The contents of the draft law 9055 are inconsistent with international standards and democratic procedures for the implementation of reforms

Advocacy 18:00 Fri 07.09.18 56 Reviews Print

On September 7, the Bar Council of Ukraine created a working group for the analysis of the draft law 9055 “On the Bar and Practice of Law”, submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by the President of Ukraine on September 6, 2018. Consideration of this draft law is determined by the President as urgent.

In accordance with the assessment of the working group, the contents of the draft law 9055 are inconsistent with international standards and democratic procedures for the implementation of reforms. In fact, it is proposed to introduce a federal model for the bar that does not meet the contemporary needs of the human and citizen rights protection.

The position of the BCU is that inherently any changes to the specific legislation should ensure further approximation of the bar to European standards. Priority in this process should be strengthening the protection of the rights of advocates and guarantees to practice law. It is not only a matter of professional interest, but also a matter of protection of the rights of citizens and functioning of Ukraine as a country with the rule of law.

Unfortunately, the draft law 9055 submitted to the Parliament may lead to erroneous or evidently harmful legal experiments, creating chaos in the legal regulation of the practice of law, largely servicing the clandestine needs of certain individuals.

The proposed draft law 9055 contains the threat of destruction of institutional guarantees of the independence of the bar — bar self-government and self-regulation of the profession. Essentially, the bar is being wound 30 years back in its development.

The draft law 9055 eliminates European standards, including standards of an independent bar self-government. BCU believes that the adoption of the draft law 9055 would contradict the general logic of the European course of the country, numerous international instruments and, ultimately, the Strategy for reforming the judiciary, justice and related legal institutions, approved by Presidential Decree No. 276 dated May 20, 2015.

The draft law submitted to the Parliament will, if adopted, start an uncontrollable, full of abuse process of mass registration of regional chambers as new legal entities. It creates the grounds for cloning such organizations: countless pseudoadvocates' organizations will be created in the regions. And this is just one of the many risks that are inherent in the text of the draft law.

Badly thought-through provisions of the draft law 9055 in part of the bar self-government can become a grave mistake for the entire reform of the bar. Indeed, without strong, self-sufficient and stable self-government the advocates' rights will remain declarative. The institution, capable of defending each and every individual, would simply become non-existent.

A significant disadvantage of the draft law 9055 is that there are many corruption risks. The draft law 9055 is full of contradictions between different articles, terminological uncertainties, value judgments, especially in terms of regulating access to the practice and holding advocates disciplinarily liable and the allocation of legal fees. We are convinced that such things are unacceptable, because the anti-corruption component should be mandatory for each stage of the judicial reform.

The committed position of the UNBA is that the draft law 9055 needs to be assessed by the Venice Commission. Supporting the need for transparent and professional reform of the bar, the UNBA stands against the manipulation of European assessments and the clandestine attempts to return the bar under the control of the government.

The UNBA has prepared an alternative draft law based on the proposals that were presented by the bar communities all over Ukraine. The basis of the UNBA's draft law contains real problematique of the practice of law, the practical needs of advocates and the experience in the development of bar self-government, the practices of the ECHR, the key international documents on the organization of the bar institution.

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