March 15th, 2017 § § permalink
EEAS has published on the 13 March the 2017 report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Moldova. The report is based on the Association Agenda and the steps taken to implement reforms as per the agreed areas of cooperation. The first area “Political dialogue, good governance and strengthening institutions” concerns, inter alia, the subject of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which the report concludes requires tackling weaknesses in the justice sector. It is also pointed out: “Perceived political interference in the judiciary and law enforcement is a systemic impediment to social and economic development. There have also been instances of judges being prosecuted for their decisions. The same goes for lawyers engaged in high-profile cases. The EU and other international partners have questioned the wide-spread use of pre-trial detention, especially in cases linked to participation in demonstrations.” Read the full document here.
The CCBE has received several reports from the Moldovan Bar Association of cases in which professional rights of lawyer were breached. A letter addressed to public authorities in Moldova regarding these cases was sent beginning January 2017.
March 6th, 2017 § § permalink
The Moldovan Bar Association has issued a press release on 1 March 2017 regarding abuses by state authorities against lawyers. The Bar Association condemns the repeated actions of intimidation and attacks against lawyers initiated by state authorities, such as the criminal charges brought against lawyers Veaceslav Turcan and Maxim Belinschi. The CCBE has addressed a letter of support to the Moldovan lawyers in January 2017.
January 30th, 2017 § § permalink
This post follows-up the post The Republic of Moldova – access to the legal profession.
The national Parliament has abandoned a draft bill after opposition was publicly expressed by the Moldovan Bar Association and other institutions in Moldova (including the Moldovan Women Lawyers Association and the National Anti-Corruption Office) as well as the CCBE. The draft bill contained a clause permitting members of parliament with an experience of 10 years as law-makers to become lawyers without sitting a bar examination and following a traineeship. The CCBE letter to the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova is available here.
January 12th, 2017 § § permalink
The Moldovan Bar Association has issued a public statement and has addressed an open letter to Moldovan authorities on the subject of ongoing violations of lawyers’ rights. The Bar is concerned with numerous cases in which criminal proceedings are started or resumed against lawyers’, breaches of the professional independence and identification of lawyers’ with their clients. The open letter also refers to cases in which Moldovan lawyers are prevented from accesing their clients in detention centers, a situation that is continuing since September 2016. The CCBE has addressed a letter of concern to several authorities in the Republic of Moldova.
January 6th, 2017 § § permalink
On the 21 of December, the ‘Support for the Moldovan Bar’ component rounded up its strategy implementation in a conference organized in Moldova’s capital Chisinau. It registered positive developments in strengthening lawyers’ engagement in society, as well as in international relations with other organizations, including the CCBE. The component is a support group for the national Moldovan Bar and has been active since March 2015. More information can be found here.
November 23rd, 2016 § § permalink
On 18 November 2016, experts from the CCBE – including the former CCBE President, Maria Ślązak – participated in a conference to support the Moldovan Bar’s plans of reform of training of (future) lawyers. The conference was organised by the Council of Europe within the framework of the EU funded ‘Programmatic Cooperation Framework for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgian, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus‘ and hosted by the National Institute of Justice of Moldova. Reforms in the justice sector and the fight against corruption are at the centre of the assistance programmes in Moldova.
The conference allowed for a very lively and fruitful exchange between the Moldovan Bar, headed by Nina Losan, and members of the Bar as well as individual Moldovan lawyers, experts from across Europe (Finland, France, Georgia, Ireland and Poland), and representatives of the European Young Bar Association and European Women Lawyers Association.
The morning session of the conference focused on the continuous training (CT) of lawyers. Moldovan lawyers have to undergo 40 hours of training per year which is high compared to other European countries (see CCBE brief layout on CT of lawyers). There was agreement amongst participants that it would be best for the Moldovan Bar to start with a lower number of hours (to be decided by the Bar) and increase it gradually, as was done by the Georgian Bar Association. The number of hours should be set by the Bar, rather than by the Law. Currently, most of the training activities are organised by (foreign) donors and NGOs, in cooperation with the Moldovan Bar. However, the Bar has started considering how it could offer training courses, for instance, by creating a Training center. The presentations of experts have shown that Bars across Europe organise themselves differently in this respect; whereas the Georgian Bar established a training center (4-7 members of staff), the Finnish Bar has no such centre, the activities are organised by the Bar’s training department (2 members of staff), which works closely with the Finnish Bar Education/Training committee. Discussions have shown that the Bars’ decision as to how to deliver training (e.g. through which structure) will very often depend on a number of factors, including the number of lawyers, the training needs in a specific country, and the CT requirement imposed upon lawyers. Training structures are usually financed by the Bars. The courses will – in most cases – not be free, as membership fees are not sufficient to cover them. Very often, lawyers will therefore have to pay – at least part – of the training course fees. For more information on the countries’ systems, see presentations below.
The afternoon session of the conference was dedicated to the admission into the profession – the presentations delivered at the conference showed how different the rules are (see presentations below). Georgia, for instance, requires future lawyers to have ‘Higher Legal Education’, to pass a Bar exam and to carry out a 1 year traineeship, which includes a 3-months training period at the High School Advocates. The exam is done electronically. It was introduced to counter any allegations of corruption. The Finnish, French, Irish and Polish systems are different from the Georgian regime. Discussions have shown that each country’s system will have developed over years, taking into account the legal and cultural traditions as well as training needs in a certain country, which explains these differences. Most Bars will however provide for Higher Education in Law, a traineeship, and a Bar exam. The participants felt that the Georgian model, in particular the electronic Bar exam, could be something to be considered in Moldova.
The CCBE will continue to provide expertise through its members and will follow with great interest the reforms which will be undertaken as a follow-up to the conference.
Finland, France, Georgia, Ireland
Finland_The Bar Exam, France, Georgia, Assessment and Admission in Ireland (Solicitors)
See also publications on the website of the Bar Association of Moldova (click here) and the National Institute of Justice of the Republic of Moldova which hosted the event (click here) and .
November 9th, 2016 § § permalink
As part of a series of activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Moldovan Bar Association to organise continuous training for lawyers, the “Support to the Moldovan Bar Association” component of the PCF Project on Strengthening the efficiency of justice and support to lawyers’ profession in the Republic of Moldova organised the following events:
- a workshop on the institutionalisation of the lawyers’ continuous training, which took place on 3 November, and
- a training of trainers, which took place on 4-5 November.
Note: the component on the “Support to the Moldovan Bar Association” of the “Strengthening the efficiency of justice and support to lawyers’ profession in the Republic of Moldova” project is funded by the Programmatic Cooperation Framework for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The Council of Europe and European Union are working in partnership with these countries to help them meet Council of Europe benchmarks in human rights, democracy and the rule of law and improve the lives of citizens.
November 10th, 2015 § § permalink
Moldova has a population of 3 555 000 and 1807 lawyers (in 2015). The Bar Association was set up in 1946 and joined the CCBE in 2008. It has twinning agreements with the National Association of Romanian Bars since 2012 and with the State Bar of New Mexico since 2014.
President of the Moldovan Bar, Nina Lozan
Key information about the profession:
- Initial training of lawyers: law degree (4 years); traineeship (18 months); there is an exam as a precondition for beginning the traineeship, and after the traineeship, the candidates are required to pass the final bar exam.
- Continuous training: advocates must undergo 40 hours of training per year. Training is provided by private bodies and donor organisations. All lawyers are subject to yearly control, and non-fulfilment of the training can lead to disciplinary sanctions.
- Specialisation: advocates are free to practice in any legal field. The Law on the Legal Profession recognizes the right of advocates to specialize and to practice law according to the specialization of their choice. However, there is no particular specialisation system.
- Discipline: the Committee on Ethics and Discipline of the Bar is in charge of disciplinary proceedings.
- Legal Aid: it is financed through the state budget and donors contributions. Both criminal and civil law cases are covered by legal aid system. There is a special body created according to the law (National Legal Aid Council). The Bar delegates 2 members to sit at the board.
Current concerns of the Bar and main challenges in the coming years:
- Current concerns: the Bar is worried about certain legal initiatives oriented to allow non-advocates to provide legal assistance in court proceedings. The CCBE shared the Bar’s concern (see CCBE letter of April 2015).
- Main challenges: Improving the quality for professional qualification of advocates; Strengthening the community of advocates; Creating better conditions for advocate’s activity; Improving the management efficiency/transparency of the Bar’s governing bodies; Bettering compliance by advocates with ethics rules.