ADVOKAT


Once certified by the Minister of Justice an advocate is free to practise law before the lower "district" courts (Byret). The advokat can only practice by himself after one year either as an articled clerk to another advocate (that advocate also having had at least one year's experience) or as an advokat employed by or carrying on a business jointly with another advocate. All advokats must be members of the "Danish Bar and Law Society" (Det Danske Advokatsamfund)

The bulk of practitioners are single lawyers and in small partnerships, although a series of mergers in the late 1980's has created some larger law firms. The largest firm has roughly 90 lawyers (including trainees). It is possible for advokats to be employed and to act for their employer. Since 1991, they may also, within limits, be incorporated. Office sharing arrangements (kontorrfællesskab) are also possible whilst remaining in effect a sole practitioner.

A special test in advocacy must be passed before the right of appearance before the High Court (Landsret) and Maritime and Commercial Court of Copenhagen (Soe- og Handelsretten), as regards some cases, is granted. The right of audience before the Supreme Court (Hoejesteret) is granted to those with at least five years experience of practice as advocates having a right to appear before the High Court (Landsret), which must also attest to the advocacy experience of the advokat.

With certain narrow exceptions there is, in civil cases, no necessity for individuals to employ advokats to plead the case in Court, as they have the right to plead the case themselves. However if they wish to choose a third party to represent them, then they can only choose an advocate. In criminal cases the accused shall have a counsel for the defence appointed in cases in which, generally-speaking, he may be sentenced to imprisonment.

The intending advokat will have to complete a law degree and follow a professional training, as well as comply with rules regarding good character, not be bankrupt etc. .

Historical Note