Introduction of the alternative draft laws on advocacy is a logical step towards a real reform – says the BCU resolution
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The introduction by public deputies of Ukraine of alternative draft laws under No. 9055-1 and No. 9055-2 is a logical step of the legislators towards the implementation of a real reform of advocacy in an equal dialogue with a 40,000-strong professional community.
This is stated in the resolution of the Bar Council of Ukraine (the “BCU”), adopted during the extraordinary meeting on September 25, 2018.
The BCU, as the supreme body of the bar self-government, supports these draft laws as those which reflect the position of the bar community, namely, proposals for changes to the relevant laws, which were discussed at regional conferences of advocates, supported and approved by the Congresses of Advocates of Ukraine held in 2014 (extraordinary) and 2015.
"In the next two and a half years, the initiative to develop changes to the relevant legislation was lost by the advocacy different as well as political reasons. However, at the stage of a decision-making, democracy and transparency of the reform of the constitutional institute of advocacy must be strictly adhered to”, - states the BCU.
The position of the BCU is that, in its content, any changes to the relevant legislation should guarantee further approximation of advocacy to European standards. The priority in this process should be to strengthen the protection of advocates’ professional rights and guarantees to practice law.
According to the BCU estimates, draft laws No. 9055-1 and 9055-2 address the key challenges and risks faced by advocacy in recent years, as well as facilitate the introduction into the legislation of changes to the Constitution of Ukraine in the area of justice from 2016. In particular, draft laws envisage strengthening of advocates’ professional rights and guarantees to practice law and mechanisms of liability for their violations. Also they take into account the need to consolidate the independence of the institute of advocacy through institutional guarantees of the bar self-government and its financial self-sufficiency.
Draft laws address issues of access to the profession, taking into account constitutional changes regarding the exclusive right of lawyers to be a representative in the courts in accordance with the objectives of raising the level of advocates’ proficiency and meeting the needs of protecting the rights and interests of citizens in the courts.
The Bar Council of Ukraine believes that the adoption of the draft laws will contribute to the development of the institute of advocacy in a democratic, rule-of-law state, the fulfillment of the international obligations of Ukraine as a member of the Council of Europe and the UN, the realization of constitutional human and citizen rights and freedoms, the principles of rule of law and accessibility of legal professional assistance.
In this regard, the BCU appealed to the authorities of the Verkhovna Rada, parliamentary committees and public deputies when considering drafting of the new version of the law “On the Bar and Practice of Law” taking into account the position of advocacy of Ukraine regarding alternative draft laws No. 9055-1 and No. 9055-2 and to promote the reform of the legislation in accordance with European standards, the real needs of the advocacy community and in the interests of strengthening the constitutional guarantees of citizens’ rights.
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