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26 years of nation building in the country! What achievements, which institutions are built working for the benefit of people, citizens of our country! If you answer honestly these questions, then none! There are no normally functioning state mechanisms! Enough powerful and great achievements! Especially as regards the protection of citizens’ rights, human rights and freedoms. These achievements of the Ukrainian state were once again asserted by the ECHR decisions.


Inadmissible reform of the Bar!

17:52 Tue 31.10.17 Author : Ihor Kolesnykov 1258 Reviews Print

All presidents, people’s deputies are temporal, but the Bar is an institution that has always been, remains and will always be, since the protection against the state tyranny is a holy thing, so indispensable to people!

26 years of nation building in the country! What achievements, which institutions are built working for the benefit of people, citizens of our country! If you answer honestly these questions, then none! There are no normally functioning state mechanisms! Enough powerful and great achievements! Especially as regards the protection of citizens’ rights, human rights and freedoms. These achievements of the Ukrainian state were once again asserted by the ECHR decisions.

Similarly, this has already been proved by the ‘effective’ so-called ‘judicial reform’, where some professionals managed to include the Bar into this reform. And to make everything transparent and open to general public, so that everyone can see and appreciate the best achievements in the reform of the Ukrainian Bar, they decided… to hide the draft law and covertly adopt it, as was formerly the case with the amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine in December 2016, when they wanted to squeeze in the amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Bar and Practice of Law” into the amendments to the Tax Code. And they are already trying to do the same with the draft law in a form of a new (revised) version of the Law “On the Bar and Practice of Law”.

On October 11, 2017 the Ukrainian Bar has once again fully realized this. By its attempts to covertly adopt a draft law on amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Bar and Practice of Law” with the help of Council of Europe experts, and by using some close representatives of non-governmental organizations, the state authorities are trying to ruin an independent Bar, established after the entry into force of the new Law “On the Bar and Practice of Law” in 2012, under the guise of urgently needed reforms. I believe that this is done deliberately and completely for another purpose.

The only representative organization that has the right to take part – on behalf of all advocates of Ukraine – in such an important issue as consideration and coordination of the provisions of the draft law “On the Bar and Practice of Law” was not only removed from this process, but, as stated in one of the letters, – you don’t need this draft law, and we will not give it to you. And when the Council of Europe experts, who proposed to discuss the draft law, learned that they were being used, they understood that something sordid is going on.

This approach has perturbed not only the Bar self-government bodies, but also a large number of advocates. The regional bar councils and the regional HQDCs condemned such actions of the state authorities and addressed the Ukrainian National Bar Association with relevant appeals and resolutions.

The representatives of the Ukrainian National Bar Association took part in the work of various international organizations, where they reported on the state of affairs and how ‘democratic’ the Bar reform is.

At the national level the Bar self-government bodies continue the elaboration of detailed proposals for the authorities, as well as their work to strengthen the Bar and Bar community.

While the government leaders continue their destructive and divisive policy, the Bar takes decisive actions for cohesiveness, unity, professionalism and standing up for the achievements of modern Bar. Five years have passed since the establishment of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, since the day when the bar self-government bodies were established, since the day when the advocate gained a really possibility to be protected and the opportunity to be heard and represented not only in Ukraine but also in the international community. The Ukrainian Bar has asserted itself in the world, moreover, the Ukrainian advocates began to share experiences with those who three or five years ago have taught and supervised our advocates. On some issues the student has outperformed his teacher – the European Union Bar, where Ukraine is striving in the words of the state leaders. But as we see, in the words only.

Why do we need the legislative branch? Perhaps, in order for the state to develop under the well-balanced policy, justified decisions and well-considered laws, to gain international recognition and authority, and so that the citizens of our state are proud of their state. In order to ensure that the rights and freedoms of our citizens are the highest value, and that the guarantees of their implementation, observance and protection are in the first place when state authorities and branches of government make any decisions. It is the most developed, powerful and guaranteed institute for the protection of rights and freedoms that is an indication that the state exists, that the state is not a paper tiger, but has an inalienable foundation, is an equal player in the international field, whose leaders are worthy of respect and honor. That the mechanism of citizens’ realization of their constitutional rights and protection of their rights and freedoms, created by our state, is guaranteed and implemented not on paper, but through the administration of justice by an independent court and ensuring the activity of independent and professional bar.

You cannot use the legislative branch for some kind of secret actions aimed at destroying the Bar. But in our country it is exactly what we see, we see completely different approaches, our other leaders have set different goals.

These are the security, the lack of public discussion, the rigid limitations of the ability to participate in the development and introduce additions to the changes, proposed by the subject of legislative initiative, that are not only astounding, but rather threatening with the existence of an independent Bar.

Such actions are unacceptable on the part of the highest state bodies that declare Ukraine as a democratic and rule-based state.

The Bar will not be aloof from these processes. One of the first regions that was quite active in giving coverage to this ‘democratic’ approach to the Bar reform was Zakarpattia Region, represented by the Bar Council Chairman Oleksii Fazekosh, a well-known and respected advocate far beyond the Zakarpattia Region. Other regions, as already noted, did not keep aside as well.

And now, once again, the advocates of the West and the East demonstrate unity in their actions, in understanding the direction of movement and the development of Ukrainian law. Luhansk and Zakarpattia are together. The Chairman of the Bar Council of Zakarpattia Region, Oleksii Fazekosh, and a representative of Luhansk Region at the Bar Council of Ukraine have discussed these issues and agreed a number of joint events, which will be announced in the near future. The covert development of such an important draft law was also condemned.

The efforts of certain advocates and other persons, speaking on behalf of the developers of this draft law, to over-persuade that the proposed changes are for the better, only confirm that no better will come.

The conviction that the divide et impera principle for the Ukrainian Bar is for the better was not upheld and will never be upheld by our advocates.

The creation of a large number of associations, the establishment of a unified examination center for all candidates striving to practice law, limiting the cadence at the bar self-government bodies, and this ‘badly needed re-qualification’ of non-professional advocates are the main changes that they want to incorporate and adopt as a reform.

But what they are really aiming for? To make every effort to ensure that the Bar is really unprofessional, weak, dependent, so as not to interfere with lawlessness.

I will start with the so-called ‘badly needed re-qualification’. The only question is who will be able to re-qualify and which criteria will be used for the re-qualification of Yaroslav Zeikan or Andrii Fedur, Lidiia Izovitova and Oleksandr Drozdov, Oleksii Fazekosh or Oleksandr Melnikov, as well as other professional and prominent advocates and recognized professionals in their business. The professionalism and experience of the advocate is what no state leader or person not related to the Bar can understand. These things are rarely written in books. This is what the advocates share with each other and this is not for the general public. Yes, the principles and methods of the practice of law are known, they are published, but talking about strategy and tactics, there are some of them that have not been written and will never be written. Because it is related to the protection of human rights and freedoms and, first of all, against the tyranny and lawlessness of the state authorities. And one cannot but pay attention to the fact that it is precisely what the former authorities are looking for, when, for some reason, from the hot seat they turn out to be on the dock, and, for some reason, they are calling for help and professional protection.

And all talks that this possibility to create many associations or other unions of advocates is for the better, cannot withstand any criticism! The divide et impera principle has yet never led any institute or state to the better. And the undeniable proof of the desire to destroy the well-established independent Ukrainian Bar by introduction of this reform is a statement that the established Ukrainian National Bar Association has demonstrated its effectiveness and has received recognition at the national level and abroad.

Similarly, the statement that only judges and advocate’s assistants with two years of experience will be able to take an exam speaks for the attempts of the state to limit as much as possible the access of lawyers to the bar, which is indicative of inadmissible discriminatory approach.

The same relates to the establishment of a single examination center — it is not only a setback, it is a deliberate development of conditions under which a lawyer, who is now able to pass the exam at his place of residence, will be forced to go to the capital, which is also a discrimination and restriction of access to the profession. Given the above, the state is doing everything possible to reduce the number of prospective advocates and restrict access to the profession, and, thus, to violate the bar monopoly, which was on everyone’s lips two years ago! And now, considering all actions as related to the draft law, this bar monopoly is a threat. Because the Bar can be out of reach. And some state leaders cannot allow this. That is what confuses and sets the nerves of our reformers to edge. The mere fact that there are independent professionals, who not only oppose the lawlessness with the law, but also have no intention to obey the public institutions. That’s the truth, while all those talks about the improvement are just a cover.

The only thing that the Ukrainian Bar needs today is that the state stops to hinder work and provision of legal aid. All matters related to the bar self-government, professional development and examinations the Bar will resolve on its own!

The Ukrainian National Bar Association and regional bar self-government bodies have applied and continue to apply all methods provided by the law to protect the rights and guarantees of the practice of law, strengthen these guarantees, and prevent the interference with the Bar activities in violation of international acts, the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. Many appeals were made at the international and national levels, and the UNBA representatives continue holding meetings in the international arena, related to these processes and issues. Interregional meetings and discussions of this ‘another state’s provocation to destroy the Bar’ with the representatives of the bar self-government bodies are taking place. We will not allow this draft law to become a law. And believe me, advocates will find the way to do it in a lawfully.

Those striving to destroy an independent Bar please note that the destruction of the Bar, independent from state, will result in the situation when the citizens, as well as those who occupy high positions in our state today, will be denied the right to protection. Since 25 years of Ukrainian independence have shown that each subsequent government is pursuing the former one, and in most cases certain individuals are unreasonably and sometimes intentionally illegally prosecuted. And it is precisely these moments when everybody thinks about advocates, and demands protection, justice and legitimate actions towards themselves.

The ability to protect yourself is a rather powerful argument to start thinking and not interfere with the work of others!!!

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