Free legal aid: lawyers will add up training points for 2023 by April

12:13 Wed 14.02.24 142 Reviews

Lawyers who provide free secondary legal aid or have concluded a contract (agreement) for its provision must receive at least 2 credit points for training on the issue of FLA every year. The deadline for fulfilling this obligation for 2023 has been extended to April 1.

The relevant decision was made by the Bar Council of Ukraine at its last meeting on February 8. The issue was initiated by the lawyers of Rivne region.

As a reminder, according to the general rule of the Procedure for the Advanced Training of Advocates of Ukraine, approved by the decision of the UNBA dated 03.07.2021 No. 63, all advocates (except for young advocates practicing for up to three years) are required to improve their qualifications at the level of 10 hours per year (10 credits). And the reporting year for the advocates' advanced training is considered to be a calendar year, from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

The peculiarities for FLA lawyers are established by paragraph 21-1 of the Procedure, according to which, among the ten points for the year, they need to score two on FLA issues. This rule appeared in 2022 (decision of the BCU of 16.12.2022 №168), given that lawyers working with the FLA system must have in-depth knowledge and skills in this area of law to provide quality, timely legal assistance to free legal aid recipients. The issue is about the existing peculiarities of the Rules of Professional Conduct, implementation of the standards of free legal aid provision, specifics of interaction with the centers of free legal aid provision, etc.

Valentyn Gvozdiy, the Vice President of UNBA, BCU, said that as of today, the Register of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid contains information about 1789 lawyers. Among them, 1194 (67%) have fulfilled the requirements for obtaining credits.

«Training is not something that can be ignored, especially when you work under contracts for the state and defend the most vulnerable categories of citizens who receive assistance in the FLA system. Therefore, we have been doing our best to help lawyers to take these trainings, - explained Gvozdiy. - And when at the end of January we saw that some lawyers did not have time to do it, we were sympathetic and offered to take a special test».

Pursuant to clause 32 of the Procedure, attorneys who failed to comply with the requirements of this Procedure in previous years are given the opportunity to obtain certificates of advanced training for these years, provided that they successfully pass special tests at the UNBA Higher School of Advocacy for each year of non-compliance.

«And many people have used this tool, - added the Vice President of UNBA, BCU. - But there are still colleagues who have not yet fulfilled the requirements for various reasons. Given the martial law, it seems logical to propose to extend the period for fulfilling this obligation for at least three months».

Earlier, Oksana Kadenko, the Chairman of the UNBA Committee on Legal Aid, made a similar proposal. In December 2022, her committee prepared a corresponding conclusion.

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