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The CCBE identity card was created in 1978. The CCBE produces the card, but does not issue it to the individual lawyer. The card is delivered to the national bar or to the national, regional or local professional authority, according to the conditions fixed in each country, which then issues it to lawyers registered with it, according to requests received by it.

Although the CCBE produces the cards, the national bar or law society is the issuing authority in the CCBE’s name. The national bar or law society should ensure that proper verification procedures have been followed to establish that the applicant is a lawyer currently authorised and registered with it.

The card facilitates access to courts and institutions for lawyers active outside their home jurisdiction. It identifies the card holder in the official languages of the CCBE, as an admitted lawyer in the country concerned.

The card is also recognised by the European Court of Justice and Court of First Instance.

There is a second version of the identity card. This version is plastic and is the same size as a credit card. Although designed by the CCBE, this card is produced by the national bars under a licensing agreement between the CCBE and the national bar. The plastic version contains much of the same information as the paper version. There is also an optional provision for a chip and a magnetic strip. The numbering sequence of the card must begin with a prefix obtained from the CCBE Secretariat. The plastic version of the card contains three languages – English, French and the language of the issuing bar.