Germany's lawyers to get revamped code of conduct

German lawyers get a new code of conduct next month – nearly a decade after the German Constitutional Court declared the then code of conduct for German lawyers void.

The new rules will allow advertising under certain conditions and will implement the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) code of conduct into German law. Germany is the last CCBE country to adopt its code.

The German code will set out specialist practice areas in addition to the designated specialisms of administrative law, tax, social law and labour. Criminal lawyers will be able to call themselves specialists if they have done 60 cases in the field and family practitioners if they have done 120. They will also have to attend specialist seminars for at least 120 hours.

The decision in 1987 to declare void the code of conduct for German lawyers arose because the German Federal Bar did not have the formal power to draw up such rules. The law was changed in 1994 and a lawyers' parliament was set up last year to draft the new code.

Heike Lorcher, the German Federal Bar Representative in Brussels, said: “Although German lawyers have managed well without the code of conduct for the past 10 years, I think it is a progressive move.

“It is good that it has been drawn up by lawyers because it supports the self-regulation process.”

The new code is expected to come into force early next year.