CCBE: Human Rights Award 2017 is granted to Georgian lawyer Zaza Khatiashvili

November 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


On 24 November 2017, during the Plenary Session in Brussels, the CCBE granted its 2017 Human Rights Award to the Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association Zaza Khatiashvili.
Mr. Zaza Khatiashvili has been active in the defence of human rights in the international area and at the national stage.
Read more.

CCBE supports the Georgian Bar Association’s proposed reforms

September 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The CCBE addressed a letter to the Georgian Parliament in which it expressed its full support to the reforms proposed by the Georgian Bar Association. The CCBE urged the Parliament to take forward the following proposals:

(-) To end the existing prohibition of the Bar President to practice

A CCBE survey in 2015, showed that in none of the responding countries (23), the Bar President was prohibited from practicing. Bars and Law Societies consider it crucial that their presidents are practicing lawyers as they are aware through their daily practice about the prevailing issues that the profession is facing. Prohibiting a Bar President to practice would constitute a real economic risk as the he/she might loose his/her client base during tenure. The matter is traditionally part of the self-regulatory competences of the bars and law societies.

(-) To provide for a comprehensive framework for the internship programme

According to the proposals of the Georgian Bar Association, future lawyers would have to follow three months of training at the High School of Advocates which includes courses on legal skills, management skills, as well as other professional skills which are important to the practice of the profession. The trainee lawyers would then need to carry out nine months of practical training in a law firm, supervised by a lawyer. Trainee lawyers will need to observe the standards of professional conduct of the Georgian Bar during their internship. The CCBE believes that the proposed reform will greatly contribute to further a high standard of legal training and professional competence. They take account of the CCBE Training Outcomes for European Lawyers of 2007.

The CCBE letter can be downloaded here.

Violations of lawyers’ rights in Georgia

May 2nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

On 26 April the CCBE addressed a letter to several authorities in Georgia regarding cases of violations of lawyer’s rights. The letter is based on reports from the Georgian Bar Association detailing circumstances in which lawyers were abused while discharging their functions and harassed or intimidated while defending their clients. The CCBE shared the concerns of the Georgian Bar Association and stands by their call to the Georgian Parliament to tackle the ongoing attacks against lawyers. Read the full letter here.

Report on the conference in Tbilisi, Georgia

September 22nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

An international conference on ‘Bar associations for independent, qualified and ethical exercise of the profession of lawyer’ took place on 20-21 June in Tbilisi, Georgia. In addition to Georgia, the following countries were represented at the event: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine. The CCBE was represented by the CCBE First Vice President Ruthven Gemmell WS.

The conference was divided into three sessions:

  • Bar associations’ practices in lawyers training;
  • The roles of the bar associations in professional deontology;
  • Bar associations role in defending lawyers’ rights.

As the discussions during session on ‘Bar associations’ practices in lawyers training’ revealed, the participating bar associations have similar training models and systems. In the sphere of continuous training, all bar associations retain independence from point of view of planning, funding, and content of training courses. The main difference lies in the number of training units and time periods over which these units shall be accumulated.

At the session on ‘The roles of the bar associations in professional deontology’, it was emphasised that the functions of discipline and ethics should be separated. Among other points, the participants discussed the effectiveness of disciplinary sanctions, noting that they should be proportionate to the violation.

In the course of discussions during the session on ‘Bar associations role in defending lawyers’ rights’, it was identified that further activities should be carried out with regard to the following issues: freedom of expression, free access to client, safeguarding of confidentiality, for instance, inadmissibility of search of a lawyer’s office/home without informing a bar association, ensuring equal treatment by courts of defence lawyers and prosecution. The participants also spoke about importance of international cooperation.

To read the full report of the conference, please click here.

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.

Twinning agreement between Georgian and Polish Lawyers

April 5th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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The Polish and Georgian Bars organise regular consultations and exchanges of views on matters discussed by the CCBE Standing Committee and Plenary Sessions, and also take part in various events organised by each Bar. After participation of the Delegation of the Polish Bar of Legal Advisers in the 10th Anniversary of the independent legal profession in Georgia, another meeting took place within the framework of the Twinning Agreement signed in Gdańsk last year. On 11 March 2016, two Georgian human rights defenders, Mr Fridon Sikhuashvili and Ms Klara Shukvani, were awarded during the 8th Gala of the Crystal Heart, organised once a year by the Polish Bar of Legal Advisers to honour lawyers with outstanding achievements and activities in the field of pro bono work. Georgian laureates are particularly active in representing lawyers whose rights have been violated, including Mzia Tomashvili the lawyer whose case has been mentioned in the letter of concern sent by the CCBE last year.

For further information please see the letter written by the CCBE on the situation of lawyers in Georgia.

The 10th anniversary of the Georgian Bar Association

November 13th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


CCBE President Maria Ślązak receiving the Order of Luarsab Andronikashvili

On 7 November 2015, CCBE President Maria Ślązak attended a conference, in Tbilisi, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Georgian Bar Association. The theme of this conference was “Freedom of Lawyers’ Profession and Institutional Guarantees”. It was attended by expert speakers from the Parliament of Georgia, the Scottish/English Bar, the Netherlands Bar, the Belgian Bar, and the French Bar. There were also other international delegations present from the Polish, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan Bars. The discussion centred on the freedom of the legal profession and lawyers’ rights in Georgia, the international guarantees of free advocacy and European standard, lawyers defending rights of lawyers, and institutional guarantees of legal practice. The speakers’ presentations were highly appreciated by Georgian lawyers who showed great interest in the developments and experience in other European countries. There was a fruitful discussion on the problems faced by Georgian lawyers in their daily practice, which highlighted the need to continuously raise issues at both national and international levels. To date, the CCBE has sent letters to various Georgian and European Authorities to raise concerns about the continuing violations of rights of lawyers in Georgia in February 2014, June 2014 and May 2015. 

 In the framework of the event, Maria Ślązak was awarded with the Order of Luarsab Andronikashvili for her generous contribution to the development of the Georgian Bar Association and to the protection of lawyer’s rights. Maria Ślązak is the first ever foreign lawyer to be awarded with the Order of Georgian Bar Association.