Solicitors governing body: Kosovo Chamber of Advocates
Competition authority: Kosovo Competition Authority
Financial regulator: Banka Qendrore e Republikës së Kosovës (BQK)
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Since independence in 2008, Kosovo’s legal system has been made up of three distinct parts. The Kosovo Assembly has drafted and introduced a host of new laws in an effort to build a new system from the ground up. This process is still underway and while a new structure has begun to take shape, there is still a lot of work to be done. As a result there remain gaps in the new legislature where the old laws of the former Yugoslavia still apply. While from the outside this may seem to be an awkward system, it does create a useful overlap between advice that is given in Kosovo and that provided in other states of the former republic. The third area of the law, which does not impact too much on the financial and corporate space, is the legislation passed down from the UN during and directly after the Balkans conflict.
One fault with the system is that in certain cases the new laws introduced by the Assembly do not correlate with the economic realities on the ground. The Assembly, with one eye on future membership, has taken substantial steps to ensure that its new legislation closely matches existing EU structures, however while this creates synchronicity it does not take into account that the Kosovan economy is not as mature and developed as those for which EU legislation was originally drafted. This creates a situation where in certain cases, levels, rates, caps and other statistical limits are set at impractical levels.
This issue is exacerbated by the lack of precedents and a coherent structure at grass roots level and the fact that the country, having grabbed independence, has looked to make a clean break from its Yugoslav past and in the process has bypassed the gradual path of evolution that legal systems need to be successful.
Clients also point out that when choosing a law firm it is vital to take into account that they will have to coordinate and negotiate effectively with the numerous NGOs and government organisations that have a say in licensing, contracts and disputes.
All local lawyers must be registered with the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates, and one of the conditions for registration is Kosovan citizenship. The other key restriction is that law firms can only maintain one office, though considering Pristina is the primary business centre in the country, this restriction is not a practical problem.
When it comes to the legal market itself, the number of firms who can provide transactional advice remains small, as evidenced by our ranking table. Before the mid-2000s the profession of financial and corporate law advice was limited, with most lawyers in the country focused on litigation. Since independence the market has opened up and the quality of advice has improved. Apart from Kosovan domestic firms the only other market participants are a handful of Albanian firms and Wolf Theiss, which while not handling local law matters has a dedicated Kosovan desk.
Boga & Associates is one of the top firms in Kosovo and active across a range of practice areas.
In banking the firm often advises international financial institutions as lenders on to local businesses and it was active in this capacity during the research period.
During the research period the firm secured a number of mandates from Turkish companies, advising on privatisation and project work in Kosovo.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•KEP Trust €2 million financing
•Kreditimi Rural I Kosoves €4 million financing
"The firm was professional, responsive, met the deadlines and showed mastery of the local law." - M&A
Ibrahimiga Shita & Associates is active in various types of transactions generally.
Recently the firm has been active on renewable energy project developments, advising developers.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Kosova e Re 500MW power plant
•Kujtesa €18 million financing
•Selaci 105MW wind farm
Pallaska & Partners is a commercial firm advising across the spectrum of financial and corporate work.
The firm often advises international financial institutions on inbound financings to local borrowers. It is also known for regulatory work and has provided counsel to local banks on the introduction of new products.
M&A is an active area for the firm. It advises on a mix of buy and sell side clients and has experience on deals in sectors including mining, gas and renewable sector.
"The work was timely and of very good quality. We appreciated the extra advice given to us on the recognition of judgements in Kosovo. They were proactive and understood our needs without precise instructions." – Banking
"Their strengths are knowledge, effective communication and proven results." – Banking
"The law firm is highly professional and competent; it is oriented toward providing various alternative solutions based on their profound research of the subject matter." – Banking
"We rely and trust this law firm very much. We are working with them on all our big cases." – M&A
"The law firm is quick to respond and provides constructive and efficient solutions." – M&A
"Great overall support and very responsive team with good legal solutions." – Project development
"Advice to-date has been clear, thorough and provided in a timely manner. Dastid, our main contact at the firm, has been responsive and extremely helpful." – Project development
Wolf Theiss Kosovo team – run from its Vienna and Tirana offices – is led by Christian Mikosch and Sokol Nako. The team largely advises foreign clients on cross border deals into Kosovo.
During the research period the firm has been mandated to advise on joint venture and restructuring work.
Recent Deal Data highlights
•Future Energy Trading and Exchange / Dynamics 240K joint venture