Ukraine: EC Support Group Activity Report – The first 18 months

October 28th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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The European Commission Support Group for Ukraine published today an Activity Report on the first 18 months of its work. Amongst others, the report provides a summary on reforms spanning anti-corruption and rule of law: “In the justice sector, Ukrainian reform efforts focused on amendments to the Constitution (concerning the judiciary) and – partially linked to that – the vetting of judges and prosecutors. (…) Another main area of reform is the system for the enforcement of judgments. Draft legislation envisages the introduction of a profession of private bailiffs which would coexist for a transitional period with the state enforcement officers. (…) Latterly it has been decided that an overall programme in support of rule of law reform should be developed, in order to bring EU resources to bear in a more comprehensive and effective manner. The new programme is due to start in 2017.”

The report can be downloaded here; see also the EC fact-sheet.

Violation of lawyers’ professional and human rights in Ukraine

August 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

28 July 2016, as a follow-up to new cases of lawyers’ rights violations in Ukraine, the CCBE sent a letter to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. The reported violations that were brought to the CCBE’s attention include, but are not limited to: physical violence, violation of human and professional rights, unlawful search and seizure, refusal of an access to a client, unlawful wiretapping and identifying a lawyer with a client.

Given the crucial role of lawyers in the administration of justice, and in the maintaining and defence of the rule of law, the CCBE condemned the aforementioned violations. It pointed out that, in many of the cases mentioned, it was law enforcement authorities that committed the abuses. In this context, the CCBE stressed the importance of safeguarding lawyers’ rights, as their violation will inevitably have an impact on the right of Ukrainian citizens to a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. As the lawyers are central in ensuring the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the CCBE respectfully asked the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the facts mentioned in the letter, and to take all measures to prevent future abuses.

CCBE highlights concerns about recent killings of lawyers and violations of lawyers’ rights in Ukraine

April 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

On 5 April 2016, the CCBE sent a letter to the President of Ukraine to express its deepest concern over murders of four lawyers in Ukraine:  Yuri Grabovski, Viktor Loiko, Oleksandr Gruzkov, and Yuriy Ignatenko. The CCBE respectfully urged the President to take effective steps to ensure that these murders are thoroughly and independently investigated and to guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Ukraine are able to perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation, or harassment.

In a follow-up to this, on 6 April 2016, the CCBE sent a letter to the Ukrainian authorities (President, Prime Minister and Acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine) supporting the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) request to stop violations of lawyers’ rights in Ukraine. The CCBE has received information from the UNBA about numerous cases of violations of lawyers’ rights in connection with the searches and seizures of lawyer’s offices, and of summoning lawyers to witness against their clients. The CCBE strongly condemned these violations and recommended that the Ukrainian authorities take all necessary steps in order to guarantee that all relevant provisions of both international and national law are respected. The CCBE emphasized that lawyers play a vital role in the administration of justice and in maintaining and defending the rule of law and therefore, their rights should not be disregarded.

CCBE and IBA report on the CCBE-IBA-ELF-UNBA Joint Conference on Representation by Advocates in Court Proceedings in Ukraine

March 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The report on the CCBE-IBA-ELF-UNBA joint conference on ‘Representation by Advocates in Court Proceedings’ in Kiev on 5-6 June was completed in February 2016. This conference brought together European expert speakers with representatives from the Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA), advocates as well as representatives from European and international organisations. The final report contains information on presentations of experts during the conference, and recommendations on improving the quality of legal services in Ukraine. The report will assist the Bar in their further dealings with public authorities in order to ensure representation by advocates in courts.

Full report can be found here.

Joint CoE-UNBA-CCBE event on Strategic Planning, Kyiv, Ukraine.

October 12th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

On the 9 and 10 October 2015, in Kyiv, the Council of Europe, jointly with the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) and the CCBE, held an event on strategic planning. CCBE President Maria Ślązak, along with experts from the Bars of Finland, Lithuania and Scotland, participated in this conference, the purpose of which was to provide examples from their practices which could be of assistance to the Ukrainian National Bar Association.

Oxana Gutu UNBA Head Lidiya Izovitova CCBE President Maria Ślązak

Oxana Gutu, Council of Europe
Lidiya Izovitova, Head of UNBA
Maria Ślązak, CCBE President

The objectives of this conference were that the participants would acquire and upgrade their understanding on the purpose and use of strategic planning; learn from other European Bar Associations’ experiences on Strategic Planning; and be able to formulate the key elements of drafting of the Strategy leading to agreement on high-level strategy (e.g. mission, vision, strategic objectives).

The audience benefited from a combination of presentations of Strategic Planning experiences from European Bar Associations, training methods and practical group work.

The results should help the Ukrainian National Bar Association to formulate a strategy and an Action Plan for the coming five years.

June 2015 – CCBE-IBA-ELF-UNBA Joint Conference on Representation by Advocates in Court Proceedings in Kiev, Ukraine

September 18th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Maria Ślązak , CCBE President, at the joint conference in Kiev

Maria Ślązak , CCBE President

On 5-6 June 2015, the IBA, UNBA, CCBE and ELF held a successful joint conference on ‘Representation by Advocates in Court Proceedings’ in Kiev which brought together European expert speakers with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA), advocates as well as representatives of European and international organisations (see conference programme and presentations). Under current Ukrainian legislation, any person in Ukraine – without legal education – can provide legal advice to clients and represent them in courts in civil proceedings. The UNBA has been urging the government to change the law so that only advocates can represent clients in civil court proceedings. The CCBE President, Maria Ślązak, who participated in this conference, presented the CCBE views on the issue of representation by lawyers in court proceedings (in support of the UNBA position), which are also set out in a letter sent to the authorities in Ukraine on 26 March 2015. The IBA and CCBE hope to publish a final report with recommendations in the coming weeks. The report should assist the Bar in their further dealings with the public authorities in order to ensure representation by advocates in courts.