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In each legal state the Bar plays one of the key roles within the system of justice. The provisions of the effective Law provided great opportunities for the Bar to become truly independent, with minimal influence from the state authorities. And there is a great desire on the part of the Bar leadership and all advocates of Ukraine that this Law preserve and further develop the possibilities for further development of the Bar as an independent institution, which will allow us, the advocates, to fully protect the interests of Ukrainian citizens.

UKRAINIAN BAR. APPROXIMATION TO EUROPEAN STANDARDS

11:26 Wed 01.11.17 Author : Petro Nemesh 617 Reviews 0 Comments Print

Not so much time – 5 years only – passed since introduction of significant changes into Ukrainian Bar, which have brought Ukraine closer to European legal standards.

The effective Law “On the Bar and Practice of Law” of 2012 provided for a clear regulation of the Bar institute based on the principle of self-government, envisaged the provision of reliable legal guarantees of protection of the citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms.

In each legal state the Bar plays one of the key roles within the system of justice. The provisions of the effective Law provided great opportunities for the Bar to become truly independent, with minimal influence from the state authorities. And there is a great desire on the part of the Bar leadership and all advocates of Ukraine that this Law preserve and further develop the possibilities for further development of the Bar as an independent institution, which will allow us, the advocates, to fully protect the interests of Ukrainian citizens.

Working as an advocate for more than 40 years, I can confidently say that since the adoption of the Law 5 years ago our Ukrainian Bar has survived great, historic changes.

I would like to recall a plethora of great and famous advocates of both the pre-Soviet Bar and the Bar of independent Ukraine, in particular, Kost Levytskyi – advocate and Prime Minister of the Western Ukrainian National Republic, Yevhen Petrushevych – advocate and President of the Western Ukrainian National Republic, Stepan Baran – advocate and Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People's Republic, Stepan Vytvytskyi – advocate and President of the Ukrainian People's Republic and other contemporary advocates, namely, L.P. Izovitova, H.V. Kovbasynska, T.V. Varfolomeieva, O.M. Drozdov, Y.L. Bronz, Z.M. Shter and others.

Even in Soviet times all decisions taken in relation to the Bar were discussed by the Bar community, since only advocates knew and were able to correctly and clearly adopt legal acts for the Bar community.

It is completely unclear why now, in this difficult time for our country, some Bar-related projects are being adopted by 2-3 people, representatives of the Judicial Reform Council, who know nothing about the self-government system; and why such projects are not submitted to the Venice Commission, etc.

It is surprising that the country leaders have not yet realized the importance of saying “no fence against a flail”.

In progressive states the advocates’ role in legal processes is contingent upon the specifics of their profession.

The formation and development of a modern state, – on the basis of an absolute monarchy, as it was in France, or on the basis of a progressive idea without the burden of the aristocratic and monarchical past, as it was in the United States, – took place with the significant participation and influence of advocates. The majority of leaders of the French Revolution, authors of the American Constitution and members of the Parliaments of other European countries, who adopted new democratic constitutions and transformed their countries into modern democratic and developed states, were the advocates.

As the Honored Lawyer of Ukraine I am indignant with the fact that the working group of the Judicial Reform Council, without prior consultations with the Bar community, which unites almost 40 thousand advocates, without prior consultations with the Ukrainian National Bar Association, as its official representative, appeals to the Council of Europe experts for further approval of the draft law. I recall another Ukrainian proverb “I was roped without being consulted”, but I would rather say that they want to make fool of us, the advocates.

I believe that the government should immediately withdraw the draft law on the Bar, return to the format of a professional transparent discussion, give an opportunity to discuss the document at the level of regional bar communities, give UNBA an opportunity to present consolidated results, and then submit the document to the Venice Commission in order to obtain comprehensive conclusions on its conformity to European standards.

Nowadays, the leadership of UNBA, BCU and HQDCB was selected according to the democratic rating system of voting. I would like to note that the UNBA, BCU President L.P. Izovitova and the HQDCB Chairman O.M. Drozdov received more than 80% of votes of delegates to the Reporting and Election Congress of Advocates of Ukraine. By the way, Inna Rafalska, another candidate for UNBA President, received as many as 7 votes, and even a respectable and authoritative advocate Petro Boiko received 47 votes.

Over the course of 5 years the leadership of the Ukrainian Bar, together with the advocates of our state, made enormous changes in the direction of improving towards European standards, in particular: the UNBA established 14 committees and the School of Advocacy; in 2012-2017 the number of advocates increased from 12437 to 37953 (that is, tripled); the UNBA ensures high standards in the professional development of advocates and their training; the UNBA created and maintains the Unified Register of Advocates of Ukraine, publishes the official UNBA Journal, and cooperates with international organizations and foreign bars.

And in conclusion, I’d like to once again address the representatives of the state, and personally the Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko. The advocates of Zakarpattia Region, based on the results of general meeting dated 28.10.2017, demand the withdrawal of a draft law from the Venice Commission in order to give an opportunity to discuss it in regions, provide specific comments and then submit the project for obtaining relevant conclusions.

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