The Legal Profession in Croatia

The Croatian Bar Association (Hrvatska odvjetnička komora) represents attorneys-at-law as part of the legal profession of the entire Republic of Croatia. All attorneys must be members of the Bar Association. It is an independent organization with the capacity of a legal person.

It is important to mention that here the term "attorney" is used in the meaning of an attorney-at-law (Odvjetnik) for the purpose of simplifying terminology.

The independence of the Bar Association is obvious from the fact that it independently sets its tarrif which is the price list of legal services in Croatia.

The Croatian Bar Association has its headquarters in Zagreb, Koturaska c. No. 53, tel. (++385 1) 6171 270, fax (++385 1) 6170 686.


The Attorneys' Code of Ethics - KODEKS ODVJETNICKE ETIKE was passed by the Assembly of the Bar Association. The Attorneys' Code of Ethics, starting from the basic values of society, establishes the set of principles and rules that attorneys and law clerks are obliged to follow when practising law. The Code of Ethics follows solutions and opinions in accordance with civil law tradition.

The Bar Association maintains a list of attorneys and law trainees, as well as directories of joint law offices and law firms and other records established by the Law or the by-laws of the Bar Association. These lists are public books. Excerpts from the lists and other registers kept by the Bar Association, as well as the notifications issued on the basis of the data from such registers, are public documents.

The Bar Association is obliged to publish its final decisions regarding the entry or removal of attorneys' names from the list or directory in the Official Gazette 'NARODNE NOVINE'.

The Autonomy and Independence of the Legal Profession in Croatia

The Autonomy and Independence of the Legal Profession in Croatia will primarily be achieved by:

- the autonomous and independent functioning of the legal profession as a free activity,

- organizing the legal profession within the Croatian Bar Association (hereinafter called the Bar Association) as an independent association of attorneys in the territory of the Republic of Croatia,

- adopting the by-laws and other enactments of the Bar Association,

- decision-making regarding the acquisition and termination of the right to practise law.

Attorneys are entitled to offer all types of legal assistance and they shall in particular:

- give legal advice,

- draft documents (contracts, wills, statements, etc.),

- draw up claims, complaints, motions, requests, extraordinary legal remedies and other pleadings,

- represent their clients.

The obligation of the attorney is to perform his or her legal practice regularly and effectively. An attorney is not allowed to perform activities that are contrary to the reputation and independence of the legal profession. If not otherwise determined by the Law, only attorneys are allowed to offer professional legal assistance. The most important exception to this rule is that Professors and Assistant Professors teaching legal subjects at universities in the Republic of Croatia are allowed to give legal advice and opinions. They are not authorized to give any other form of legal assistance. This legal advice and these legal opinions do not include the drafting of documents (contracts, wills, statements, etc.) or claims, complaints, motions, requests, extraordinary legal remedies and other pleadings.

Attorneys are obliged to provide legal assistance conscientiously and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and the Law, the by-laws and other enactments of the Bar Association, as well as in accordance with the Attorneys' Code of Ethics.

Attorneys have the right and duty, within the bounds of the Law and the given authority, to undertake any action that in their judgement is beneficial to the client.

In the representation of a client, An attorney may be substituted by another attorney and also, under the conditions stipulated by the Law, by a law trainee working in the same law office or in the law office of the substituting attorney.

An attorney is obliged to provide legal assistance to any client who asks for it, and is allowed to decline to provide it only for the reasons specified by the Law, the by-laws of the Bar Association and the Attorneys' Code of Ethics. An attorney is obliged to decline to provide legal assistance if:


- he or she or any other attorney working or having worked in the same law office and on the same case or the cases connected with it represented the adverse party or both parties, gave them legal advice or received instruction from them,

- he or she worked on the same matter or a matter legally connected with it as a law trainee for the attorney who represented the adverse party,

- he or she worked on the same matter or a matter connected with it as a judge or public attorney or an official in an administrative or other action,

- he or she worked on other cases regulated by the Law, the by-laws of the Bar Association and the Attorneys' Code of Ethics.

An attorney who is authorized by the Bar Association to offer specialized legal assistance may decline to provide it if it does not fall within his or her specialisation.

Every deposition or document drafted by the attorney must be signed and sealed with the seal of the law office. If the attorney practises law within a Law Firm, in addition to the seal of the Law Firm, a personal seal must also be affixed.

The attorney must, in accordance with the Law, keep confidential as the attorney's secret anything that his or her client has entrusted to him or her or that he or she has discovered in the course of the representation of the client.

The attorney's secret should also be preserved by other persons who work or have worked in the law office.

Government bodies and legal and natural persons possessing public authority are obliged to provide the attorney with the data necessary for the execution of his or her legal service in a particular case, unless it is contrary to the obligation to keep an official or professional secret.

An attorney is not criminally liable for his or her legal opinion expressed while providing legal assistance in proceedings before a court or other state authority bodies. The search of An attorney and his law office may only be ordered by a competent court if all the conditions stipulated by the Criminal Procedure Act have previously been fulfilled.

An attorney is entitled to a fee for his or her legal services and to compensation of the costs incurred in connection with his or her work, according to the set rate established by the Association. The fee for public defence is established by the Ministry of Justice. The fee rate is published in the official gazette "NARODNE NOVINE" No. 69/93, 87/93, 16/94, 11/96.

In property-rights relations, attorneys are allowed to agree with their clients on remuneration for their work relative to their achievements in the proceedings and for legal services performed for the client according to the set rate for legal service. The upper limit of the percentage for the agreed remuneration is 30%. This pactum de quota litis contract must be concluded in written form.

For costs and unresolved remuneration settlement, the attorney may reimburse himself or herself from the cash that his or her client has deposited with him or her, or that he or she has received or charged, unless otherwise agreed between the attorney and the client. In that case, the attorney shall be responsible for settling accounts with the client without delay.

An attorney is obliged to be insured against liability for damage her or she may cause to third parties when practising law. The liability insurance contract for attorneys who are members of a Law Firm and who work in it are made by the Law Firm. The insurance conditions may provide for the damage to be covered directly by the attorney up to a certain amount.

An attorney may request recognition of his or her particular knowledge of a legal branch, such as trade law, international trade law, patent law, etc. The request for the recognition of specialisation shall be considered by a separate body of the Bar Association. An attorney shall be considered to have fulfilled the conditions for the recognition of a specialisation if he or she has for at least five (5) years successfully worked on legal matters in the field for which he or she seeks the recognition of specialisation or if his or her work on the basis of which he or she has received the scientific title of Master's Degree or Doctor's Degree in Law or if his or her other published works have made a significant contribution to the advancement of legal science or practice.