It is possible for foreign lawyers to practise law in Norway, but there are very specific processes to follow.
It is possible to work in Norway under a foreign legal licence, but the specific rules depend on whether you intend to practise as a lawyer temporarily, or permanently.
There are also different rules depending on your country of citizenship, specifically whether you are a citizen of an European Economic Area (EEA) member or not.
Working as a foreign lawyer in Norway
Regardless of which of the above scenarios apply to you, you must send a notification or application (which one depends on circumstances) to the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice. If approved, you will practise law under the licence from your home country and use your home country’s professional title, with your nationality added on.
The difficulty of this process and what it allows you to do depends on your country of citizenship, as follows:
EEA member countries
Lawyers from EEA member states can practise foreign law, international law and Norwegian law. To do so, you must send notification to the Supervisory Council that you are starting up a legal practice in Norway, together with documentation proving your professional legal credentials from your home country.
Read more: Immigration from EU/EA countries
Other general requirements include 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.
Lawyers from other countries
Lawyers from countries outside the EEA have to apply to the Supervisory Council for permission to practise in Norway. There is an added restriction that successful applicants may only practise foreign law and international law. They are not allowed to practise Norwegian law.
As with lawyers from EEA member countries, the general requirements stated above must be met. There could also be additional restrictions put in place by the Supervisory Council.
Read more: Immigration from outside the EU/EEA
Regardless of their country of citizenship, qualified foreign lawyers are entitled to provide legal assistance in Norway on a temporary basis without having to apply. Services can be provided in relation to Norwegian, foreign and international law.
This only applies to lawyers who are not planning to establish themselves permanently in Norway. In such cases, lawyers must use their professional title from their home country. The Norwegian authorities and courts may require documentation to prove status.
For such a person, the practising rules of their home country also applies to their work in Norway, along with the Norwegian code of conduct for lawyers.
Getting a Norwegian legal licence
Finally, 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’ alongside 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 upon certain conditions being met, depending on whether the applicant is a citizen of an EEA member country or not.
Lawyers from EEA states
Lawyers who are citizens of an EEA country can be issued a Norwegian licence to practise as a lawyer if they are entitled to practise as a lawyer in their home country. However, they must pass an exam that proves their knowledge of Norwegian law. To do so, they must apply to the Supervisory Council.
Lawyers from other countries
Lawyers with a citizenship from a non-EEA country can also apply to the Supervisory Council for a Norwegian licence, but such a licence is generally quite restrictive. Following an overall assessment of the applicant’s competence and suitability, the Supervisory Council may issue such a licence.
Working as a legal trainee
Those without a licence to practise as a lawyer in their home country may be permitted to work as a trainee lawyer in Norway on certain conditions. Applicants must be have ‘equivalent' legal education and be a citizen of an EEA member country, but knowledge of the Norwegian language or of Norwegian law is not required. The Supervisory Council for Legal Practice manages this process.
How to find legal jobs in Norway
People interested in applying for jobs should look to the following resources for more information: