The purpose of the PECO Profiles is to highlight key facts about the PECO member countries. We intend to do this by interviewing the Presidents of the national bars, asking them about training, discipline, legal aid, future challenges… We hope that you find them both useful and informative!
The case of Dvorski v. Croatia started with an application by a Croatian national, Mr. Ivan Dvorski, against the Republic of Croatia submitted with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, on 16 April 2011. Mr. Dvorski alleged that, as a murder suspect, he was denied access to a lawyer hired by his parents to represent him. This created a coercive environment in which he had incriminated himself at the police station. In this case, on 20 October 2015, the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to a fair trial as prescribed by Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention, and that the finding of a violation constitutes in itself sufficient just satisfaction for any non-pecuniary damage sustained by the applicant.
The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals, HELP, is aimed at supporting the Council of Europe member states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at the national level. CCBE is a partner of HELP.
HELP recently published a video which provides a 5-minute introduction to HELP.
The HELP website provides free on-line access to materials and tools for professional training on the ECHR. More recently, HELP made available, for instance, on its website self-study e-learning courses on Admissibility criteria in applications submitted before the European Court of Human Rights; on Asylum and the ECHR; on Introduction to ECHR. HELP has also been publishing Glossaries which are intended to guide legal professionals in using the correct terminology when they make Convention-based arguments in national proceedings, and to help legal professionals to correctly understand when reading judgments in English.
HELP organises yearly conferences for representatives of the HELP Network – the Network brings together representatives from National Training Institutions for Judges and Prosecutors and Bar Associations of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. The conferences provide a forum for discussions on ways of enhancing training results and concrete implementation of the Convention at the national level and on how to improve an effective co-operation among all national and international institutions.
The PECO Blog will provide from now on regular information on major events of HELP in PECO countries and relevant publications.
CCBE letter to the Prime minister of the Republic of Albania regarding introduction of fiscal cash registers for lawyers and the VAT rules
On 12 October 2015, the CCBE sent a letter to the Prime minister of the Republic of Albania reiterating its deep concerns about the implementation of fiscal cash registers for lawyers and VAT rules, and asking for information about the reasoning behind this. In 2010 and 2011, the CCBE sent three letters to the previous Prime minister of the Republic of Albania raising the same issues. The CCBE highlighted in its letter the potential risks which the application of the fiscal cash registers to lawyers will have with regard to access to justice, independence of the profession, professional secrecy or legal professional privilege. Another concern is that all legal services in Albania are subject to 20% VAT regardless of a lawyer’s salary, whereas for other businesses VAT varies depending on income.
In 2011, the CCBE carried out a survey among its members about national VAT and threshold rules. The CCBE survey showed that the Albanian provision, which would foresee that legal services are subject to 20% VAT regardless of a lawyer’s turnover, is contrary to the existing standards and practice of other European countries.
The full letter can be read here.
On the 9 and 10 October 2015, in Kyiv, the Council of Europe, jointly with the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) and the CCBE, held an event on strategic planning. CCBE President Maria Ślązak, along with experts from the Bars of Finland, Lithuania and Scotland, participated in this conference, the purpose of which was to provide examples from their practices which could be of assistance to the Ukrainian National Bar Association.
The objectives of this conference were that the participants would acquire and upgrade their understanding on the purpose and use of strategic planning; learn from other European Bar Associations’ experiences on Strategic Planning; and be able to formulate the key elements of drafting of the Strategy leading to agreement on high-level strategy (e.g. mission, vision, strategic objectives).
The audience benefited from a combination of presentations of Strategic Planning experiences from European Bar Associations, training methods and practical group work.
The results should help the Ukrainian National Bar Association to formulate a strategy and an Action Plan for the coming five years.
On 23 September 2015, a Conference on the dialogue between judges, lawyers and prosecutors with regard to Opinions 12 and 16 of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) as well as on ethical and deontological issues took place in Bucharest (Romania). Following the Conference, the President of the Higher Council of Magistrates, the President of the National Union of Romanian Bar Associations, and the representative for Romania at the CCJE and Judge of Penal Section of the Supreme Court of Romania signed the inter-professional Charter of Romanian judges, prosecutors and counsels. It is believed that inter-professional communication between Romanian judges, prosecutors and lawyers leads to consistency, maturity and dynamism. This will be demonstrated through joint projects with CCJE held this year, thereby representing the axis of stability of Romanian justice.
The Charter can be downloaded here.