Regulation on Attorneys at Law
In Hungary lawyers providing legal representation for their clients are called attorneys. The basic legal source about the activity of attorneys and the attorney-client relationships is the Act XI of 1998 on Attorneys at Law.
Activities of Attorneys at Law in Hungary
There are some services which may be provided exclusively by attorneys, in case the services are provided regularly and in return for consideration. These activities are:
a) representation of clients,
b) providing defense in criminal cases,
c) providing legal counsel,
d) preparation of contracts, petitions,
e) holding valuables in connection with the above activities.
Besides these, attorneys are allowed to do other activities not exclusively done by lawyers such as tax consultancy, real estate agency, patent agency etc.
Basic principles of the activities performed by Attorneys
Attorneys shall act freely and independently when performing a service. An important and common rule is that an attorney is bound by confidentiality with regard to every fact about which he gains knowledge in the course of carrying out his professional duties.
The self governing public body of attorneys is called the bar or bar association which operate in every county of Hungary. The association of these bars is the Hungarian Bar Association. Among other duties the bar association is responsible for administrating disciplinary cases.
Legal responsibility of Attorneys at Law
Attorneys shall be liable for making reimbursement for any damage caused within the realm of their practice. In connection with this rule an attorney must take out a liability insurance policy for compensating damages, and such policy must be active for the duration of the attorney’s legal activity.
Agency agreement and Power of Attorney
Key documents of the attorney-client relationship are the assignment agreement and the Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney authorizes the attorney to perform every act that is entailed in properly handling the assigned case and thus even to receiving documents, money and other valuables.
Countersignature of documents
Attorneys are entitled to countersign contracts and other types of legal documents. By countersigning a document, an attorney confirms that the document conforms to legal regulations and the expressed wishes of the parties and the party indicated in the document signed the document in his presence.
An attorney may only countersign a document that has been created by himself or with the cooperation of his firm.