The CCBE has been following the alarming developments that have recently taken place in Turkey. In the light of this, it has written a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to express its serious concern over the events of Friday 15 July 2016 which led to a significant number of deaths, and more than 1,000 people being wounded. In addition, the CCBE stressed that the dismissal of 2,745 judges will seriously undermine the independence of judiciary. In this context, the CCBE calls for effective steps to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in Turkey.
As previously reported, the CCBE will organise a PECO Seminar in cooperation with the Albanian National Chamber of Advocacy, which will take place on 30 September 2016 in Tirana – the draft programme is now available. After a short introduction from the President of the Albanian National Bar and the CCBE President, expert speakers from across Europe will discuss with their Albanian counterparts the core values of the legal profession and enforcement mechanisms, which will be followed by the World Bank’s report on ‘Comparative analysis of Bars and Law Societies in selected European jurisdictions’. In the afternoon session, the discussions will focus on the organisation of initial and continuous training and the use of new training methods. The seminar will be concluded by the presentation of the Council of Europe on the ‘Human Rights Education of Legal Professionals’ (HELP) programme. While, the seminar will focus particularly on the achievements and challenges of the establishment of high standards for the exercising of the legal profession in Albania, it will also be of interest to audiences from across Europe.
Albania has a population of 2 800 000 and 1800 active lawyers (data of 2015), with a total number of 8200 lawyers. The Albanian National Bar Association joined the CCBE as an observer member in 2008.
Key information about the profession:
Initial training of lawyers: One must obtain a university law degree. Mandatory initial training consists of a one-year internship and the completion of a training program organised by the National School of Lawyers (NSL). Upon completion of the initial training, a candidate should pass a qualification examination for the practice of the legal profession and obtain a result of more than 50 percent.
Continuous training: Is mandatory. A detailed regulation is under preparation. Continuous training activities are organised by the National Chamber of Advocacy in the framework of international programmes, such as JusT, Council of Europe, USAID, etc. Failure to attend continuous training activities shall constitute grounds for revocation of the license to exercise the profession of advocate.
Specialisation: There is no specialisation.
Discipline: The law on the Profession of Advocates of 2012 introduced the position of a Complaints Commissioner, who can be addressed in case of infringements of the law committed by a lawyer. After their decision on the case, the complaint may be presented before the Disciplinary Committee composed of 6 lawyers, 1 representative of MoJ, 1 representative of civil society or academia, 1 representative appointed by a decision of HCJ, which decides on the specific case. A suit can be filed at the administrative court if one wants to contest the decision of the Disciplinary Committee.
Legal Aid: In Albania, a Law on Legal Aid was adopted in December 2008 and entered into force in April 2009. However, due to the drawbacks of the current legal aid system one of which is its limited budget, free legal aid continues to be provided mainly by non-governmental organisations with donor funding.
Current concerns of the Bar:
On 30 June 2016, the Turkish Parliament passed the draft “Law on the Amendment of the Codes of the Supreme Court and the Council of the State and other Codes”. As a result, all members of the Supreme Court and of the Council of the State will be shortly dismissed and replaced. The new law will also introduce changes into the system of appointment. New magistrates will have to be appointed by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is reportedly made up of government-backed members. Furthermore, 24 members of the Council of State will be directly appointed by the President.
The CCBE is concerned with the impact that this new legislation will have on the independence of the judiciary at all levels, thereby undermining the separation of powers, the right to a fair trial and, more broadly, the rule of law.
For further information, please see the letter written by the CCBE on its concerns related to the recently adopted law.
On 20-23 June, the ICJ conducted a research mission to Azerbaijan to assess the situation of the legal profession in the country. For more information, please follow this link.