalt
Maltalawyer, legal attorney
Polandadwokat, prawny root
Sloveniaodvetnik / odvetnica
Spainabogado / advocat / abogatu / avogado
SwitzerlandRechtsanwalt / Anwalt / Fursprech / Fursprecher /avocat / avvocato /advocate
Englandadvocate, barrister, solicitor

It is hoped that the Code will be accepted by the legal professions of other countries that are not Member States in Europe or other countries, so that it can be applied through conventions between them and the Member States.

Commentary on Article 1.5 - Field of Application Material Ratios

The rules provided here are directly applicable only to "cross-border activities" as defined, of the lawyers of the European Union and the European Economic Area and the lawyers of the Observer States of the CCBE - see above in article 1.4, and the definition of "Member State ” in article 1.6. (See also above the possibility of extension to lawyers of other countries.) Definitions of cross-border activities, for example, include contacts in Country A also on matters of the domestic law of State A between a lawyer of State A and a lawyer to State B; it excludes contacts between lawyers of state A in state A of a case raised in state B, when it is ensured that none of the professional activities took place in state B; it includes every activity of the lawyers of State A in State B, even in the form of communications sent from State A to State B.

Commentary on Article 1.6 – Definitions

This article defines a series of terms used in the Code, "Member State", "Member State of Origin", "Host Member State", "Competent Authority", "Directive 77/249/EEC" and "Directive 98/5/EC ". The reference to "where the lawyer performs cross-border activities" should be interpreted based on the definition of "cross-border activities" in Article 1.5.

Commentary on Article 2.1 – Independence

This article substantially reaffirms the general position of the principle of the Perugia Declaration.

Commentary on Article 2.2 – Faith and Personal integrity

This article substantially reaffirms the general position of the principle of the Perugia Declaration.

Commentary on Article 2.2 – Faith and Personal integrity

This article also restores a general principle included in the Declaration of Perugia.

Commentary on Article 2.3 - Confidentiality

In this article, at the beginning, I restore, in Article 2.3.1, general principles defined in the Declaration of Perugia, and reaffirmed/accepted by the European Court of Justice in the AM&S case (157/79). Further, in Articles 2.3.2 to 4, it develops them in a special rule regarding the protection of confidentiality. Article 2.3.2 contains the basic rule that requires the respect of confidentiality. Article 2.3.3 confirms that the obligation remains in effect on the lawyer even if the lawyer stops acting on behalf of the client in question. Article 2.3.4 confirms that the lawyer must not only respect the obligation of confidentiality by himself/herself, but must ask all the members and employees of his firm to do the same.

Commentary on Article 2.4 - Respect for the Rules of Bars and other Legal Associations

      • Article 4 of the Lawyer Services Directive contains articles regarding the rules that must be supervised by a lawyer from a Member State who provides services for certain periods or special cases in another Member State based on Article 49 of the Community Treaty European, consolidated, as follows:


    • (a) Activities related to the representation of a client in judicial proceedings or before public authorities must be pursued in each Host Member State based on the conditions established for lawyers in that country, with the exception of any condition requiring residency, or registration in a professional organization, in that country.
    • (b) A lawyer following these procedures must check the rules of professional conduct in the Host Member State, without prejudice to the lawyer's obligations in the Member State from which he/she comes.
    • (c) When these activities are pursued in the United Kingdom "the rules of professional conduct of the Host Member State" shall mean the rules of conduct that apply to "solicitors", where these activities are not reserved for "barristers" and lawyers. If not, the rules of professional conduct of the latter should be applied. However, Irish barristers must always be subject to the rules of professional conduct that apply in England to barristers and lawyers. When these activities are carried out in Ireland "the rules of professional conduct of the Host Member State" means, for as long as they make oral representation in a matter in court, the rules of professional conduct applicable to barristers. In all other matters, the professional rules of conduct that apply to "solicitors" must be applied. However, barristers and lawyers from England must always be subject to the rules of professional conduct that apply in Ireland to barristers, and
    • (d) A lawyer who performs activities other than those referred to in (a) above must remain bound by the conditions and rules of professional conduct of the Member State from which he comes without prejudicing the observance of the rules, regardless of their origin, which regulate the profession in the Host Member State, especially those related to the incompatibility of the exercise of a lawyer's activities with the exercise of other activities in that state, professional secrecy, relations with other lawyers, the prohibition of the same lawyer acting for the parties with mutual conflict with each other, and advertising. The latter rules are applicable only if they are possible to be checked by a lawyer who is not established in the Host Member State and to the extent that their checking is objectively justified to ensure, in that State, the exercise of appropriateness of the lawyer's activities, the attitude of the profession and compliance with the rules related to incompatibility.


    • The Directive on the Placement (covering the beginning of the exercise in a certain country, other than the one of the country of origin) of Lawyers contains the measures that have to do with the rules that must be observed by a lawyer of a Member State who practices in permanent function in another Member State based on Article 43 of the European Community Treaty, consolidated, as follows:


  • (a) Regardless of the rules of professional conduct, to which he/she is subject in the Member State of origin, a lawyer who exercises his function based on the professional title acquired in the country of origin, will be subject to the same rules for professional conduct, just like the lawyers of the host country, in relation to all activities carried out in that territory (Article 6.1).
  • (b) The Host Member State may require a lawyer who practices on the basis of the professional title obtained in the country of origin, to make/pay professional insurance or become a member of the professional guarantee fund, based on the rules that he the state has decided on professional activities in its territory. However, a lawyer who practices the profession based on the title of his country should be exempted from this requirement, if the lawyer can prove that he/she is covered by insurance or a guarantee fund based on the rules of the Member State of Origin. for as long as this insurance or guarantee is equivalent in criteria, conditions and measure of coverage/insurance. In cases where the equivalence is partial, the Competent Authority in the Host Member State may require additional insurance or guarantee to be contracted to cover the elements that are not covered by the insurance or guarantee contracted based on the rules of the Member State of Origin (Article 6.3 ), and
  • (c) A lawyer registered in the Host Member State with the professional title of the State of origin may practice the profession as a paid lawyer working for another lawyer, an organization or law office, or in a public or private activity to the extent that the State Member Prites allows it for lawyers registered under the professional title of that state. (Article 8).

In cases that are not covered by any of the Directives, or set higher requirements than those of the Directives, the obligations of a lawyer based on community law to observe the rules of Bars and Legal Associations of other countries, are a matter of interpretation of each provision / the relevant article, such as the Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC). A major purpose of this Code is to minimize, and if possible to eliminate altogether, the problems that may arise from "double deontology", which will be understood as the application of more than one set of national rules which potentially may be in conflict with a certain situation (see Article 1.3.1).

Commentary on Article 2.5 – Incompatible assignments

There are differences both between and within the Member States regarding the limit regarding the possibility that lawyers have to be involved in other functions/professions, such as in commercial activities. The general purpose of the rules that exclude lawyers from other functions is to protect the lawyer from influences that may damage the lawyer's independence or his/her role in the administration of justice. The changes in these rules reflect different local/national conditions, different perceptions on the correct functioning of lawyers and different techniques of drafting the rules. In some cases, there is a complete prohibition of involvement in some specified jobs, whereas in some cases, involvement in other jobs is in principle/generally allowed, but subject to the supervision of some specific guarantees on the independence of the lawyer.

Articles 2.5.2 and 3 set out measures on certain circumstances in which a lawyer of a Member State is involved in cross-border activities (as defined in Article 1.5) in a Host Member State when he/she is not a member of the profession legal of the Host State.

Article 2.5.2 defines full supervision of the rules of the Host State regarding the incompatible employment of the lawyer who is involved in the national judicial processes or before the national public authorities of the Host State. This applies regardless of whether the lawyer is located in the Host State or not. Article 2.5.3, on the other hand, establishes the obligation to "respect" the rules of the Host State regarding prohibited or incompatible employment in other matters, but only in cases where the lawyer who is located in a Host Member State wishes to participate directly in commercial activities or other activities that are not related to the practice of law.

Commentary on Article 2.6 - Personal Advertisement

The term "professional advertising" covers the advertising of lawyers' firms, as well as of individual lawyers, which is different from the advertising of organizations organized by Bars or Legal Associations, for their members as a whole. The rules of personal advertising by lawyers vary significantly in the Member States. Article 2.6 clearly defines that there are no dominant objections to personal advertising in cross-border activities. However, lawyers are nevertheless subject to all prohibitions or restrictions imposed by the rules of their countries of origin, and a lawyer will continue to be subject to the prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the rules of the Host Member State, where they are mandatory for the lawyer based on the Lawyer Services Directive or the Lawyer Placement Directive.

Commentary on Article 2.7 - the interest of the Client

This definition emphasizes the general principle that the lawyer must put the interests of the client before the interests of the lawyer or his colleagues in the legal profession.

Commentary on Article 2.8 - Limitation of the Lawyer's Liability to the Client

This article makes it clear that there is no dominant objection to limit the lawyer's responsibility towards his/her client in cross-border practice, such as by contract or by using a limited partnership, limited partnership or partnership with limited liability. However, it is determined that this may be considered in cases where the relevant legislation and relevant rules of conduct allow it - and in a number of jurisdictions the law or professional rules prohibit or limit this limitation of liability.

Commentary on Article 3.1 – Acceptance and Completion of instructions

The provisions of Article 3.1.1 are designed to ensure that a relationship between the lawyer and the client is maintained and the lawyer actually receives instructions from the client, even if they can be transmitted through an authorized intermediary. It is the lawyer's responsibility to satisfy the authorized intermediary and the client's wishes.

Article 3.1.2 deals with how the lawyer should perform his/her duties. The determination that the lawyer must take personal responsibility for not taking into account the instructions received by him/her means that the lawyer cannot avoid the responsibility by delegating it to others. This does not stop the lawyer from seeking to limit the legal liability to the extent that the relevant law or professional rules allow - see 2.8.

Article 3.1.3 defines a principle which is particularly relevant in cross-border activities, for example when a lawyer is asked to take over a case on behalf of a lawyer or client from another country, who may not be family members with the law or practice, or when a lawyer is asked to take over a matter related to the law of another country with which he is not familiar/competent. A lawyer generally has the right to refuse the acceptance of instructions from the beginning, but article 3.1.4 says that, if these instructions have been accepted, after their acceptance the lawyer has an obligation not to give up without ensuring that the client's interests are protected.

Commentary on Article 3.2 – Conflict of interest

The measures of Article 3.2.1 do not prohibit the lawyer from acting for two or more clients in the same matter only if it is ensured that their interests are not in fact in conflict and there is no significant risk of this conflict occurring. When a lawyer is acting for two or more clients in this way and then there is a conflict of interest between these clients or a risk of breach of confidence or other circumstances in which the independence of the lawyer can be damaged, then the lawyer must to stop acting on behalf of both or all clients.

However, there may be circumstances in which differences arise between two or more clients who are represented by a lawyer, in which it would be appropriate for the lawyer to act as an arbitrator. It is up to the lawyer in these cases to judge for yourself if there is a conflict of interest between them for which the lawyer should stop acting on their behalf. If not, the lawyer should consider whether it is necessary to explain the position to his clients, obtain their approval and act as an arbitrator to resolve the difference between them, and whether this attempt to act as a mediator will fail then you must stop acting for them.

Article 3.2.4 applies to the above measures of Article 3 to lawyers who practice in a union/office. For example, a law office must stop acting when there is a conflict of interest between two clients of the firm, even if different lawyers of the office act for each client. On the other hand, in exceptional cases, in the "chambers" form of organization of English Barristers, where each lawyer acts for clients individually, it is possible for different lawyers in the organization to act on behalf of clients with opposing interests.

Commentary on Article 3.3 – Pactum de Quota Litis

These measures reflect the common position in all Member States that an unregulated agreement on potential fees (pactum de quota litis) is contrary to the proper administration of justice because it encourages speculative processes and is likely to be abused. However, the measures are not intended to stop the holding or presentation of agreements based on which lawyers are paid on the results or only when the case is successful, at the same time ensuring that these agreements are carried out with full regulations and control for the protection of the client and the proper administration of justice.

Commentary on Article 3.4 - Regulation of Fees

Article 3.4 defines three requirements: a general standard for informing the client of the lawyer's fees, a requirement that the fees be fair and reasonable in terms of their amount, and a requirement that they be in accordance with the applicable law and professional rules.

In many Member States there are mechanisms for the regulation of lawyers' fees based on national legislation or rules of professional conduct, whether referring to the judgment of the Bar authorities or others. In the situations regulated by the Directive on the Placement of Lawyers, where the lawyer is obliged to apply the rules of the Host Member State as well as the rules of his/her own country, the bases for determining the fees may be required to be in accordance with both types of the rules.

Commentary on the Article - Payment on account

Article 3.5 determines that a lawyer can request a payment on account of lawyer's fees and/or disbursements, but sets a limit referring to a reasonable (preliminary) calculation of them. See also Article 3.1.4 regarding the right to withdraw.

Commentary on Article 3.6 - Sharing of Fees with Non-Lawyers

In some Member States, lawyers are allowed to practice organized with other members of some approved professions, regardless of whether they are legal professions or not. The measures defined in Article 3.6.1 are not designed to prohibit the sharing of fees within these permitted forms of organization. Also, the measures are not designed to prohibit the sharing of fees of lawyers to whom the Code applies (see Article 1.4 above) with other "lawyers", for example lawyers from Non-Member States or members of other legal professions in Member States such as notaries.

Commentary on Article 3.7 – The Cost of Judicial Procedures and the Possibility of Legal Aid

Article 3.7.1 emphasizes the importance of efforts to resolve disputes in the most cost-effective manner for customers, including advising whether efforts should be made to negotiate a resolution, and whether it should be proposed to refer the dispute to alternative forms of dispute resolution. Article 3.7.2 requires lawyers to inform the client about legal aid when it can be applied. There are measures that vary significantly in the Member States regarding the possibility of legal aid. In cross-border activities, a lawyer should take into account the possibility of applying for legal aid of a national law with which the lawyer is not familiar.

Commentary on Article 3.8 – Client Funds

The measures of Article 3.8 reflect the recommendation adopted by the CCBE in Brussels in November 1985 on the need to draw up and implement minimum rules to control the retention of client funds by lawyers within the Community. Article 3.8 defines minimum standards to be observed, without interfering with the detailed national systems that provide for a more complete or stricter protection for the protection of clients' funds.

Lawyers who hold clients' funds, even during cross-border activities, must observe the rules of the Bars of their countries of origin. Lawyers should be made aware of the questions that arise when the rules of more than one Member State are applicable, especially when the lawyer is located in a Host State based on the Directive on the Placement of Lawyers.

Commentary on Article 3.9 – Professional Insurance

Article 3.9.1 reflects a recommendation which was also approved by the CCBE in Brussels in November 1985, on the need for all lawyers in the Community to ensure themselves against the risks arising from complaints about the professional negligence of lawyers.

Article 3.9.2 deals with the situation when insurance cannot be obtained based on what is defined in Article 3.9.1.

Commentary on the Article - Rules of Conduct in Court

This measure defines the principle that the lawyer is obliged to respect the rules of the court or tribunal before which the lawyer practices or appears.

Commentary on Article 4.2 – Fair Development of Procedures

This measure applies the general principle that in opposition procedures, a lawyer should not attempt to take unfair advantage of his opponent. The lawyer, for example, should not establish contact with the judge, without informing the lawyer of the other party in advance, or give the judge information or documents, without communicating in time to the lawyer of the other party, except when these actions are allowed by the rules of the respective procedure. To the extent that the law does not prohibit it, a lawyer should not bring before the court any proposal for the solution of the case made by the other party or the lawyer of the other party without receiving the express consensus of the lawyer of the other party. See also Article 4.5 below.

Commentary on Article 4.3 - Performance in Court

This measure reflects the necessary balance between respecting the court and the law on the one hand, and pursuing the best interest of the client on the other.

Commentary on Article 4.4 - False or incorrect information

This measure applies the principle that the lawyer, never knowingly (in good conscience), should not mislead the court. This is necessary if trust is to be created between the courts and the legal profession.

Commentary on Article 4.5 - Additions to Arbitrators, etc

This measure extends the above procedures that have to do with the courts and to other structures that exercise judicial or almost/semi-judicial functions.

Commentary on Article 5.1 - The Spirit of Professional Cooperation

These measures, which are based on the positions of the Perugia Declaration, emphasize that it is in the public interest of the legal profession to maintain a relationship of trust and cooperation between its members. However, this cannot be used to justify putting the interests of the profession against the interests of justice or clients. (see also Article 2.7).

Commentary on Article 5.2 - Cooperation Between Lawyers of Different Member States

This measure also develops a principle defined in the Declaration of Perugia with an aim to prevent misunderstandings in cooperation between lawyers of different Member States.

Commentary on Article 5.3 – Correspondence Between Lawyers

In some of the Member States communications between lawyers (written or oral) are considered confidential between lawyers. This means that the content of these communications cannot be disclosed to others, normally cannot be passed on to lawyers' clients, and cannot be presented in any case in court. In other Member States, these consequences will not occur, except when the correspondence is marked "confidential".

In other Member States, the lawyer must keep the client fully informed of all communications from a professional colleague acting on behalf of another party, and marking a letter as "confidential" means that it is a legal matter for the lawyer to whom it was sent and his/her client, and not to be misused by third parties. In some states, if the lawyer wants to show that a letter was sent to settle a dispute, and not to send you to court, the lawyer must mark the letter as "without prejudice."

These important national changes raise many misunderstandings. Therefore, it is necessary for lawyers to be very careful during cross-border correspondence. In cases where a lawyer wishes to send a letter to a colleague of the profession in another Member State on the basis that it must be kept confidential between lawyers, or is "without prejudice", the lawyer must ask in advance if this letter can be accepted on these grounds . A lawyer who wants a communication to be accepted on a certain basis must say so expressly at the beginning of the communication (above the letter) or in a cover letter.

A lawyer who is the recipient of this communication, but who is not in a position to respect it, or to ensure respect, for the basis on which it will be sent, must inform the sender immediately so that the correspondence is not started. If the communication is received, the recipient must return it without reading its content or referring to it in any form; if the national law of the recipient of the correspondence prohibits the recipient from complying with this obligation, he/she must inform the sender immediately.

Commentary on Article 5.4 – Referral Fees

This measure reflects the principle that the lawyer should not pay or accept payment only for the referral of a client, which would risk damaging the client's free choice of the lawyer or the client's interest to be referred to the best service of possible. This does not prohibit agreements for the division of fees between lawyers on appropriate grounds. (see also article 3.6 above).

In some Member States, lawyers are allowed to accept and hold commissions in certain cases, ensuring that the best interests of the client are met, full information has been given to the client and the client has agreed to hold the commission. In these cases, the retention of the commission by the lawyer represents part of the lawyer's remuneration for the service provided to the client and is not within the scope of the prohibition on referral fees which is designed to prevent lawyers from making secret profits.

Commentary on Article 5.5 – Communication with Opposing Parties

This measure defines a generally accepted principle, and is designed both to promote the smooth conduct of business among lawyers, as well as to prohibit any attempt to take advantage of a client of another lawyer.

Commentary on Article 5.6 - Change of Attorney

Article 5.6 deals with the change of lawyer. It was removed from the Code on December 6, 2002.

Commentary on Article 5.7 - Responsibility for Fees

These measures substantially reaffirm the measures contained in the Perugia Declaration. Given that misunderstandings about liability for unpaid fees are a common matter of variation among lawyers in different Member States, it is important that a lawyer who wishes to exclude himself or limit personal liability from being liable for the fees of a the foreign lawyer must reach a clear agreement on this at the beginning of the transaction.

Commentary on Article 5.8 – Continuing Professional Development

Keeping up-to-date with developments in legislation is a professional obligation. In particular, it is essential that lawyers are aware of the growing impact of European Legislation in their field of practice.

Commentary on Article 5.9 - Disputes between Lawyers of different Member States

A lawyer has the right to pursue any legal or other settlement/restoration which is allowed against a colleague in another Member State. Regardless of this, it would be desirable, in cases of violation of professional conduct or a disagreement of a professional nature, to look at the possibility of using all means for the amicable resolution of this disagreement, if necessary with the support of the Bars or of the interested Legal Associations, before these solutions are exercised.


1. Introduction

1.1. The function of the lawyer in a company

Lawyers have a special role in a society that is founded on respect for the rule of law. A lawyer's duties do not begin and end with doing honestly what he or she is instructed to do as far as the law allows. A lawyer must serve the interests of justice as well as those whose rights and freedoms he or she has been entrusted to declare and protect and it is the lawyer's duty not only to appeal the client's case but also to be his advisor. Respect for the professional function of the lawyer is an essential condition for the rule of law and for democracy in a society.

    • The function of the lawyer, therefore, imposes a series of legal and moral obligations on the lawyer (sometimes they seem to be in conflict with each other) against:


  • The client.
  • Courts and other institutions before which the lawyer presents the client's case or acts on behalf of the client.
  • The legal profession in general and each of its members in particular.
  • The public, for whom the existence of a free and independent profession, based on the respect of the rules established by the profession itself, is an essential element to protect human rights against the power of the state and other interests of society.

1.2. The nature of the rules of Professional Conduct

1.2.1. The rules of professional conduct are drawn up through their voluntary acceptance by those to whom they are applied to ensure the proper performance by the lawyer, of the profession which is essential in all civilized societies. Failure of the lawyer to follow these rules may result in receiving disciplinary sanctions.

1.2.2. The special rules of each Bar or Legal Association are based on his/her traditions. They are approved according to the organization and sphere of activity of the profession in a given Member State, judicial and administrative procedures and local legislation. It is neither possible nor desirable for these rules to be created without considering the context or to make an attempt to give the rules a general application, which are naturally impossible to implement. However, the special rules of each Bar or Legal Association are based on the same/common values and in most cases demonstrate a common/same basis.

1.3. Purpose of the Code

1.3.1. The continued integration into the European Union and the European Economic Area and the increase in the frequency of cross-border activities of lawyers within the European Economic Area have made it necessary for the public interest to declare common rules that apply to all lawyers of the European Economic Area, regardless of whether to whom the Bar or Legal Association belongs, as far as cross-border practice is concerned. The special purpose of the declaration of these rules is to ease/diminish the difficulties resulting from the implementation of the "Double Deontology", as clearly provided in Articles 4 and 7.2 of Directive 77/249/EEC and Articles 6 and 7 of Directive 98/ 5/EC.

1.3.2. The organizations representing legal professions in the CCBE propose that the rules codified in the following articles:

  • To be recognized at this time as an expression of the consensus of all Bars and Legal Associations of the European Union and the European Economic Area.
  • To be adopted as mandatory rules as soon as possible in accordance with the national procedures or those of the European Economic Area, regarding the cross-border/international activities of the vocat in the European Union and the European Economic Area.
  • To be taken into consideration during the review of the national rules of deontology or the practice of the profession, with the aim of their progressive harmonization.

Furthermore, they articulate the desire that the national rules of deontology or professional practice be interpreted and applied, whenever possible, in a manner consistent with the rules of this Code.

After the approval of the rules of this Code as applicable in relation to the international activities of the lawyer, the lawyer will remain Obliged to follow the rules of the Bar or the Legal Association, in which he/she is a part, to the extent that they are consistent with the rules of this Code.

1.4. Field of Application Rations to Persons

This Code will be applied to lawyers, as they are defined by Directive 77/249/EEC and Directive 98/5/EC and to lawyers of countries that have observer status in the CCBE.

1.5. Field of Application Material Ratios

Without prejudging the process of progressive harmonization of the rules of deontology or professional practice which apply only within the respective member state, the following rules will apply to the international/cross-border activities of the lawyer within the European Union and the European Economic Area. Cross-border activities shall mean:

  • All professional contacts with lawyers of member countries other than those of their own country.
  • Professional activities of the lawyer in a Member State other than his own country, regardless of whether the lawyer is physically present or not in that Member State.

1.6. definitions

In this Code:

"Member State" means a member state of the European Union or any other state, whose legal profession is included in Article 1.4.

"Member State of Origin" shall mean the Member State in which the lawyer obtained the professional title of Lawyer.

"Host Member State" shall mean any other member state where the lawyer performs cross-border activities.

By "Competent Authority" shall be understood the organization/s or authority/s of each Member State, which are responsible for establishing the rules of professional conduct and administering the discipline of lawyers.

"Directive 77/249/EEC" is Council Directive 77/249/EEC of March 22, 1977 for the facilitation of the effective exercise of the freedom to provide services.

"Directive 98/5/EC" is Directive 98/5/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of February 16, 1998 to facilitate the practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a Member State other than the State where it was taken


2.1. Independence

2.1.1. Many tasks that belong to the lawyer require that the lawyer have absolute independence, to be free from all kinds of influence, especially those that can be created by his/her personal interests or external pressure. Such independence is a necessity to believe in the process of justice and the independence of the judge. Consequently, a lawyer must avoid any damage to his/her independence and be careful not to compromise his/her professional standards in order to please the client, the court or third parties.

2.1.2. Independence is essential in matters with litigation/debate or not. The advice that the lawyer gives to the client has no value if it is given by the lawyer to create a favor (to the lawyer), to serve his/her interests or when it is a response to external pressure.

2.2. Trust and professional integrity

Relationships of trust can only exist if there is no doubt about the respect, honesty, and personal integrity of the lawyer. These traditional virtues are professional obligations for the lawyer.

2.3. confidentiality

2.3.1 The essence of the lawyer's function is that he should be told by his/her client things that the client would not tell others, and that the lawyer would receive other information on a confidential basis. Without security in confidentiality, there can be no trust. As a consequence, confidentiality is a primary and main right and duty of the lawyer. The lawyer's obligation of confidentiality serves the interests of the administration of justice, as well as the interests of the client. Consequently, it enjoys special protection from the State.

2.3.2. A lawyer must respect the confidentiality of all information that becomes known to him/her during the exercise of his/her professional activity.

2.3.3. The obligation of confidentiality is not limited in time.

2.3.4. A lawyer must request from associate lawyers and staff or any person involved in the provision of professional services, to follow the same obligation to keep these data confidential.

2.4. Respect for the Rules of other Bars and Legal Associations

During the exercise of the profession in the cross-border context, a lawyer from another Member State may be obliged to respect the professional rules of the host Member State. Lawyers have the duty to be informed about the rules that will affect them during the exercise of a certain activity. CCBE Member Organizations are obliged to deposit with the CCBE Secretariat their codes of conduct in order for each lawyer to be provided with a copy of the current code.

2.5. Incompatible professions

2.5.1. In order to exercise his/her activities with due independence and in a manner that is consistent with the lawyer's obligation to participate in the administration of justice, a lawyer may be prohibited from taking over certain jobs.

2.3.2. A lawyer must respect the confidentiality of all information that becomes known to him/her during the exercise of his/her professional activity.

2.5.2. A lawyer who represents his client in a legal proceeding or before a public authority in a Host Member State must take into account the rules related to the incompatibility of professions as they apply to lawyers of the Host Member State.

2.5.3. A lawyer established in a Host Member State in which he/she wishes to participate directly in commercial or other activities must comply with the rules relating to prohibited or incompatible professions, as they apply to lawyers of that Member State .

2.6. Personal Ads

2.6.1. A lawyer is free to inform the public about his/her services, ensuring that the information is accurate and not confusing, and respects the obligation of confidentiality and other fundamental values of the profession.

2.6.2. Personal advertising of the lawyer in any type of media, such as press, radio, television, electronic commercial communication or other means is allowed to the extent that it respects the obligations defined in paragraph 2.6.1.

2.7. Customer interest

A lawyer must always act in the best interest of the client and must put these interests before his/her interests or the interests of colleagues, but always taking into account all the legal rules and those of conduct in his/her profession .

2.8. Limitation of the Lawyer's Liability towards the Client

To the extent that the law allows in the Member State (of origin) and that of the Host Member State, the lawyer may limit his/her liability towards the client in accordance with the professional rules the lawyer must follow.