PECO seminar, 30 September 2016, Tirana, Albania

June 30th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


Maksim R. Haxhia, President, Albanian Bar

In partnership with the Albanian Bar Association, the CCBE will hold a PECO seminar on 30 September in Tirana, Albania.

The seminar will discuss the “Core Values of the Legal Profession and Enforcement Mechanisms”, as well as “The Organisation of Initial and Continuous Training and the Use of New Training Methods”. In addition to these topics, the seminar will host a presentation of the World Bank’s report ‘Comparative analysis of Bars and Law Societies in selected EU Member States and Serbia’. The objective of the report is to take a closer look at rules governing the functioning of bars and law societies, including their entrance requirements, decision-making and administrative capacities, discipline and inter-bar relations. The Council of Europe will also attend and give a presentation on the ‘Human Rights Education of Legal Professionals’ programme (HELP).

A programme will be available shortly.


Conference in Tbilisi on 20-21 June 2016

June 29th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


On 20-21 June 2016, the Georgian Bar Association in partnership with the Council of Europe and CCBE held a conference on ‘Bar associations working towards an independent, qualified and ethical exercise of the profession of lawyer’ in Tbilisi, Georgia. The conference, hosted by Tbilisi State University, was opened with a speech from the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, in which he underlined his regard for the legal profession and the importance of its independent, qualified and ethical exercise.

The event brought together legal professionals, diplomats, scholars and representatives from various international organisations. The conference was attended by over twenty representatives from ten national Bar Associations, including Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Moldova, as well as by members of the Georgian Bar Association. The CCBE was represented by its First Vice-President Ruthven Gemmell WS. During the conference, the participants explored and exchanged their views on the role of bar associations in such areas as professional deontology, lawyers training and defense and promotion of lawyers’ rights. On the initiative of the Council of Europe, an inventory of good practices shared by participants will be prepared after the event.

The programme of the conference is available here.

Commissioner for Human Rights issues report on Poland

June 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


During a press conference in Warsaw which took place on 15 June 2016, Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe, presented his report on recent changes to Poland’s legal and institutional framework, which in his view threaten human rights and undermine the rule of law.

Among others, the report analyses the impact of the new law on surveillance activities. The report raises serious concerns of its incompatibility with international human rights law because it expands the powers of law enforcement agencies, police forces and security services without establishing the necessary safeguards to avoid abuse. It notes, in particular, that there is no mechanism of judicial control ensuring a prior authorisation to retrieve or obtain telecommunication or internet metadata, including data regarding contacts with those working under professional secrecy, for instance, lawyers. The Commissioner recognises that for the use of information obtained through operational activities as evidence in criminal proceedings, it is required that it should be in the interest of justice and that the use has been authorised by a court. However, such authorising decision is not subject to an appeal by defendant.

The CCBE has also been following legislative developments in Poland, particularly the proposed changes to the regulation on data surveillance and data retention earlier this year. On 12 January 2016, the CCBE sent a letter to the speaker of the lower house of the Polish parliament in which it pointed out that the secrecy of client’s communications with his lawyer should be inviolable. This is a fundamental element of the rule of law and, in particular, of the right to a fair trial.

PECO Profile: Czech Republic

June 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The Czech Republic has a population of approximately 10.5 million and 12.000 lawyers (in 2015). The Czech Bar Association was set up in 1990 and has been a full member of CCBE since 2004, after being an observer member since 1992.

JUDr. Martin Vychopeň – President of the Bar

Key information about the profession:

  • Initial training of lawyers: Master degree in Law which lasts five years. Then, a traineeship of three years during which the trainee needs to attend mandatory courses organised by the Czech Bar Association. The Bar exam is taken at the end of the traineeship. The practice of a judge, a prosecutor, a prosecuting attorney, a state arbitrator, a state notary, a notary, a trainee judge, a prosecution trainee, an arbitration trainee, a trainee prosecuting attorney, a notary candidate and a notary trainee, a licensed executor, a licensed executor candidate and trainee, a Constitutional Court Justice, an assistant to a Constitutional, Supreme or Supreme Administrative Court Justice, an assistant to an Ombudsman, an assistant to a judge, an assistant to a prosecuting attorney, and activity of an employee of the Ministry of Justice who has obtained a university degree in law could all be considered a legal traineeship. The Bar may recognize other traineeships to be the traineeship of a legal trainee. 
  • Continuous training: There is no obligatory continuous training system for lawyers. However, the Czech Bar organises seminars and conferences for lawyers on regular basis.
  • Specialisation: There is no specific specialisation regime. The lawyer can choose a field of ‘specialisation’. Lawyers can provide legal services in general practice.
  • Discipline: There are three bodies engaged in disciplinary proceedings: the Disciplinary Commission of the Czech Bar Association (83 members – all are Members of the Czech Bar Association), the Appellate Disciplinary Panel (11 members) and the Supervisory Council (54 members). For more details, see here.
  • Legal Aid: The Czech Bar organises 15-minute free of charge consultations for general public. These consultations can be obtained in nine cities around the country and are possible in all fields of law. For detailed information about Legal Aid in the Czech Republic please click here.

Current concerns of the Bar and main challenges in the coming years:

The Czech Bar is facing a potential threat from online and other forms of alternative legal services.

Recently, they have also been dealing with attempts to disrupt the principles of attorney-client privilege, for example in criminal cases – search of a lawyer’s home or office.