Requirements to Practice Law in Iceland and the three Judicial Levels
Not all lawyers in Iceland are attorneys. Only licensed attorneys are allowed to perform oral presentations before the courts. Lawyers without attorney licenses can act as deputies for attorneys in some instances.
In order to become an attorney and practice law in Iceland one must have completed legal studies with a final examination or a master's examination from the legal faculty of a university recognized in Iceland in accordance with the Higher Education Act.
In addition, the title of district court attorney can only be granted to persons who fulfill the following conditions:
- Is of legal age and mentally fit enough to perform the duties of a lawyer,
- Has never had his estate taken into bankruptcy,
- Has never received a prison sentence for a criminal act committed after reaching the age of 18, and
- Passes the Bar Exam.
A further license is needed in order to be allowed to present cases before the Appeal Court (Landsréttur) and another for presenting cases before the Supreme Court (Hæstiréttur).
Judicial Levels in Iceland
There are eight district courts. Together they form the lowest judicial level. All attorneys are allowed to appear before the district courts.
Landsréttur is the mid-judicial level and is a court of appeal. Only attorneys who have been licensed to appear before the Appeal Court or the Supreme Court are allowed to appear before the Appeal Court.
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial power, and its decisions set precedents. Only attorneys who have been licensed to appear before the Supreme Court are allowed to do so.