Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: A502-1384/2010
    • Member State: Lithuania
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Supreme court decision
    • Decision date: 18/11/2010
    • Court: Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Vilnius)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: UAB „Tikroji turto kaina"
    • Defendant: Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania
    • Keywords: black list
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Annex I, 4.
  • Headnote
    Advertising the offering of services for which a license is mandatory, and where the trader does not hold such a license, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.
  • Facts
    Through flyers and regional newspapers the plaintiff publicised advertisements promoting legal services stating “The services of the best divorce attorneys”, “The best divorce lawyers” “Especially qualified and cheap attorney services”, “The world champions of the divorce – divorce in 3 days” and “Prompt adjudgement of maintenance from debtor”, although it only hired attorneys to provide legal services including representation in courts.

    The defendant concluded that the statements regarding attorneys and representation services constituted misleading advertising and unfair commercial practices because the plaintiff as a company had no right to provide the services offered by attorneys and could not legally represent clients before the courts. The defendant imposed a fine of LTL 11,500 (EUR 3,295) on the plaintiff.

    The plaintiff appealed against the defendant’s decision before Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. The court rejected the appeal and the Plaintiff further appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania.

  • Legal issue
    First, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania stated that the plaintiff was advertising attorney services by expressly using the word "attorney", as well as by referencing to a representation of clients before courts. The court noted that attorney services can only be provided by natural persons holding attorney licenses. Although attorneys can establish a legal person, i.e. a professional partnership of attorneys, the plaintiff was not such a company.

    Consequently, the court concluded that the plaintiff advertised licensed attorney services although it did not have the necessary attorney license. It was held that such plaintiff’s advertising violates the provision of the unfair commercial practices black list prohibiting false claiming that a trader has been granted a license. As the misleading advertising regulation provides that advertising shall be in all circumstances considered misleading if it falls within the blacklist of the unfair commercial practices, the advertising was held misleading.

  • Decision

    Does the advertising of offering services for which a license is mandatory, and where the trader does not hold such license, constitute an unfair commercial practice?


    Full text: Full text

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  • Result
    The Plaintiff’s appeal was dismissed. The decisions of the defendant and Vilnius Regional Administrative Court remained unchanged.