UNBA informed CCBE about risks of liquidation of Bar self-government in Ukraine

Advocacy 22:52 Thu 08.02.18 339 Reviews Print

UNBA informed CCBE about the risks of the demolition of the Bar self-government as a result of adoption of amendments to the law "On the Bar and Practice of Law", developed by the WorkGroup at the Council for Judicial Reform.

On February 8, in Vienna, UNBA/BCU Vice-President Valentyn Gvozdiy, Chair of the Higher Audit Commission of the Bar Maxim Boldin, and the CCBE Third Vice-President Dr Margarete Graefin von Galen had a meeting.

Ukrainian delegation informed Graefin von Galen on the progress of the preparation of amendments to the current law on the Bar in Ukraine and numerous risks that may lead to elimination independent system of Bar self-government. Despite the fact that since the adoption of the law in 2012 an effective system of national and regional Bar self-government was established, a package of amendments, unjustifified from the Bar needs standpoint is on the table.

Valentin Gvozdiy said that, alternatively, UNBA provided Council for Judicial Reform with its own version of amendments to the current law, approved by the legal community. The document provides for evolutionary changes in advocates’ self-government, which will strengthen the institutional capacity of a single national professional organization. UNBA Vice-President emphasized that without a strong self-governing organization, it will not be possible to protect rights of advocates effectively and they will remain largely declarative.

On her part, Graefin von Galen, CCBE Third Vice-President, assured that UNBA will continue to receive systematic institutional support from the largest professional organization of lawyers in Europe. CCBE understands the need for such support in current circumstances and in no way approves of changes to national legislation that weaken the status of advocacy as a self-governing and self-regulating institution.

CCBE is ready to conduct its own assessment of such legislative initiatives in response to a request from UNBA. CCBE is also ready to inform Verkhovna Rada of the negative consequences of the adoption of the draft law, should it find its way to the parliament.

The third vice president of CCBE assured that the process of preparing amendments to the law on the Bar is under the close watch of the European legal community and every stage of the reform will be duly appreciated by European colleagues.

During the meeting, it was noted that since the adoption of the law, Ukrainian lawyers have become a history of success in implementing European principles of the Bar organization.

It was emphasized that the 2012 law fully complies with the standards of the Council of Europe and provides a democratic approach to formation and operation of Bar self-government, provides for a balance of powers between the center and regions and a stable system of checks.

On February 9, Valentin Gvozdy will present the situation in Vienna during a speech at the 46th European Presidents’ Conference in Vienna, Austria, with more than 200 participants from all parts of Europe but also representatives of international lawyers’ organizations.

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