On 5 April 2016, the Parliament of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia adopted a new Law on Notarial Practice. The new Law on Notarial Practice abolishes the notarial act as a mandatory act. According to the new law, legal documents shall be drafted as private documents by lawyers and then validated by public notaries. In addition, the new legal solution provides for the presence of attorneys and mandatory lawyer stamps in all proceedings that are of essential importance to the citizens. Adoption of the new law means that, from now on, lawyers will be active participants in more legal situations. The text of the full law can be downloaded here in Macedonian.
“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has a population of 2.000.000 and 2300 lawyers (in 2015). The Macedonian Bar Association was set up in 1945 and joined the CCBE in 2001.
Key information about the profession:
- Initial training of lawyers: Master in Law degree (5 years); traineeship 1 year if it is with law firm, court or prosecutor, 2 years if it is with companies. After the training period, the trainee must pass the judicial exam conducted by the Ministry of Justice. It is the same exam for lawyers, judges and prosecutors.
- Continuous training: the trainings are organised by the Bar and are accessible on the Bar’s website. They are run in cooperation with the judicial academy and international organisations.
- Specialisation: this depends on the individual needs of the practicing lawyers.
- Discipline: the following organs are in charge of the disciplinary proceedings in the Bar: the disciplinary prosecutor, disciplinary court, and the appeal council. All these organs are elected by the Annual Assembly of the Macedonian Bar Association with a 4 year mandate. The lawyer can challenge the final decision of the Appeal Council by appealing to the Administrative court of the country.
- Legal Aid: the law for free legal aid was implemented in July 2010. It is organised through the Ministry of Justice. Free legal aid is available in criminal and civil proceedings. It is granted in all judicial and administrative procedures, provided they concern matters of interest for the legal aid beneficiary, such as the rights in the area of social, health, pension and disability insurance, labor relations, protection of children, victims of domestic violence, protection of victims of criminal offenses, the protection of victims of trafficking, recognizing the right of asylum and legal property issues.
Current concerns of the Bar and main challenges in the coming years:
- Non equality of the parties in criminal proceedings.
- Extension of the scope of power of the notary public and the impact this has on the lawyers’ work.
- Representation in civil procedures by relatives of the parties and non-licenced representatives of the legal entities.
- Protection of the independence of the profession from interference by state organs and the need for equality of parties in all procedures.
- Protection of the scope of the work.