The Report ‘Comparative Analysis of Bar Associations and Law Societies in Select European Jurisdictions’, completed by a World Bank team in coordination with experts, amongst which also the CCBE, is published on the website of the Multi Donor Trust Fund for Justice Sector Support. The report looks at 10 distinct countries’ Bars and Law Societies and analyses their role, structure and responsibilities. It aims to provide comparative information for justice reform activities. The covered national jurisdictions are: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, England and Wales, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Serbia and Spain.
The CCBE and the Albanian Bar Association held a seminar on 30 September 2016 in Tirana. The seminar brought together representatives of the Albanian Bar and European experts – around 60 people – to discuss the core values of the profession and their enforcement, as well as the training of lawyers. A representative of the Ministry of Justice emphasised at the seminar the very good work which has been carried out by the Bar over the past years. The continuous lack of trust of people in the administration of justice overall is, however, an issue which affects all legal professionals and which remains a challenge for all stakeholders in the justice system. Participants discussed in the morning session the functioning of disciplinary proceedings, including the number and type of disciplinary decisions and the most frequent violations of the code of conduct. After the fall of the communist regime, the disciplinary system in Albania has been brought up to European standards and works well. Disciplinary proceedings are seen as an important means to strengthen the trust in the profession. However, often lawyers are identified with their clients or their clients’ causes, which has become a problem. The afternoon session allowed for a good discussion and exchange on the rules of initial and continuous training in Albania, France and England & Wales (solicitors). Practical questions such as the financing of law schools and teachers, the composition of boards of law schools, etc. were discussed. The World Bank presented to the audience a draft version of their comparative analysis of Bars and Law Societies in selected European jurisdictions. The Council of Europe – HELP – reported about the continuous work on Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals.
To access the programme of the seminar and presentations, please click on the links below.
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.
In the framework of the EURALIUS IV project on the ‘Consolidation of the Justice System in Albania’, amendments to the law on Legal Aid have been prepared.
The Albanian Bar Association addressed the CCBE with the request for assistance seeking the advice of CCBE experts regarding the content of the draft law on Legal Aid.
It was decided to organise a one-day roundtable with participation of both EURALIUS and CCBE experts in order to discuss the draft law on legal aid. This roundtable will take place on 16 March 2016 in Tirana, Albania. The following CCBE experts will take part in the roundtable:
- Massimo Audisio, Italy
- Stanislav Balik, Czech Republic
- Aitzol Asla Uribe, Spain
These experts will not only provide concrete examples from their practices but will also give recommendations regarding the content of the draft law on legal aid.
Please find below a draft programme of the round-table.
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.