Outcome of the conference in Yerevan, Armenia (9 March, 2018)

March 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


The conference “Current challenges and opportunities of the bars and law societies of the Council of Europe Member States” was organised by the Council of Europe Project “Support to the implementation of judicial reform in Armenia”, the CCBE and the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia on 9 March 2018 in Yerevan, Armenia.

The objective of the conference was to provide a platform for sharing information and experiences on the current challenges of the bars and law societies, to explore detrimental issues in the bar associations and to propose concrete steps for strengthening the cooperation and ties amongst the bar associations and law societies of the Council of Europe Member States. The conference also aimed to facilitate a dialogue and exchanges of best practices between the bars and law societies of the different Council of Europe Member States.

Representatives of the bars and law societies of the Council of Europe Member States were invited to participate at the conference.  There were more than 65 participants, mostly from Armenia but also from Ireland, Moldova, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The exchange which took place between professionals from different countries contributed to a debate about the potential improvements in the bar associations and the legal profession. Even if directions and policies of the bar reforms may differ from country to country, discussion on the primary concepts and challenges were similar for the different Member States of the Council of Europe.

The one day-long discussion included presentations of the experts of the CCBE and other representatives of bars and law societies of different Council of Europe Member States.

The discussions and debates were held on the following topics:

  1. Advocacy ethics – the relations between the attorney and court, data protection and the scope of rules of ethics;
  2. Creation of a cooperation network between attorneys of different Council of Europe Member States.

Participants of the conference also had the possibility to visit the Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Armenia.

The CCBE in the conference was represented by the Second Vice-President R. Pelicarić, Chair of the PECO committee S. Balik, Chair of the Towards a Model Code of Conduct Committee J. Klatka, the incoming Chair of the IT Law Committee J. Novak and Legal Advisor on PECO committee issues I. Bule.

The Second Vice-President of the CCBE R. Pelicarić in his opening speech, highlighted the need to reinforce the independence of the bars and encouraged the dialogue between stakeholders in such an important time when judicial reform is taking place in Armenia.


Presentations of the CCBE speakers:

S.Balik stressed that the lawyer is an amicus curia. The mutual relation between lawyers and judges do not only relate to legal issues but to a much greater extent, it is also a question of professional ethics. He also introduced the audience to the judgement of the judicial disciplinary panel of the Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic in 2017 where a judge was sued for out-of-court contacts with a lawyer. He underlined that “the mutual relation of the lawyer and the judge everywhere depends on the fact whether they both are really independent. In a country with a developed legal culture and the rule of law, the relation of the judge and the lawyer is based on collegial cooperation and mutual respect.”

J.Novak presented the importance of the protection of clients’ data against unlawful interception, stressing that the right to a fair trial and right to privacy is regulated by the European Convention on Human Rights. He introduced the audience to the CCBE guidance on Improving the IT Security of Lawyers Against Unlawful Surveillance. Several practical examples were provided, and several cases examined by the speaker to better illustrate the topic.

J.Klatka in his presentation on the scope and content of the rules of ethics concentrated on issues such as independence, confidentiality, and conflict of interest.

The programme and the presentations of the speakers are available here.

Commission communication on the Western Balkans

March 6th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

On 6 February, 2018 the European Commission adopted a strategy “A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans” (COM(2018) 65 and Annex).

The Strategy confirms the European future of the region as a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united Europe based on common values. It spells out the priorities and areas of joint reinforced cooperation, addressing the specific challenges the Western Balkans face, in particular the need for fundamental reforms and good neighbourly relations. A credible enlargement perspective requires sustained efforts and irreversible reforms. Progress along the European path is an objective and merit-based process which depends on the concrete results achieved by each individual country.

The European Commission also announced six flagship initiatives – specific actions that the EU will take over the next years to support the transformation efforts of the Western Balkans in areas of mutual interest. In particular:

  • strengthen the rule of law,
  • reinforce engagement on security and migration;
  • enhance support for socio-economic development;
  • increase transport ad energy connectivity;
  • develop digital agenda for the Western Balkans;
  • support reconciliations and good neighbourly relations.

As regards the rule of law – the existing tools, such as detailed action plans, will be expanded to all Western Balkans countries. Assessment of reform implementation will be enhanced, including through new advisory missions. Greater use will be made of leverage provided in the negotiating frameworks with Montenegro and Serbia.

General information about the enlargement process and the provisional timeline for 2018 is also provided by the European Commission.