How Do Expats Find a Good Lawyer?

Life doesn’t stop for expats – they still face the same problems as the rest of us and sometimes need the help of a good lawyer.

But finding legal representation abroad is complicated when you are not familiar with a country’s laws or legal system.

So how do expats find the best lawyer?

For British expats, the first place to look is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The government department has a huge list of English-speaking lawyers in dozens of countries.

The list is regularly updated.

List of English speaking lawyers

The information includes contact details, areas of expertise and links to web sites.

“Our lists are not recommendations and should not be treated as such,” says the FCO web site.

Expats need legal advice for a range of life events – ranging from divorce, personal injury claims and pursuing debts to mounting a defence in criminal courts.

Besides the Foreign Office, most countries have online databases of lawyers, but these may not indicate if they speak English.

Referrals from other expats who have experienced the same problems can also be useful.

Choosing a lawyer is just like selecting any other professional service.

Questions to ask

You need to ask the candidates on your list a few questions to establish if they are right for you:

  • Availability – Do they have the time and other resources to handle your case? Check out their case load and diary commitments, such as holidays.
  • Qualifications and experience – You want a lawyer who regularly takes on cases like yours, after all a property conveyancer is not likely to mount a good criminal defence.
  • Legal costs – Expats are unlikely to qualify for legal aid or pro bono help, so ask lawyers about the likely costs from the start and work out how you will pay for them – plus all the extra court costs that are involved
  • Language and law – It’s imperative the lawyer speaks the same language as the court conducts business in. For instance, cases in Dubai are conducted in Arabic. The lawyer should also understand the local legal system – including Sharia’h Law in Muslim countries.

It’s a good idea to meet your lawyer to discuss the case prior to instruction to put your mind at rest about these points.

The first consultation is generally free and lasts around 30 minutes.

You can get a feel of the lawyer and their firm from this meeting.

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1 thought on “How Do Expats Find a Good Lawyer?”

  1. Dear All,

    I am looking for a Lawyer with finance expertise.

    In June this year I was scammed online by a Crypto trading company in Uk,

    In August this year I signed an agreement with a recovery company in UK that in case of recovery they would pay me first before I could pay
    their fee. There was written no specificity of the type of account required in order TO RECEIVE MY MONEY but I did clarify I would not be able to pay anything in advance and they accepted it in writing that.

    The company claims that since last week they have recovered my funds together with the funds of the other victims.
    Meanwhile the others victims could adhere to the company unexpected request to open a Numbered account ( deposit EUR 5000)
    I could not do that for financial reason plus I did not want to do that as I was worried to be scammed again.

    I offered two alternative Bank accounts but the recovery company refused demanding the Numbered account.

    According to the agreement we have signed ,the UK company PRIME RECOVERY .org – is obliged to provide my money back after recovering , therefore I want to discuss the possibility to sue this company in order to have my money .

    We are talking about an important amount of money , it is over Euro 300.000 .

    Can you please refer me to an expert to assist me ?


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