"In addition to the more pronounced visualization of the profile, we are strengthening constantly the technical side of the registry," Valentyn Gvozdii, Deputy Chairman of the Bar Council of Ukraine, emphasizes.
In accordance with the decision of the Bar Council of Ukraine dated on December 12, 2012 (with amendments), the Unified Register of Advocates of Ukraine (URAU) is an electronic database that contains information about the number and personal composition of the advocates of Ukraine. During nearly five years of its operation, the URAU has been continuously modernized. The Deputy Chairman of the Bar Council of Ukraine Valentyn Gvozdii told how the process is going, what difficulties the developers encountered and what other innovations are planned to be implemented.
- Valentyn Anatolyevich, the United Register of Advocates of Ukraine was established almost five years ago. What difficulties did the developers encounter when filling it?
- The Law of Ukraine "On the Bar and Practice of Law", adopted in July 2012, instructed the Bar as a self-governing institution the function of maintaining the United Register of Advocates of Ukraine. This is the only official register, which contains full information about the advocates who have obtained the right to practice in Ukraine. It took some time to create software, to develop the detailed procedure for maintaining the register of the profile law in the normative acts of the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA), to train the members of the Regional Bar Councils and staff of UNBA Secretariat. Now, assessing the scale of this project, we can say that less than four months, which were required for its launch, are the ultra-fast deadline. The URAU began its operation online in January 2013, replacing completely the register, which was maintained by the Higher Qualification Commission of the Bar Association under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (according to the Law "On the Bar" dated on 1992).
- Almost at every meeting of the Bar Council of Ukraine you present further innovations on filling the profiles of the advocates. Placement of the advocate's photo is one of the latest ones. What caused this need?
- The first standard of the advocate's profile in the URAU in 2012 contained the minimum, but complete necessary information about each advocate. The search provides the name of the advocate, information on the number and date of issue of the certificate, the number and date of the decision of the regional CDC of the Bar on the issue of this certificate, the form of the practice of law, contact details, the status of the certificate (indicated if it is suspended or terminated). Agree, this is a very formal template variant. Yes, at the initial stage, when the register was just being formed, we applied the principle of reasonable sufficiency to fill the public profile of the advocate. The main task was to start the registry and fill it with the correct data of tens of thousands of advocates. Now we have the opportunity to develop this product, because the URAU is an exclusive product of the UNBA, if using the marketing terms. Therefore, its capabilities are really being constantly updated, the functional is being improved and expanded. In addition to the more pronounced visualization of the profile, we continue to strengthen constantly the technical side of the register. It should be said that all investments into the information protection justified themselves fully - none of the hacker attacks harmed the URAU data.
- What about those who would not like to post their photo? There will be such persons for sure.
- Photo placement is not the only recent innovation. Indeed, in that part of the URAU that is visible to all users, a new sample of the advocate's profile will appear soon. At last there will be visual information: a photo of the advocate and an advertising banner, there will be more data about the specialization of practice, information about assistants and trainees, additional work addresses and ways of communication. The profile will not only be the bearer of official information about the advocate, but also a marketing tool.
Adding a photo is provided as an additional identification of the advocate's personality, which, perhaps, will help the advocate in the practice of law (in particular, in defending his/her rights). It is planned that the photos will be entered by the Regional Bar Councils. There is an archive of photos of the advocates provided for execution of the documents. I think that the process will be quite massive. I do not see a problem if someone refuses to post his/her photo.
- Software development, its support and data processing require impressive resources. What are the costs of its maintenance?
- Maintenance of the URAU is one of the main cost items of UNBA. This is not a cheap pleasure. The fact is that the services of programmers have a market value, and the volume of work is significant. We also constantly improve anti-virus software products, software and hardware, which ensures the successful functioning of the software product. The detailed costing of the URAU maintenance, broken down by year, is detailed in the decision of the BCU No. 144 dated on May 27, 2017 "On consideration of the report on fulfillment of the cost estimate of BCU, UNBA" that is publicly available on the UNBA website.
- By the decision of the BCU a fee for placing a banner and additional information was fixed in the amount of one minimum wage. Why this amount? Will this service be in demand?
- Firstly, it is important to recall that this issue was discussed at the BCU meeting in Lviv openly, and everyone could express their opinion. After the long discussions, in the end, a decision was made on such a sum. The calculation was made on the basis of the standard that is familiar to the advocates - the minimum wage. Market prices for similar services were taken into account.
As for the demand for this service, I am sure that it will work. After all, we offer the advocates to provide more positive information about themselves and place it officially on a platform that is used by a professional target audience and potential clients.
- Can you tell us how such registers are being formed and filled in other countries?
- I am not aware how other bars of the world keep their registers, but I can say with confidence that those countries with which we cooperate and are friends (including European countries), are very interested in our experience. I do not know any country in which such product would be realized at such a high functional level. Our colleagues from other countries ask us to share our experience, and we help them.
- What other innovations are planned in the URAU in the near future?
- Modernization of the URAU is an ongoing process. Technologies are changing, ways of working with information are changing, and the register should meet modern standards, and therefore - improve constantly. Synchronization of information on professional development with the profile in the URAU is one of those systemic changes that will simplify the life of the advocates greatly and save their time. It means automatic entering of data on registration in the event, accounting of points for participation, monitoring of compliance with requirements for continuing professional development, which is mandatory for all advocates. Also, in case of failure to comply with the requirements of the law on professional development, a notice will be posted in the advocate's profile. This approach is designed to discipline our colleagues.
Interviewer – Svetlana TARASOVA, “Yuridicheskaya Praktika”)
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