Establishing a Law Firm, Lawyers' Company or Partnership
In order to incorporate a lawyers’ company in the Republic of Cyprus, an approval by the Legal Council is necessary prior to the company’s registration.
Who is Eligible
A lawyers’ company/partnership may be registered, according to the Companies Law, provided that the Legal Council is satisfied that the following criteria are met:
(a) A general or limited partnership all of whose intended partners are advocates enrolled in the Register of Practicing Advocates, under the Partnerships and Business Names Law; or
(b) A private limited liability company all of whose intended shareholders and members of the board of directors are advocates enrolled in the Register of Practicing Advocates, under the Companies Law, provided that a general or limited partnership whose partners are advocates enrolled in the Register of Practicing Advocates may be shareholders of the private limited liability company;
(c) A general or limited partnership or private limited liability company whose name consists exclusively of:
- The name or names of one or more practicing advocates, or
- The name or names of advocates who, in the past, practiced the profession in the Republic as partners in a general or limited partnership which existed on the date of entry into force of the Advocates (Amendment) Law of 2007; or
- The name of a general or limited partnership which existed on the date of entry into force of the Advocates (Amendment) Law and contains the name or names of advocates who are, or were in the past, enrolled in the Register of Advocates.
Additionally, depending on the type of incorporation the intended partners/shareholders/directors should meet the conditions of practice as advocates. A person can practice as an advocate in Cyprus only if:
(a) He is enrolled as an advocate to the Registry of Advocates;
(b) He has taken out an annual advocate’s licence;
(c) Has paid to the Advocates Pension Fund all amounts due by him.
Notably, the lawyers have not been deleted from the Registry of Advocates neither are pending a case before the Disciplinary Board, at the time of applying for the lawyer’s company incorporation.
Where to Apply
The application form for the approval of the incorporation of a lawyers’ company must be submitted directly to the competent authority:
1 Apellis Street, 1043 Nicosia
Tel. 357 22 889207
Fax. 357 22 667498
Which Certificates must be Submitted
The application must be accompanied by the following documents:
- Copies of the annual practicing Licence of the advocates intended as partners/shareholders/directors of a certain type of incorporation;
- Receipt of the last payment of pension fund of the advocates intended as partners/shareholders/directors of a certain type of a incorporation;
- Two copies of the suggested Articles of Association.
The applicant is informed regarding the authorization decision within three months from the date the application form and supporting documents were dully submitted. Every Lawyers’ Company, whose registration with the Registrar of Companies has been approved by the Legal Council, is recorded by the Bar Council in the “Register of Lawyers’ Companies”.
Dispute with the Competent Authority's Decision
How to File an Administrative Action
Administrative Action Against a Competent Authority’s Decision
Any person may file an Administrative Action at the Administrative court against a decision, act or omission of any competent authority or body.
Pursuant to Article 146 of the Constitution, an Administrative Action may be lodged within 75 days from the date of the decision or act or omission or from the day when such decision or act or omission was notified to the applicant.
The Administrative Court acts as a cassation Court and not as a substantive Court. In other words, the Administrative Court may:
I. Dismiss the Administrative Action
II. Annul wholly or partially the contested decision or act
III. Compel the relevant authority or body to take a certain action
After a decision is annulled, the authority and/or public body must reverse things back to the state prior to when the concerned decision and/or act was executed and reexamine.
How to Appeal
An Appeal may be filed against the Administrative Court’s first-instance decision within a period of 42 days from the date such decision was given.
At the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal Section) hearing, the contested issue of the appeal remains the legality of the decision or act already adjudicated for. However, such revision of the legality of the decision or act is solely examined on the matters and the extent that the two parties have limited the reasons in the relevant notice of appeal.
The decision adopted by the Supreme Court is considered final in relation to the matter that has been judged.
Legislation & Obligations
What are my Obligations
Registered lawyers’ companies/partnerships are obliged to comply with the provisions of the Advocates Law, as periodically amended, as well as with the Code of Conduct, and among others with the following:
- Any acquisition or transfer of shares in a private limited liability company registered as a Lawyers’ Company is deemed lawful and filed with the Registrar of Companies only upon the prior approval of the Legal Council;
- A Lawyers’ Company, which is registered as a private limited liability company is filed with the acronym “LLC” (Lawyers’ Limited Company) instead of the abbreviation “limited”;
- The name of the Lawyers’ Company which is registered in accordance with this Law may appear and be used both in Greek and Latin letters, irrespective of whether it has been registered in Greek or Latin letters with the Registrar of Companies.
Αn advocate who is a shareholder in a Lawyers’ Limited Company (LLC) shall not have, either directly or indirectly, any personal liability or liability of contribution for any debt, liability or obligations of the Lawyers’ Limited Company on the sole grounds of being a shareholder thereof. However, it does not prejudice any liability of a member of the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Limited Company due to his own negligence, nor does it prejudice the disposal of the assets of the Lawyers’ Limited Company to cover its debts, liabilities and/or obligations.
The Legal Council decides on the striking off of a Lawyers’ Company from the Registry of Lawyers’ Companies, if the company ceases to fulfill the requirements described in paragraphs (a) or (b) in the eligibility criteria above, unless the reason for which it ceases to fulfill the requirements is due to the following:
(a) Acquisition of interest for the cases referred to in paragraph (a) and, for the cases referred to in paragraph (b) acquisition of shares, as a result of succession, from a person who is not a practicing lawyer; or
(b) Loss, in any manner, by a partner or member of a company or member of its board of directors, as the case may be, of the capacity of practicing advocate, and provided that the above reasons cease to exist within twelve months from the date on which they arose, in such a manner as to ensure that the Lawyers’ Company continues to fulfill the above mentioned requirements.
The dissolution of a Lawyers’ Company entails de jure its striking off from the Register of Lawyers’ Companies.