Implementation of the Bar reform rests upon false priorities - Valentyn Gvozdiy

Advocacy 13:46 Tue 19.12.17 275 Reviews Print

The Bar reform is being implemented without consultations with UNBA - the only professional organization representing the entire legal community. The reform itself pursues the false priorities.

"There better be a good, justified reason for the destruction of the newly-created and efficiently functioning Bar self-government system," said Valentyn Gvozdiy, Vice-President of UNBA/BCU.

"Unfortunately, we are witnessing the attempt to pull off a pseudo reform of the most important constitutional institution – the Bar, with intent to destroy it. Instead of strengthening the guarantees and protecting the rights of lawyers, by implementing them into the procedural codes, and imposing strict liability for violating these rights, the reformers look forward to liquidation of advocate's self-government and this independence of the profession", - said the Vice-President of UNBA/BCU Valentyn Gvozdiy in his interview to the "ZiB" newspaper.

The situation around preparation of amendments to the law "On the Bar and Practice of Law" remains unchanged, and the opinion of the Bar is still ignored.

"Everyone is well aware of the recent scandal, which shocked both Ukrainian and international legal community. An attempt was made to hide from the lawyers the text of the notorious draft law regulating the profession developed by this group, which allegedly had been drafted, but was not approved or discussed with the advocates themselves, no analysis of UNBA’s was carried out," - said Vice-President of  UNBA/BCU Valentyn Gvozdiy in his interview to the "ZiB" newspaper.

Instead, the ‘new’ version of the law is being forced upon the legal community. The main changes that the draft law will lead to the destruction of advocates’ self-government in Ukraine and the Bar will no longer be an independent institution .

In particular, it is proposed to create 27 independent regional Bar associations instead of one, and strip UNBA/BCU of all powers; the regional chambers will be presided over by one person, who alone will dispose of all the money of the advocates’ self-government in the region. It is envisaged that each region will maintain its own register of advocates. The control over the exam process  will be centralized throughout the country; the right to appeal  decisions of the Higher Disciplinary Commission is narrowed. Disciplinary commissions will become part of the regional chambers themselves. Thus, the commissions will be under the control of these chambers. Finally, the independence of the local Bar self-government is completely limited, as they are deprived of funding.

In addition, somebody tries to drag European institutions into the conflict around the "Bar reform", in particular the Office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine. Two CoE experts prepared a report " Assessment of the Needs of Ukrainian National Bar Association", the content of which does not correspond to the title.

"The true needs of the professional organization of lawyers of Ukraine have not been identified and analyzed. Moreover, implementation of the expert recommendations of experts will lead to the opposite - destruction of the UNBA," warns Valentyn Gvozdiy.

Full text of the interview available at the link.

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