On July 22, 2003, the Government issued Decree 87/2003/ND-CP stipulating the practice of profession by foreign lawyers and lawyers organization.
Accordingly, foreign organizations practising lawyer’s profession in Vietnam may provide legal consultancy services and other legal services, but shall not permitted to appoint their lawyers to participate in the legal procedure in their capacity as defenders or representatives for client before Vietnamese law court.
Foreign organizations practising lawyer’s profession in Vietnam may provide Vietnamese law consultancy services in case where they hire Vietnamese lawyers to practise profession for their organization or hire foreign lawyer(s) from organizations practising lawyer’s profession provided that the foreign lawyers hold a degree of Vietnamese law university and satisfy the requirements with respect to a Vietnamese lawyer.
Foreign lawyers organizations may establish and practise their profession in the form of: (i) a branch of the foreign lawyers organization; (ii) a foreign law firm; and law partnership company [between a foreign lawyers organization and Vietnamese law partnership company]
The branch is an affiliate entity of the foreign lawyers organization, which is established in accordance with the prevailing regulations and shall have unlimited liability for their operations before the Vietnamese law. The director of the branch may be a Vietnamese lawyer or a foreign lawyer.
The foreign law firm is an organizations practising lawyer’s profession, which is established by one or more foreign lawyers organization in Vietnam in accordance with the prevailing regulations. The foreign law firm shall have unlimited liability with respect to its operations before the Vietnamese law. The director of a foreign law firm company may be foreign lawyer or Vietnamese lawyer.
In order to practise their profession, foreign lawyers must obtain a permit on practising profession from the Ministry of Justice. The term of a permit on practising profession shall be 5 years and shall be extended repeatedly and this permit shall replace the working permit as required by regulations on issuance of working permits to foreigners working in Vietnam.
This Decree shall replace Decree 92/1998/ND-CP dated November 10, 1998 on practising legal consultancy profession by foreign lawyers organizations in Vietnam. The permit on establishment of branch by foreign lawyers organization, which is issued by the Ministry of Justice under Decree 92/1998/ND-CP, shall still remain effective as long as the term of this permit is expired. After expiry of the permit, the branch must renew the permit if it still wish to operate.
Foreign lawyers that the Ministry of Justice permits to practise their profession under Decree 92/1998/ND-CP may still practise their profession, but within 30 days as from the date on which Decree 87/2003/ND-CP enters into effect, they must apply for a permit on practising profession in accordance with this Decree.
[Sao Viet Legal Consultants]