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HOME > About the JFBA > The Japanese Judicial System > Information for Registered foreign lawyer > Information on ABS and Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi

Information on ABS and Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi

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Amendments to the “Basic Rules of Duties of Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi” and the “Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members” will become effective as of April 1, 2018


[1 Summary of Amendments]
Since around 2011, ABS (Alternative Business Structure), a type of law firm that allows non-lawyers to own or hold voting rights, has been authorized in other jurisdictions.  The United Kingdom is one of such jurisdictions.
In Japan, bengoshi (attorneys) are not permitted to share fees with non-lawyers and this rule applies equally to gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi (registered foreign attorneys) and when a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi who belongs to an ABS outside of Japan handles legal services in Japan, it may constitute a violation of such rule.
Under the amended JFBA Rules stated above, when registering as a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi, foreign lawyers will be prohibited from belonging to Investment-type ABS in foreign jurisdictions. As for MDP (Multi-Disciplinary Practice) type law firms, foreign lawyers will only be permitted to belong to an MDP which satisfies certain specified conditions. The present amendments will come into force as of April 1, 2018.


* 1 Investment-type ABS (a law firm that allows non-lawyers who do not participate in the services provided by such law firm to hold an equity interest)
* 2 MDP-type law firms (a law firm that allows other non-lawyer professionals who provide services offered by such firm to hold an equity interest)


[Reference Material]
Old and New Provisions Comparison after Partial Amendment of the Basic Rules for Duties of Gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi (PDF File;49KB)
The Basic Rules for Duties of Gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi (PDF File;162KB)
Old and New Provisions Comparison after Partial Amendment of the Basic Rules concerning Foreign Special Members (PDF File;53KB)
The Basic Rules concerning Foreign Special Members (PDF File;164KB)


[Changes Under the Amendment]

● Restrictions are related to foreign law firms to which a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi belongs.

A gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi shall not be permitted to provide legal services in Japan as a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi while belonging to an Investment-type ABS. Belonging to an MDP-type law firm in a foreign jurisdiction shall only be permitted with respect to an MDP that satisfies certain specified conditions.


● A person who is expected to be newly registered as a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi on or after April 1, 2018, and who will continue to belong to a law firm in a foreign jurisdiction after registration, shall be required to register the matters and submit the documents set forth in the box below at the time of such registration, in addition to the matters currently requested for registration.


● A person who is already registered as a gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi and belongs to a law firm in a foreign jurisdiction will be required to register the matters set forth in the box below concerning such foreign law firm in the Roll of Registered Foreign Lawyers by submitting a report on the change of the registered matters, accompanied by the required documents, within two (2) weeks from April 1, 2018. as of April 1, 2018


Matters to be Registered

(1) Name of the law firm in foreign jurisdiction to which the gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi belongs
(2) Country and address of the law firm to which the gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi belongs


Documents to be Attached

Documents Required under Article11-4 of Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members (Form9-1(Japanese)(Word File;32KB)), Form9-2(Japanese) (Word File;41KB))
[Reference] Documents Required under Article11-4 of Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members (Form9-1(English)(Word File;31KB), Form9-2(English) (Excel File;66KB))


● If a registered gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi already belongs to a foreign law firm which falls under the definition of “prohibited entity” under Article 11-2 of the Basic Rules for Duties of Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi, such gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi shall be exempted from submission of the documents set forth in the above for one year from the date on which the amendments come into force.


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【2 Consultation (Foreign lawyers who intend to apply for qualification to become GJB with the Ministry of Justice)】

〇 If the foreign entity to which you belong is in any of the jurisdiction specified in the blue box in the above chart, no prior consultation is necessary.  Please submit the documents (Form 9-1, Form 9-2) set forth in Article 11-4 of the Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members together with the registration application.

〇 If the foreign entity to which you belong is not in any of the jurisdictions specified in the blue box in the above chart, prior consultation with the JFBA is recommended.  Please submit drafts of the documents set forth in Article 11-4 of the Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members together with the application for prior consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF File;262KB)
Application for Prior Consultation (Word Document Attached) *Only available in Japanese (Word File;40KB)
→Forms (Click here) * Linked to Japanese page


【3 Consultation (GJB)】
〇 If the foreign entity to which you belong is in any of the jurisdictions specified in the blue box in the above chart, no prior consultation is necessary.  Please submit the documents (Form 9-1, Form 9-2) set forth in Article 11-4 of the Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members together with the notice of change of registered matters of GJB within two weeks from April 1, 2018.

〇 If the foreign entity to which you belong is not in any of the jurisdictions specified in the blue box in the above chart, prior consultation with the JFBA is recommended.  Please submit drafts of the documents set forth in Article 11-4 of the Basic Rules Concerning Foreign Special Members together with the application for prior consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF File;262KB)
Application for Prior Consultation (Word Document Attached) *Only available in Japanese (Word File;40KB)
→Forms (Click here) * Linked to Japanese page
  

【4 Sample of Document Certifying the Pledged Matters】
New York, U.S.A. (PDF) (PDF File;2.8MB)
California, U.S.A. (PDF) (PDF File;2.3MB)
Great Britain (PDF)  (PDF File;3.3MB)
Republic of Germany (PDF) (PDF File;3.3MB)

* Samples are examples of filled in Forms.  Please make sure to confirm the most recent laws and regulations of the jurisdiction of the foreign entity to which you belong regarding the applicable laws and regulations prior to submitting the documents.