The legal agent is currently only known in the canton of St. Gallen ( Switzerland ) and in the Principality of Liechtenstein (but no new admissions since 1993), in which a person without a law degree is entitled to appear before courts and administrative authorities and, similar to lawyers, to make submissions for their own To carry out mandates and to represent their legal position in order to achieve regular income. As far as the legal agent is entitled to do so by law, he can also advise on legal issues and certify the authenticity of copies and signatures.
The profession of legal agent is also known as "minor legal profession".
The profession of legal agent has been documented in Switzerland since the beginning of the 19th century . However, the profession has only required a permit in Switzerland since the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The approval of legal agents (French: agent d'affaire) to represent parties in Switzerland is the responsibility of the respective canton in which the legal agent is active (if this profession is intended).
The profession of legal agent can, if permitted by the canton, be exercised by taking an examination after several years of practical and theoretical training and the fulfillment of further requirements.
Protection of the designation
According to Swiss cantonal legislation, the term “legal agent” is a protected term that may only be used by persons who are authorized to practice the profession.
The profession of legal agent was first regulated in Liechtenstein in 1943.
The exercise of the profession of legal agent required the approval of the government. Since 1993 it has no longer been possible to practice the profession of legal agent in Liechtenstein. However, existing permits are retained.
According to the Annual Report of the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority 2010, only 4 legal agents are currently licensed or active in Liechtenstein (in 2008 and 2009 there were 5) (see also the Law of 9 December 1992 on Lawyers (Lawyers Act), LGBl 41 / 1993).
Since the entry into force of the Ordinance of the Princely Government of February 27, 1958 on the granting of legal agent licenses, the legal agents had to prove a qualification based on the examination of lawyers in the form of an examination.
The legal agent examination comprised a written paper each from civil, criminal and administrative law and also an oral examination, whereby the applicant had to prove knowledge of the essentials of these areas of law.
Duties and supervision
The activity of legal agents is not subject to commercial law (Art 3 GewG).
In Liechtenstein, legal agents, like lawyers, are subject to the duties of care that apply to them.
Legal agents are also regarded as legal counsel in Liechtenstein's penal system, as are lawyers.
The legal agents who were already registered in 1992 are still authorized to act as the managing director of a trust company (Art 56 TrHG).
Disciplinary authority over legal agents is exercised by the higher court in accordance with the provisions of Articles 31 to 37 (Article 67 RAG).
Protection of professional practice and title
Anyone who carries out an activity in Liechtenstein that is reserved by law for lawyers or legal agents without authorization can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three months or a fine of up to 180 daily rates (Art 63 AOA).
Anyone who uses the professional title “lawyer” or “legal agent” without authorization can be punished with a fine of up to 50,000 francs or a prison sentence of up to six months (Art 62 RAG).
Right to refuse testimony
According to Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the legal agent is exempt from the obligation to submit a testimony before the criminal court about what has been entrusted to him by the principal in his capacity as legal agent.
- Hannes Siegrist: Lawyer, Citizen and State: Social History of Lawyers in Germany, Italy and Switzerland (18th-20th Centuries) . Vittorio Klostermann , Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 978-3-465-02699-0 . , P. 741 ff.
- Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg on the term "Gewerbeagent".
- Liechtenstein financial market, facts and figures on financial intermediaries under the supervision of the FMA, 2011 edition (PDF; 823 kB) on the current number of legal agents in the Principality, p. 28.
- St. Gall's Association of Legal Agents .
- Legal opinion by Ivo Hangartner, Andreas Kley-Struller on the discussion on the abolition of the profession of legal agent (PDF; 917 kB) in the canton of St. Gallen (1991).
- The profession of the patented legal agent according to the new Sanctuary Lawyer Law by Andreas Kley-Struller (PDF; 162 kB), SJZ 91 (1995) No. 23.
- Sometimes previously referred to as "business agent" or "trade agent". For example in the "procedural rules for minor civil disputes and minor corrective and police criminal matters" of December 29, 1865 of the canton of St. Gallen as a business agent (also in the supplementary law of May 26, 1924 to the jurisdiction norm, the civil procedure code and their introductory law (Liechtenstein), LGBl 9/1924). The term “legal agent” was then used in the “Criminal Law on Crimes and Offenses of November 25, 1885” of the Canton of St. Gallen.
- Andreas Kley-Struller in The Profession of the Patented Legal Agent According to the New Sanctuary Lawyer Act , SJZ 91 (1995) No. 23 with reference to Carla Eugster, The Legal Agency in the Cantons of the Swiss Confederation , Dissertation, Zurich / Uster 1938, p. 13 .55; and Alois Fidek, The Professional Law of Lawyers and Legal Agents in the Canton of St. Gallen , Dissertation, Zurich / St. Gallen 1951, p. 27.
- Andreas Kley-Struller in The Profession of the Patented Legal Agent According to the New Sanctuary Lawyer Law , SJZ 91 (1995) No. 23, p. 447.
- Ordinance of the Princely Government of October 13, 1943 regarding the exercise of the professions of lawyer, legal agent, tax advisor, trustee, auditor and similar activities, LGBl 19/1943.
- Facts and figures on financial intermediaries under the supervision of the FMA. 2011 edition . Liechtenstein financial market. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- LGBl 5/1958.
- Basis for this in Art 2 supplementary law of May 26, 1924 to the jurisdiction norm, the code of civil procedure and their introductory law (Liechtenstein), LGBl 9/1924.
- Trade Act of June 22, 2006, LGBl 184/2006.
- Art 3 para. 1 lit. m) of the Act of 11 December 2008 on Professional Due Diligence to Combat Money Laundering, Organized Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (Due Diligence Act; SPG), LGBl 47/2009.
- Art 81 para. 4 Prison Act (StVG) of September 20, 2007, LGBl 295/2007.
- Law of 9 December 1992 on Trustees (Trustee Act), LGBl 42/1993.
- Criminal Procedure Code of October 18, 1988, LGBl 62/1988.