The draft law 9055 restricts the rights of advocates and undermines the protection of people — Lidiia Izovitova

Advocacy 11:22 Sat 08.09.18 36 Reviews Print

Submitted by the President of Ukraine the draft law 9055 “On the Bar and Practice of Law” restricts the rights of advocates and undermines their ability to protect people.

This was stated by the President of UNBA, BCU Lidiia Izovitova during a speech at the seminar on professional development for advocates in Kherson region.

The draft law was developed by the Judicial Reform Council, which did not include representatives of UNBA.

Thus, the developers of this project had violated Ukraine's obligations before the Council of Europe and violated the terms and conditions of the agreement on Association with the EU, as the draft law on the bar was developed without the participation of professional legal organisations”, said Lidiia Izovitova.

In content, the draft law bears significant threats of narrowing the professional rights of advocates. In particular, the extended notion of the advocate's request is leveled down by the possibilities of refusals in the responses to these requests. The draft law provides for the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code that would allow the court to determine abuse of the procedural rights by the parties. The possibility of violations in case of suspicion of special subjects has been expanded.

We are talking about restricting the rights of advocates and about the destruction of people's rights, because in court we don't represent ourselves, but protect the rights and interests of citizens. This is an attack on human rights, it is a violation of constitutional norms, the ECHR practices and decisions of the Constitutional Court”, said Lidiia Izovitova.

The draft law allows the investigator or the prosecutor to bring an advocate from the free legal aid system at their own discretion, who will operate in parallel with an advocate under contract. This negates the right to free choice of defender and turns advocates into mere underparts.

In the part of the bar self-government, the draft law provides for the liquidation of existing bar self-government bodies as legal entities and the establishment of new bodies according to another model. Moreover, the advocates' conferences are held in the format of general meetings of advocates in the region.“ In a region with 5 thousand advocates, these meetings can only be held at the stadium. With that, the draft law proposes to adopt decision by secret ballot. We already have cloned structures in Kyiv, which conduct parallel conferences, and they are said to be legitimate. We expect that large regions will have both parallel conferences and parallel bar self-government bodies, which will be busy trying to find out which is the one legitimate. This is called the destruction of the bar self-government,” said Lidiia Izovitova.

She stated that on September 7, the Bar Council of Ukraine received a statement about the draft law 9055 and notified the presidence of the Verkhovna Rada, the parliamentary factions and relevant parliamentary committees, and international organizations regarding the main threats of the proposed reform option.

Overall, the seminar was attended by nearly 150 advocates from Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Cherkasy regions.

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