On October 28 a Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region was held at the conference hall of Uzhhorod National University, in which about two hundred advocates from across the region took part. The main reason for the convocation of the Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region by the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region were the behind-the-scenes attempts to reform the specialized legislation without any discussions and agreements with the Bar community.
In Uzhgorod about 200 advocates took part in a Forum against the behind-the-scenes changes of specialized legislation
On October 28 a Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region was held at the conference hall of Uzhhorod National University, in which about two hundred advocates from across the region took part.
The main reason for the convocation of the Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region by the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region were the behind-the-scenes attempts to reform the specialized legislation without any discussions and agreements with the Bar community.
Although the draft law, prepared by the working group, was not published and brought to the notice of neither the Ukrainian National Bar Association nor the Union of Advocates of Ukraine, which is the largest public organization uniting advocates, its general tendencies became clear after an interview with the members of the working group, namely, the President of the Ukrainian Bar Association Andrii Stelmashchuk, as well as Andrii Vyshnevskyi and Zoia Yarosh, published in the mass media. The analysis of these speeches prompted the participants of the Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region to express their sharply critical stand on a number of proposed positions. The Bar community of Zakarpattia Region considers unacceptable the proposed motions, namely:
1. The administration of qualification exams is entrusted with the Higher Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of the Bar only, while regional qualification chambers will only accept documents and conduct interviews; moreover, only those who have a two year experience working as advocate’s assistant, except for retired judges, will have the right to pass the qualification examination. And the aforementioned is proposed to be implemented together with the introduction of a legal service monopoly that, if such model is realized, will effectively deny access to the profession in the following two years for a large number of lawyers who, having adequate professional level, have all the grounds for obtaining the advocate’s status, thus causing a devastating blow to the development of the entire legal system of our state.
2. The proposal put forward in the interview of Andrii Stelmashchuk in the Law and Business Newspaper (Zakon i Bizness) about re-qualification of all advocates is absolutely inadmissible. The participants of the Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region consider such proposals to be detrimental for the development of the entire Ukrainian Bar, and, therefore, they are not acceptable since the Bar is an independent human rights institution, in contrast to judges and public prosecutors, and the legal services market will naturally and selectively get rid of all laypersons.
3. The speakers and participants of the Forum, namely, the members of the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region, Oleksandr Popovych and Tetiana Bezeha, the Deputy Head of the Committee on Protection of Advocates’ Rights of the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region Volodymyr Zhylkin presented strong statements that Ukraine has been adopting the effective Law for almost 10 years and this rough-and-ready pseudo-reform without any discussions and taking into account the position of the bar community is unacceptable. Recently, the national and regional bar self-government bodies were legally and lawfully elected, and their election was the result of the legitimate and democratic expression of the will of all Ukrainian advocates. The law has no retroactive effect, it is a fundamental truth, and thus, they have to serve out their term. Instead, in the aforementioned public speeches of the initiators of defective pseudo-reforming of the bar we hear about the inability of advocates of our country to resolve their internal organizational issues and, as a result, the thesis about the need for the state to interfere in this process. The participants of the Forum of Advocates of Zakarpattia Region paid attention to the fact that such ideas are terribly nihilistic by nature, they contradict the European vision of the bar as an independent human rights institution, the basic principle of which is independence and self-government, and any attempts of the state to interfere in its activity and to regulate it outside of the needs of this self-governing professional organization, which at the national level is united into the Ukrainian National Bar Association, are unacceptable.
In his address at the Forum of Advocates the Chairman of the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region, the Chairman of the Zakarpattia branch of UAU noted: “We understand who stands behind the idea to flawedly implement such pseudo-reform of the Bar. But I would like to note that if one hopes that the national bar is not able to protect its legitimate rights and interests of a self-governing human rights institution, they are very wrong. Before the Forum we received information from almost all regions of Ukraine in support of our position to take decisive actions in the event of attempts to covertly reform the bar without taking into account the opinion of the advocates. Therefore, on behalf of the Forum participants, we declare that we will not allow such pseudo-reforming, which will result in the complete destruction of the Bar Institute in Ukraine as an independent, self-governing human rights organization. We appeal for the support, active public stand and resolute actions to all advocates of Ukraine, the leadership of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, the leadership of the Union of Advocates of Ukraine, as the largest non-governmental organization in Ukraine, uniting Ukrainian advocates, and we address the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with an appeal to urgently intervene and to prevent the adoption of such a defective draft law that will destroy Ukrainian Bar. The Forum participants also addressed the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, all its deputies as representatives of the interests of all Ukrainian people, reminding that the Bar is an integral part of the legal system of our country, and such pseudo-reform will destroy the possibility of existence of a true legal system in our state, its democratic values and European choice”.
This position of the Forum participants, which expresses the opinion of all advocates of Zakarpattia Region, was recorded in a form of resolution that will be sent to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrii Parubii, the President of the Ukrainian National Bar Association and the Bar Council of Ukraine Lidiia Izovitova, and the President of the Union of Advocates of Ukraine Oleksandr Drozdov.
Article “In Uzhgorod about 200 advocates took part in a Forum against the behind-the-scenes changes of specialized legislation (PHOTO, VIDEO)” is published in the online media outlet “Zakarpattia online Beta”.