October 2

Express your solidarity with Belarussian lawyers!

We invite all of you to join two actions that shows solidarity of legal community with detained Belarussian Colleagues:

1. Postcard for imprisoned Lawyers in Belarus

This project advocates for all Belarusian lawyers persecuted and imprisoned on political grounds. Its aim is to demonstrate our support and firmly oppose to violations of their professional and human rights. At the moment the project involves three Belarusian lawyers who were arrested due to their involvement in Belarusian democracy movement.

Who are they?

1. Mrs Liliya Vlasova, is an experienced lawyer and a well-known legal mediator. After presidential election she joined the presidium of the Belarusian Coordination Council.
2. Mr Maxim Znak, is an advocate and a Doctor of Law. After presidential election he joined the presidium of the Belarusian Coordination Council.
3. Mr Ilja Salej, is an advocate, who began his legal practice in 2019. Recently he represented Maria Kolesnikova (member of the presidium of the Belarusian Coordination Council).

How can we help?

There are many forms of delivering them help, however at this stage we would like to encourage you to send a postcard to one or more imprisoned Belarusian lawyers. One of the examples of the postcards can be a view of your city or symbols of your country to show geographically wide scope of solidarity.

– Text should be politically neutral;
– It is important to indicate the addressee’s full name on the postcard or envelope;
– If you would like to get a response from a prisoner, add a blank sheet of paper and a new envelope to your letter.

Below we present an example of the content of the postcard.

Dear Colleague, Dear Friend,
I express my support and solidarity with you. I respect your fight for human rights and for fundamental values of the legal profession. I am a lawyer from ……………… and our entire community is deeply concerned about the situation in Belarus. My thoughts are with you. You will not be forgotten!

With all my admiration and appreciation,

Nevertheless, please do not hesitate to write something from yourself, this is only an example of the postcard.

Address details:

1. Liliya Vladimirovna Vlasova, 1 Pretrial isolation Centre, st. Volodarskogo 2, 220030 Minsk, Belarus
2. Maxim Alexandrovich Znak, 1 Pretrial isolation Centre, st. Volodarskogo 2, 220030 Minsk, Belarus
3. Ilja Wasiljewicz Salej, 1 Pretrial isolation Centre, st. Volodarskogo 2, 220030 Minsk, Belarus

1. Лилия Владимировна Власова, СИЗО 1, ул. Володарского, 2, 220030 Минск, Беларусь
2. Максим Аляксандравіч Знак, СИЗО 1, ул. Володарского, 2, 220030 Минск, Беларусь
3. Илия Васильевич Салей, СИЗО 1, ул. Володарского, 2, 220030 Минск, Беларусь

2. Solidarity banner on your website

You can find below banners (in four languages) that can be published on your website. We will be delighted if you encourage your Bar/Organization as well as individual colleagues to publish flyers on their websites as well.

September 25

Statement on Belarus

The European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) has been approached by the Human Rights Foundation in Oslo and by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland with the request to support statement on situation of lawyers in Belarus. Advocates faces many obstacles, threats and – some of them – are imprisoned for performing their professional duties. Please find below text of the Statement (in English and in Russian), cosigned by the number of Bar Associations and organizations of lawyers:

Open statement in connection with the detention of Belarusian lawyers Ilya Salei and Maksim Znak
September 10, 2020

We express our deep concern at the detention of lawyers Ilya Salei and Maksim Znak on September 9, 2020, in Belarus, in a criminal case which is undeniably politically motivated. We consider this to be a gross violation and interference with their professional legal activities and with their rights to express professional opinions, as established by international legal standards. This case is a direct consequence of a dire situation, problems and violations of professional rights of attorneys and lawyers and overall functioning of the legal profession in the Republic of Belarus. These problems were highlighted by both international organizations and representatives of the legal community before.

According to information posted on the website of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus, “the investigation of the criminal case opened by the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus under Part 3 of Art. 361 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. At the moment, in the course of the investigation, evidence has been obtained that testify to the commission by individuals of a non-governmental organization called the Coordination Council, actions aimed at destabilizing the socio-political, economic situation and public awareness in the country, causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus. These actions were carried out using the media and internet resources. With regard to the suspects Maria Kolesnikova and Maksim Znak, with the approval of the prosecutor, a preventive measure was chosen in the form of detention. Ilya Salei was also detained on suspicion of committing this crime.”

However, detained Ilya Salei is a lawyer of Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leaders of the Belarusian protest movement and a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, who is also in jail. Second detained lawyer Maksim Znak was representing Viktor Babariko, who ran for the President of the Republic of Belarus, but was not allowed to register as a candidate and was recognized as a political prisoner. Maksim Znak was also an attorney for the former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, on whose behalf he created the Coordination Council. As a member of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council, Maxim Znak was providing legal assistance as an attorney. Maxim Znak’s lawyer Dmitry Laevsky notes: “all his statements, appeals, comments were public, transparent, their content was absolutely legal and did not carry any illegal intentions.”

We would like to emphasize that, in accordance with the United Nation’s Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers , governments must ensure that lawyers can perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference. Lawyers, like other citizens, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights, and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful actions or their membership in a lawful organization.

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee appealed to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers with a report about the situation of lawyers Maksim Znak and Ilya Salei. The report called for urgent action to be taken in connection with the detention of the lawyers and requested to send an urgent message to the Government of Belarus on the need to comply with the Basic Principles concerning the role of lawyers.

Belarusian lawyers and jurists have made an open statement in connection with the detention of their colleagues.
We also demand from the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to:
– immediately release lawyers Maksim Znak and Ilya Salei and comply with international legal standards of the independence of legal profession and the exercise of the right to defense;
– stop the persecution of lawyers and attorneys who are exercising their constitutional right of free expression by expressing their opinions while performing professional functions;
– strictly observe the provisions of Art. 62 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus: “everyone has the right to exercise and protect rights and freedoms, including the right to use at any time the assistance of lawyers and their other representatives in court, other state bodies, local government bodies, at enterprises, institutions, organizations, public associations and in relations with officials and citizens. Opposition to the provision of legal assistance in the Republic of Belarus is prohibited by law.”

1. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland
2. ARTICLE 19, United Kingdom
3. The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe
4. The Bar Association of Luxembourg
5. The Swedish Bar Association
6. The French and German speaking bars association of Belgium AVOCATS.BE
7. The European Association of Lawyers AEA-EAL
8. Lawyers for Lawyers, The Netherlands
9. FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
10. Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights YUCOM, Serbia
11. OMCT World Organisation Against Torture
12. Human Rights House Foundation, Norway
13. Centre de la protection internationale, France
14. Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania
15. International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), Belgium
16. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee
17. Freedom Now, USA
18. Crude Accountability, USA
19. All-Ukrainian Association of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid – Odesa Division, Ukraine
20. Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia
21. Pskov Regional Human Rights Environmental Public Movement “Svobodnyi Bereg”, Russia
22. Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Alternative, Ukraine
23. German-Russian Exchange in St. Petersburg
24. Stichting CAAT Projects, The Netherlands
25. MEMORIAL Deutschland e. V. Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, Germany
26. Legal Policy Research Center, Kazakhstan
27. Public Association Dignity, Kazakhstan
28. Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
29. Belarusian Helsinki Committee
30. Human Constanta, Belarus
31. Center for Participation and Development, Georgia
32. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor, Armenia
33. Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement, Ukraine
34. SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, Russia
35. Souchastiye v Sud’be, Blagotvoritel’nyy Tsentr, Russia
36. Human Rights Embassy, Moldova
37. Libereco Partnership for Human Rights, Germany
38. Public Verdict Foundation, Russia
39. Human Rights Group “Grazhdanin, armia, pravo”, Russia
40. DRA – German-Russian Exchange, Germany
41. Social Action Centre, Ukraine
42. Helsinki Committee of Armenia
43. Helsinki association, Armenia
44. Macedonian Helsinki Committee
45. Swedish OSCE-network
46. Albanian Helsinki Committee
47. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
48. Women of the Don, Russia
49. Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia
50. Human Rights House Zagreb, Croatia
51. Human Rights Center, Georgia
52. Mogilev Human Rights Center, Belarus
53. Netherlands Helsinki Committee
54. Human Rights Center ZMINA, Ukraine
55. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
56. “Ekumena” Center, Belarus
57. Youth Memorial – Perm, Russia
58. Human Rights House in Chernihiv, Ukraine
59. The Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
60. Östgruppen – Swedish initiative for democracy and human rights, Sweden
61. IDP Women Association Consent, Georgia
62. Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Kazakhstan
63. Czech Bar Association, The Czech Republic (tbc)
64. Civil Initiative Against Lawlessness in Courts and Prosecutor’s Office, Belarus
65. AED-EDL (Avocat.e.s Européennes Démocrates / European Democratic Lawyers), Barcelona, Spain
66. Freedom House, USA
67. Independent Social Ecological Movement – NESEHNUTI, Brno, The Czech Republic
68. Stichting CAAT Projects, the Netherlands
69. La Asociación Libre de Abogados, Spain
70. RAW for Women and Girl Survivors of War (Raw in War)
71. Citizens Network Watchdog, Poland
72. ORDRE DES AVOCATS DE PARIS / Paris Bar, France
73. The Сouncil of the Warsaw Bar Association of Advocates, Poland
74. Russian LGBT Network
75. Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum
76. Freedom of Religion and Believe – FORB, Belarus
77. Human Rights Center Memorial, Russia

78. Khusanbai Saliev, lawyer, Bir Duino-Osh, Kyrgyzstan
79. Valerian Vakhitov, lawyer, Bir Duino-Osh, Kyrgyzstan
80. Lyudmila Ulyashina, Human Rights Advocate, PhD in Law, Associate Professor, European Humanities University
81. Lyubov Moseyeva-Elye, Legal Adviser, Kaluga Movement For Human Rights, Russia
82. Magomed Mutsolgov, journalist and human rights activist, Ingushetia, Russia
83. Dina Shautsova, Lawyer, Belarus

Belarus Statement_lawyers_Ilia Saley_Maksim Znak_ost

Открытое заявление в связи с задержанием белорусских адвокатов Ильи Салея и Максима Знака
10 сентября 2020 года

Мы выражаем глубокое возмущение задержанием 9 сентября 2020 года в Беларуси адвокатов Ильи Салея и Максима Знака в рамках политически-мотивированного уголовного дела. Считаем это грубым вмешательством в возможность свободного и беспрепятственного осуществления их профессиональной юридической деятельности и права на выражения адвокатами своего профессионального мнения, гарантированных международно-правовыми стандартами. Данная ситуация является прямым следствием множества проблем и нарушений в области осуществления права на защиту и функционирования адвокатуры в целом в Республике Беларусь, на которые уже не раз обращали внимание как международные организации, так и представители адвокатского сообщества.

По информации, размещенной на сайте Главного следственного управления Следственного комитета Республики Беларусь «продолжается расследование уголовного дела, возбужденного Генеральной прокуратурой Республики Беларусь по ч.3 ст. 361 Уголовного кодекса Республики Беларусь. В настоящий момент в ходе расследования получены доказательства, свидетельствующие о совершении отдельными лицами, входящими в состав негосударственной организации, именуемой «Координационный совет», действий, направленных на дестабилизацию социально-политической, экономической и информационной обстановки в стране, причинении вреда национальной безопасности Республики Беларусь. Указанные действия совершались с использованием СМИ и интернет-ресурсов. В отношении подозреваемых Марии Колесниковой и Максима Знака с санкции прокурора избрана мера пресечения в виде заключения под стражу. Также по подозрению в совершении указанного преступления задержан Илья Салей».

Однако Илья Салей является адвокатом находящейся в СИЗО Марии Колесниковой, одной из лидерок белорусского протестного движения, члена Президиума Координационного совета . Максим Знак был адвокатом Виктора Бабарико, баллотировавшегося в Президенты Республики Беларусь, но не зарегистрированного кандидатом и признанного политическим заключенным, а также – адвокатом бывшего кандидата в Президенты Светланы Тихановской, по поручению которой он предпринимал действия по созданию Координационного совета. Являясь членом Президиума Координационного Совета, Максим Знак осуществлял адвокатскую деятельность, которая заключалась в оказании юридической помощи. Как отмечает адвокат Максима Знака Дмитрий Лаевский: «все его заявления, обращения, комментарии были публичными, прозрачными, их содержание было абсолютно законным и не несло в себе каких-то незаконных намерений».

Хотим подчеркнуть, что в соответствии с Основными принципами, касающимися роли юристов , правительства должны обеспечить, чтобы юристы могли выполнять все свои профессиональные обязанности в обстановке, свободной от угроз, препятствий, запугивания или неоправданного вмешательства. Юристы, как и другие граждане, имеют право на свободу выражения мнения, убеждений и собраний. В частности, они имеют право принимать участие в общественных дискуссиях по вопросам, касающимся права, отправления правосудия и поощрения и защиты прав человека, и быть членами местных, национальных или международных организаций или создавать их и принимать участие в их заседаниях, не подвергаясь ограничению своей профессиональной деятельности вследствие своих законных действий или членства в законной организации.

Белорусский Хельсинкский Комитет обратился к Специальному докладчику ООН по вопросу о независимости судей и адвокатов с сообщением о ситуации с адвокатами Максимом Знаком и Ильей Салеем , где призвал предпринять незамедлительные действия в связи с задержанием адвокатов и направить правительству Беларуси срочное сообщение о необходимости соблюдения основных принципов, касающихся роли юристов.

Белорусские адвокаты и юристы сделали открытое заявление в связи с задержанием их коллег.
Мы также требуем от властей Республики Беларусь:
– незамедлительно освободить адвокатов Максима Знака и Илью Салея и соблюдать международно-правовые гарантии независимости адвокатской деятельности и реализации права на защиту;
– прекратить преследование юристов и адвокатов, которые, реализуя конституционное право на свободное выражение мнений и убеждений , высказывают свое мнение в рамках профессиональной деятельности;
– неукоснительно соблюдать положения ст. 62 Конституции Республики Беларусь: «каждый имеет право для осуществления и защиты прав и свобод, в том числе права пользоваться в любой момент помощью адвокатов и других своих представителей в суде, иных государственных органах, органах местного управления, на предприятиях, в учреждениях, организациях, общественных объединениях и в отношениях с должностными лицами и гражданами. Противодействие оказанию правовой помощи в Республике Беларусь запрещено законом» .
1. Хельсинкский фонд по правам человека, Польша
2. ARTICLE 19, Великобритания
3. Совет коллегий адвокатов и юридических обществ Европы (CCBE)
4. Коллегия адвокатов Люксембурга
5. Коллегия адвокатов Швеции
6. Ассоциация франко- и немецкоязычных адвокатов Бельгии AVOCATS.BE
7. Европейская ассоциация юристов AEA-EAL
8. Lawyers for Lawyers, Нидерланды
9. Международная Федерация за права человека
10. Комитет юристов по правам человека «YUCOM», Сербия
11. Всемирная организация против пыток
12. Фонд домов прав человека, Норвегия
13. Центр международной защиты, Франция
14. Институт мониторинга прав человека, Литва
15. Международное партнерство за права человека, Бельгия
16. Норвежский Хельсинкский комитет
17. Freedom Now, США
18. Crude Accountability, США
19. Одесское обособленное подразделение Общественной организации “Всеукраинское объединение адвокатов, оказывающих бесплатную правовую помощь”, Украина
20. Центр развития демократии и прав человека, Россия
21. Псковское региональное правозащитное экологическое общественное движение «Свободный берег», Россия
22. Харьковский региональный фонд «Общественная альтернатива», Украина
23. Немецко-русский обмен, Санкт-Петербург, Россия
24. Stichting CAAT Projects, Нидерланды
25. MEMORIAL Deutschland e. V. Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, Германия
26. Центр исследования правовой политики, Казахстан
27. ОО «Кадiр-касиет», Казахстан
28. Общественное объединение «Правозащитное движение: Бир Дуйно Кыргызстан»
29. Белорусский Хельсинкский Комитет
30. Human Constanta, Беларусь
31. Center for Participation and Development, Грузия
32. Хельсинкская гражданская ассамблея – Ванадзор, Армения
33. Ассоциация украинских мониторов соблюдения прав человека в деятельности правоохранительных органов, Украина
34. Информационно-аналитический центр “Сова”, Россия
35. Благотворительный центр «Соучастие в судьбе», Россия
36. Посольство прав человека, Молдова
37. Партнерство по правам человека «Либерэко», Германия
38. Фонд «Общественный вердикт», Россия
39. Правозащитная группа “Гражданин.Армия.Право”
40. ДРА – Немецко-русский обмен, Германия
41. Центр «Социальное действие», Украина
42. Хельсинкский комитет Армении
43. Хельсинкская Ассоциация, Армения
44. Македонский Хельсинкский комитет
45. Сеть ОБСЕ, Швеция
46. Албанский Хельсинкский комитет
47. Болгарский Хельсинкский комитет
48. Женщины Дона, Россия
49. Московская Хельсинкская группа, Россия
50. Дом прав человека – Загреб, Хорватия
51. Центр прав человека, Грузия
52. Общественное объединение Могилёвский правозащитный центр, Беларусь
53. Нидерландский Хельсинкский комитет
54. Центр по правам человека «ЗМИНА», Украина
55. Беларусский дом прав человека им. Б. Звозскова
56. Центр “Экумена”, Беларусь
57. Молодёжный Мемориал, г. Пермь, Россия
58. Образовательный дом прав человека – Чернигов, Украина
59. Грузинский центр психосоциальной и медицинской реабилитации жертв пыток
60. Östgruppen – Swedish initiative for democracy and human rights, Швеция
61. Ассоциация вынужденно переселенных женщин «Согласие», Грузия
62. Казахстанское международное бюро по правам человека и соблюдению законности, Казахстан
63. Чешская коллегия адвокатов, Чешская Республика (подтверждается)
64. Гражданская инициатива против беззакония в судах и прокуратуре, Беларусь
65. AED-EDL (Avocat.e.s Européennes Démocrates), Барселона, Испания
66. Freedom House, США
67. Независимое социально-экологическое движение – NESEHNUTI, Брно, Чешская Республика
68. Stichting CAAT Projects, Нидерланды
69. La Asociación Libre de Abogados, Испания
70. RAW for Women and Girl Survivors of War (Raw in War)
71. Гражданская сеть Watchdog, Польша
72. Парижская коллегия адвокатов, Франция
73. Областной адвокатский Cовет Варшавской ассоциации адвокатов, Польша
74. Российская ЛГБТ-сеть, Россия
75. Правление Гражданского форума ЕС-Россия
76. Экспертно-правовое товарищество «Инициатива FORB», Беларусь
77. Правозащитный Центр “Мемориал”, Россия

78. Хусанбай Салиев, адвокат Бир Дуйно-Ош, Кыргызстан
79. Валерьян Вахитов, адвокат Бир Дуйно-Ош, Кыргызстан
80. Людмила Ульяшина, адвокат прав человека, доктор права, ассоциированный профессор, руководитель Комитета Программы “Международное право и право ЕС”, Европейский гуманитарный университет
81. Любовь Мосеева-Элье, юрисконсульт Калужского движения “За права человека”
82. Магомед Муцольгов, журналист и правозащитник Ингушетия, Российская Федерация
83. Дина Шавцова, юрист, Беларусь

Заявление_адвокаты_Илья Салей_Максим Знак_ost

September 15

Report from the 2nd Twinning of Lawyers

Second Twinning of Lawyers

September 12, 2020 10.00 (CET)

For the second time representatives of Bar Associations and individual lawyers from more than 15 countries gathered together to discuss, exchange knowledge and experiences but above all to get together. Due to Covid-19 pandemic the meeting had a form of online conference. The whole event was divided into two parts:

/1/ a scientific seminar devoted to eLawyering and eLaw Firm

/2/ a networking meeting and exchange news on important developments in participating countries

Twinning was officially opened by Maria Ślązak, AEA-EAL President, who welcomed all participants and underlined the idea of the Twinning – connecting people not only on professional grounds but also by building closer personal relations. That is why  during meeting in person, guests are hosted by local lawyers at their homes, various networking activities are organised and scientific seminar is one of important, bot not the main part of the event. She referred to her long-lasting engagement in cooperation with a number of bar Councils from Bilbao, Erlangen, Exeter, Gdańsk, Leuven, Rennes and Verona, which is an example of successful twinning activities for more than 20 years!

Being forced to organize the Twinning as online event, we did our best to preserve its networking spirit of mutual understanding, support and trust. Maria noted that all lawyers should have something common – fundamental values such as independence and professional secrecy guarding the right of citizens to the fair trial.

During the Twinning an intervention was given by Lilit Daneghian-Bossler, Head of Unit in Council of Europe, who expressed her gratitude for organizing the Twinning of Lawyers and noted that new technologies must be used always in secure and ethical way. COE has issued a number of Policy, recommendations, declarations, guidelines and other legal instruments on artificial intelligence and other technology tools. The most recent is Recommendation CM/Rec(2020)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems including Guidelines on addressing the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems. Regarding human rights “states should ensure that they, as well as any private actors engaged to work with them or on their behalf, regularly and consultatively conduct human rights impact assessments prior to public procurement, during development, at regular milestones, and throughout their context-specific deployment in order to identify the risks of rights-adverse outcomes. Confidentiality considerations or trade secrets should not inhibit the implementation of effective human rights impact assessments.” Participants were welcomed also by Olena Dzhaburiya, Deputy Dean of the Odessa Bar Council, who hosted all participants virtually on the beautiful city of Odessa expressing her hope to see each other in person next year. Jerzy Mosek, Dean of the Gdańsk Bar of Attorneys-at-Law, who was the host of the first twinning last year. Jerzy said that in today’s world, there is an ever-increasing flow of people, capital and information. We have to face the challenges and threats posed by globalization. Learning about the legal systems, organizational solutions and practices of individual countries becomes an element of our legal qualifications. This in itself justifies the need for lawyers from different countries to cooperate, not to mention the benefits of getting to know each other and getting rid of the existing prejudices, which are usually caused by the lack of reliable knowledge or information. The international cooperation of lawyers and the exchange of experiences related to it, is also one of the tools to improve the quality of our services to clients. After welcoming speeches Maxym Popov told a few words about Odessa and participants watched a short movie showing the beauty of the city.

Then the first, scientific part of the Twinning of Lawyers devoted to eLawyering and eLaw Firm began.

The first panel started with introductory remarks by Alex Tallon (Belgium), moderator of the panel, who said that The existence of virtual law offices and eLawyering is a reality. The bars and their organizations must also frame and encourage this. Adaptation to modern technologies by a professional group that is particularly dependent on the organization and cooperation of the members of a partnership is essential. To forbid some form of use of modern technologies on the basis of a conservative approach to certain basic values is pernicious. The virtual law office allows the efficient and smooth provision of services for the client and reduces costs, which is a competitive requirement. In the current European context, it is important for law firms not to miss the train of modernity. Alex made also very practical remarks on how the organization of a modern office looks like, what are benefits and disadvantages, he showed also deontological framework of the virtual law office and position of international organizations of lawyers on the issue. Vladimir Palamarciuc (Moldova) was talking on moldovan perspective of legal and practical developments on-line as well as on impact on exercise and functioning of the profession of lawyer. Artashes Khalatyan (Armenia) spoke, among others, on “Mullbery” electronic system of document flow operates in the Staff of the Chamber and Public Defender Office via which online circulation and supervision of assignments, as well as entering and exiting documents is secured. Alina Gorbatscheva from Brest (Belarus) presented developments of online tools by Republican Collegium of Advocates of Belarus including electronic system of (anonymous) questions from citizens and responses from lawyers. Altay Mustafayev (Azerbaijan) described well-advanced system in Azerbaijan including online database of all advocates, e-mailbox for each advocate, secure e-meetings, e-order (advocate appointment), e-training, e-appeals and legal aid mobile app. Sergiey Sizintsev (Kazakhstan) informed that since the beginning of spring 2020, all civil trials and almost all criminal trials have been conducted online in Kazakhstan.

The second panel on professional ethics in  the context of eLawyering was conducted by Olena Dzhaburiya, who told that lawyers are increasingly using artificial intelligence (“AI”) and new forms of interaction both with colleagues and partners and with clients (virtual law firms) in their practice. While modern technology and the use of AI offer a number of benefits, they also raise complex issues affecting the professional ethics of lawyers. Thus, associations and Bars face a number of questions regarding the ethical rules in light of the use of AI by lawyers. Moreover, the options for answers can be very different: from the position that modern technologies do not affect professional ethics in any way to the position on the need for cardinal additions/changes to the existing rules of legal ethics. Ana Khurtsidze (Georgia) Nielson Sanchez-Stewart (Spain) informed that the Spanish Code of Conduct consists of a separate article (21) on use of modern technologies and on obligation to comply with ethical standards while using them. Professor Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) thanks the AEA-EAL for inviting him to participate in the twinning underlining that he cooperates with AEA-EAL President for a longer time. Then he commented on the issue of protecting data while using the new technologies pointing out that lawyers process data not only during performing their professional duties, but also being employers and service providers.

The third panel, devoted to sustainable growth in the context of use new technologies was chaired by Anna Wyrzykowska (Poland), First Vice-President of the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA). It has to be mentioned that AEA-EAL and AIJA signed in 2018 a Memorandum of Understanding on mutual cooperation. Anna told that the legal profession at the threshold of fundamental change change, because we all entered the era of innovation. As future of our planet is in danger , it demands an immediate action The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digitalisation and the transition to a more sustainable way of living living. Lawyers are called upon to not only adapt but to lead positive change. Jean-Louis Collart (Switzerland) presented a number of opportunities offered by rapid technological change, but also noted that such change may have a disruptive impact. Claudio Visco (Italy) presented an opinion that lawyers are prepared for technological change and technology itself is a part of modernization of the profession, not a threat for its values and standards.

Conference presentations and speeches are available here.

Second part of the Twinning was chaires and moderated by Maria Ślązak, who invited a honorary guest – Özkan Yücel Dean of the Izmir Bar (Turkey) to take the floor.

Özkan was speaking about serious threats for core values of legal profession and for rights of citizens to the fair trial and to legal assistance from independent lawyers.

After his speech Juan Nunez, past President of the AEA-EAL commemorated Ebru Timtik, Turkish lawyer who died in prison after 238 days of hunger strike. Participants honored Ebru’s memory with a standing ovation.

Then Maria invited representatives of Bars to take the floor and to share with participants information on recent developments in countries participating in the Twinning. Not all confirmed speakers could participate, but all information was delivered and bars’ representatives greeted each other expressing their hope and will to meet each other in person in Odessa next year.

Mane Karpetyan, Deputy President of the Armenian Bar Association greeted all participants from Armenia and presented news on recent developments on legal profession and justice in Armenia. She told also on a heavy impact of Covid-19 pandemic on citizens’ life in her country.

On behalf of Anar Baghirov, President of the Azerbaijan Bar Association, spoke Farhad Najafov, Director of the Office of the Bar, who passed greetings from Anar and expressed his sincere gratitude for organizing the Twinning of Lawyers for the second time.


We were all missing Bilim Raiymkulov, Chairman of the Collegium of Advocates of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan , who due to rapid and serious illness could not join us on Saturday.

We were delighted to welcome Shukhurat Sadikov, Vice-Chairman of the Collegium of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan, who participated for the third time in our events (2018 in Almaty and 2019 in Gdańsk). Shukhurat greeted all participants from Uzbekistan lawyers and passes his particular words of praise to Maria Ślązak for her standing activities of building bridges and connecting lawyers from various countries.

On behalf of our great friend and AEA-EAL Board member David Asatiani, President of the Georgian Bar Association, spoke Giorgi Tshekhani, Director of the Office of GBA.

And last but not least, on behalf of the Gdańsk Bar of Attorneys-at-Law spoke Magdalena Witkowska, member of its Presidium and member of the AEA-EAL Board. It is worth to notice that Magdalena is also chair of the AEA-EAL human Rights Committee and chair of the same Committee within the polish National Bar of Attorneys-at-Law.


Organizers of the Twinning

Second Twinning of Lawyers was financially and organizationally supported by the Council of Europe

August 28

Ebru Timtik has passed away after a hunger strike of 238 days

Deeply saddened we are by the loss of our colleague lawyer EBRU TIMTIK.
She passed away on 27 August 2020 after a hunger strike of 238 days, which she started to strengthen her demand for fair trials and the administration of justice in Turkey. Her demands for justice were supported by many.

We would like to pay our condolences to her family, friends and colleagues with whom she worked on human rights issues and pay tribute to her determined work to protect the rights of others and promote respect for the rule of law.

Our fight to secure the release of her colleague Aytaç Ünsal continues.

August 20

Call to sign the petition: free Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal

AEA-EAL Human Rights Committee supports  a call that has been designated by our colleagues in Turkey and aim to bring, another time, the international and Turkey colleagues together. We are collecting signatures for the attached call. It is a very short statement calling on the Turkish authorities to release Ebru and Aytac on pending trial, again, and also letting Ebru and Aytac know that we, as their colleagues, need them with us in our struggle for the rule of law and protection of our clients’ fair trial rights.

This call is open for signatures from individual lawyers. If you would like to sign, please follow the link below and write down your name and surname. It is a very quick and straightforward process.

Petition is open for signing here.

The deadline for this action is 21 August 2020 (Friday).

August 12

Statement on endangered lawyers in Turkey

AEA-EAL has been approached by Turkish Lawyers the cases of human rights lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on hunger strike since February 2020. Five major international organizations of lawyers (Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, International Association of Lawyers, Law Society of England and Wales, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute and Lawyers for Lawyers) agreed a statement in defense of their Turkish colleagues (see below). Our Association has been invited to co-sign the Statement.

Moreover, AEA-EAL was invited to participate the online conference on the situation of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal and their ongoing hunger strike, which took place yesterday afternoon. Maria Ślązak participated in this event as well as expressed our support for persecuted Turkish colleagues.

Statement of international organizations of lawyers

Lawyers on hunger strike near death
The undersigned organisations have been following recent developments in the cases of human rights lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who have been on hunger strike since February 2020. On 5 April 2020, the Turkish Day of the Lawyer, Timtik and Ünsal announced that they would persist in their hunger strike even if it leads to their deaths. Their health is deteriorating quickly, and they are now being held in hospital.

Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are part of a group of eighteen lawyers who have been convicted and sentenced to long-term imprisonment. They are all members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği, ÇHD) and People’s Law Office (Halkın Hukuk Bürosu), known for their representation of clients who are considered opponents of the Turkish government. In a profoundly unfair trial, these lawyers have been sentenced to many years of imprisonment for alleged terrorist- related offences. Ebru Timtik has been sentenced to 13 years and 6 months and Aytaç Ünsal to 10 years and 6 months, both for membership of a terrorist organisation.
From the beginning of their trial, many incidents occurred that raised concerns about the impartiality and independence of the proceedings. For instance, the judges who initially ordered the release of the lawyers from pre-trial detention were removed from the case, and the released lawyers were re-arrested; some witnesses’ identities were kept anonymous and they testified remotely by video link system (SEGBIS), not in person, which prevented their identity or free will to testify from being verified. It also prevented the defence from being able to effectively examine the witnesses. In addition, the charged lawyers were frequently interrupted or escorted out of the courtroom during the hearings. After challenging the Chief Justice on the grounds of lack of impartiality, the lawyers’ requests for recusal of the bench were repeatedly rejected by the court, and their unjust treatment continued.
On 20 March 2019, the judgement was delivered. An appeal to the Istanbul Regional Court of Appeal was rejected in October 2019. A further appeal before the Supreme Court is pending.

Hunger strike
Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal are on hunger strike to strengthen their demand for fair trials and the administration of justice in Turkey. Turkey is bound to uphold the right to a fair trial according to a number of international treaties of which Turkey is a signatory, including Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Timtik and Ünsal are demanding that these obligations are observed not only for themselves, but also for all others who are on trial or in prison without having their fair trial rights respected.
Their wish is to ensure that the Turkish authorities observe the rule of law in Turkey. We support them unequivocally in these demands and objectives and aim to ensure that the world is aware of their plight. We urge the Turkish authorities to address these demands without delay, starting by giving the detained lawyers in this case the opportunity to await the outcome of their current appeal in freedom. We also urge the Supreme Court to conclude the appeal of 18 lawyers with due consideration being given to the serious violations by the lower court of the lawyers’ rights to a fair trial and the protections to which they are entitled as lawyers.We are gravely concerned for the safety of Timtik and Ünsal and urge that the Turkish government act quickly to ensure their rights.

June 28

Letter from The Law Society of Hong Kong

We have received a letter from The Law Society of Hong Kong with preliminary observations on National Security Legislation. The National People’s Congress (“NPC”) of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) on 28 May 2020 made the decision on “Establishing and Improving a Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security”. Under the Decision, among other things, the NPC Standing Committee (“NPCSC”) is to formulate a law on national security (the “Legislation”). When formulated, the Legislation is to be introduced into Annex III of the Basic Law and take effect in the HKSAR by promulgation. According to the NPC, it made the Decision in accordance with Articles 31 and 62(2), (14) and (16) of the Constitution of the PRC (the “Constitution”), as well as the relevant provisions of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

Please read preliminary comments of the Law Society that are included in its letter.

June 9

Elections of President and Vice-President of the AEA-EAL

We are pleased to announced that during today’s meeting of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors Maria Ślązak has been unanimously re-elected for the post of the President and Christoph von Wilcken – also unanimously – for the post of Vice-President.

Maria Ślązak

Maria has long time experience in advising and representing in courts In particular she specializes in services to foreign investors as regards both commercial law and property investment, general principles of tax law, competition law, legal services to banks and foreign investment funds, advisory in privatization and restructuring processes, negotiations and drafting of trade contracts in such areas as, among others, pharmaceutical law; dispute resolution between parties through negotiations or mediation as well as court and arbitration proceedings. Maria is an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw and at the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan. In 2013-2016 Vice-President of the Polish Bar of Attorneys-at-law. In 2015 President (2012-2014 Vice-President) of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

Ph. D. Christoph von Wilcken

Christoph is well-known expert in Business Recovery/Cross-Border Insolvencies with more than 20 years practice in these areas of law. From 2000 to 2003 he was an attorney at law with Andersen Legal (Arthur Andersen) as well as E&Y Law (Ernst & Young), Berlin, Service-Line Corporate M&A.From 2004 to 2009 – attorney at law with Dr. Weiland and Partner, Hamburg, business
sector: insolvency administration, conduct of cases, insolvency-related consulting. Since 2009 an advocate in Schulze & Braun GmbH specialized in renovation advice and international renovation advice / cross Border Restructuring and Insolvencies. Christoph is an author of a number of publications on insolvency and restructuring. He is a member of DAV working party on insolvency law and restructuring, Berliner Steuergespräche, Deutscher Anwaltverein (DAV) and TMA Turnaround Management Association UK.

May 25

AEA-EAL General Assembly online

General Assembly – confirm your participation

agenda, keynote bio and remaining informations below

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,

This year, due to restrictions imposed by authorities of many countries, as well as necessity to keep social distance, the General Assembly will be organized in a hybrid form on June 25, 2020 at 17.30 (CET). We are delighted to inform you that the Keynote Speaker this year will be Sophie Moonen from DG Competition, European Commission. Sophie will speak on COVID-19 state aid in the air transport sector as the pandemic influences Commission’s approach to the state aid in general, loosening restrictions on how and when state aid may be granted.

In accordance with the provisions of Belgian law governing our Association and particularly the Royal Decree N° 4 of 9 April 2020, only the chair and the secretary of the meeting as well as a scrutineer will be present. Together they will constitute the bureau of the General Assembly which will be responsible for taking note of the votes, verifying them and then drawing up the minutes and signing them. All other members of the Association may be present online in the form of a ZOOM teleconference. The link to the ZOOM platform will be provided in due course.

We invite all of you to take part in our assembly. You may join by zoom platform, which gives the opportunity to meet each other online free of charge. The agenda of the meeting as well as bio of Keynote Speaker Sophie Moonen can be found below.

If any member is unable to take part in the teleconference by ZOOM due to technical problems, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can send you all elements that will enable you to express your vote in writing.

If you wish to give a proxy to be represented by another member of the AEA-EAL, please let us know in advance.

IMPORTANT NOTE: all votings will be in electronic form. To participate in votings, you need to download zoom application (free of charge).

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Board of Directors

The agenda:

17.00 – 19.00 (CET)

1. Opening remarks, technical information
2. Keynote address
3. Items for approval or discussion

A. Items for approval:

– Minutes of the Annual Ordinary General Assembly of the Association held in Edinburgh on 1 June 2019,
– President’s Report for the year 2019
– Treasurer’s Report on the financial year ended 31.12.2019
– Annual accounts as at 31.12.2019,
– Discharge to the directors for exercise of their mandates in 2019
– 2020 budget

B. Items for discussion:

– Information of the President on activities undertaken or planned for 2020
– Miscellaneous

Keynote Speaker
Sophie Moonen

Sophie is Head of Unit (COMP.F.2) in the European Commission, Directorate General for Competition. She practiced law at Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering (Brussels and Washington, D.C. offices) from October 1996 until June 2002. At Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering she had a broad regulatory practice covering trade, antitrust and general matters of European law with a focus in the IT industry and financial services industry. She was also an associate in the Washington D.C. office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Trade and Antitrust Section) from August 1995 until May 1996. Ms Moonen has been a member of the NY bar since 1999 and was a member of the Brussels bar until joining the European Commission in 2002. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Liège law school and holds an LL.M. from the University of Michigan law school.

Unit COMP.F.2 deals with state aid in the field of transport in DG COMP’s Directorate F which is in charge of competition policy in the field of transport, post and other services. It covers the aviation, rail and maritime sectors. Working with the Unit gives an opportunity to learn more about state aid policy, to work with many interesting state aid cases in these sectors and to understand how its work links in to the wider effort to make transport markets work better. The Unit is also part of the wider State Aid Network within DG COMP, whose mission it is to develop and enforce state aid policy and rules in all sectors in the EU.

May 12

18 May - online seminar "Impact of Coronavirus on Justice" - presentations of speakers

The Seminar took place on May 18 on Zoom platform. During the event a number of issues were discussed:

– Experiences of chosen countries with the lockdown in Justice

– Pre-trial isolation and the right to defense. Access to a lawyer of detainees, suspects and accused persons deprived liberty in investigation and judicial proceedings.

– Victims of domestic violence and their rights in the context of access to justice – existing legal standards and current practice (experiences of lawyers).

– Legal privilege in COVID-19 pandemic times – a value in serious danger?

– Closer or more distant justice? Pros and cons of application of new technologies in access to justice.

Panel moderator was Ph. D. Piotr Chrzczonowicz, attorney-at-law and academic from Poland; and speakers were:

  • Professor Marcelo Castrogiovanni, advocate, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Monique Stengel, advocate, Treasurer of the Federation of European Bars, AEA-EAL immediate Past President, Paris, France
  • Vladimir Palamarciuc, advocate, Past President of the Moldavian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA), Chisinau, Moldova
  • Juan Nunez, advocate, AEA-EAL Past President, Barcelona, Spain
  • Tina Fernandez, barrister and solicitor, specialist in IT and technology, London, United Kingdom

You can find below presentations for download:

Piotr Chrzczonowicz (moderator) – introductory remarks – final

Piotr Chrzczonowicz (moderator) – slides

Marcelo Castrogiovanni

Tina Fernandez

Juan Nunez

Vladimir Palamarciuc

Monique Stengel

We will also add video recordings shortly.

May 12

May 16 – International online conference in Russian: "Law and Human Rights in a Pandemic"

On May 16, 2020, at 11.00 – 20.00 Nur-Sultan (Astana) time (7.00 -16.00 CET) AEA-AEAL together with Institute for Human Rights of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Legal Policy Research Center (LPRC) organize International online conference in Russian: “Law and Human Rights in a Pandemic”

Experts in a lively discussion will discuss the most important issues:

– New approaches to legal education and advanced training of lawyers.
– Implementation and protection of human rights in a pandemic and quarantine.
– Administration of justice in time of restrictions.
– The impact of a pandemic on compliance and other legal consequences.

To participate as a speaker or attendee, you must first register. The conference is held using Zoom software. Before the conference starts, participants will receive login information.


Confirmed Speakers represent many jurisdictions and organizations from Kazakhstan, Belarus, Belgium, Georgia, Germany, France, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Full program for download (in Russian)

After the conference you will receive a certificate of attendance.

May 11

New section: papers

We have a pleasure to invite you to the new section on our website: Papers. It consists of interesting materials, analyses and articles prepared by AEA-EAL members and our friends. Latest materials are related to the new code of conduct in Spain, new rules of prevention of money laundering in the EU and how lawyers in China are dealing with Covid-19. If you wish to publish there please contact us directly. To access Papers go to the upper menu –> Publications –> Papers

April 7

Spring Newsletter 2020

Dear AEA-EAL Members,
Dear Colleagues,

Please find below the spring issue of our Newsletter.

We wish you and your families to stay safe and healthy in these difficult times.

Your AEA-EAL Team

Newsletter spring 2020 EN


Chers membres de l’AEA-EAL,
Chers collègues,

Veuillez trouver ci-joint le numéro d’printemps de notre bulletin.

Nous vous souhaitons, ainsi qu’à vos familles, de rester en sécurité et en bonne santé en ces temps difficiles.
Votre AEA-EAL Team

Newsletter spring 2020 FR


Уважаемые члены AEA-EAL!
Уважаемые коллеги,

Пожалуйста, приложите весенний выпуск нашего информационного бюллетеня.

Мы желаем вам и вашим семьям оставаться в безопасности и быть здоровыми в эти трудные времена.
Ваша команда AEA-EAL

Newsletter spring 2020 RU


Członkowie AEA-EAL
Drodzy koledzy i przyjaciele,

Zachęcamy do lektury wiosennego numeru naszego Biuletynu.

Życzymy Wam i Waszym rodzinom zachowania zdrowia w tym trudnym okresie.

Newsletter spring 2020 PL

Wasz Zespół AEA-EAL

March 30

Remote Courts Worldwide - an initiative by Professor Richard Susskind

As courts are strongly affected by Covid 19 pandemic and their functioning has been limited or – in some cases – suspended, experts and specialists are seeking for tools facilitating access to justice.

Professor Richard Susskind, British author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments in the field of legal industry, launched a website Remote Courts Worldwide to gather information and to exchange best practices in the field of on-line courts.

To ensure ongoing access to justice, governments and judiciaries are rapidly introducing various forms of ‘remote court’ – audio hearings (largely by telephone), video hearings (for example, by Skype and Zoom), and paper hearings (decisions delivered on the basis of paper submissions). At remarkable speed, new methods and techniques are being developed. However, there is a danger that the wheel is being reinvented and that there is unnecessary duplication of effort across the world. In response, this site offers a systematic way of remote-court innovators and people who work in the justice system to exchange news of operational systems, as well as of plans, ideas, policies, protocols, techniques, and safeguards. By using this site, justice workers can learn from one another’s successes and disappointments. Please do contribute. The idea is that this site is a repository to which users regularly send their news. Richard Susskind wrote on the website.

Contributions and information are more than welcome.

The service is a joint effort – hosted by the Society for Computers and Law, funded by the UK LawTech Delivery Panel, and supported by Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service.

March 28

Actions of international institutions, bars and lawyers connected with Covid 19

All of us have been facing an unprecedented situation happening nowadays all over the world. Covid -19 pandemic affects our professional and private life; our thoughts and doings are directed to take care of our families and loved ones. A number of international organizations, bars and law societies have responded this extraordinary circumstances by guidance and information provided for lawyers and law firms. Here we will publish information sent by our members and friends on actions and measures that affect lawyers and law firms. The page will be updated. Stay tuned.

International organizations

The European Commission issued a summary of actions in justice area on e-Justice Portal. It provides an overview of the measures taken within the European Union in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, which affects judiciary, national authorities and legal practitioners, businesses and citizens. It is divided in three parts: civil law, criminal law and use of the digital tools by judiciary. read more…

The Court of Justice of the European Union introduced several measures including suspension of hearings at least till May 25th. The Court encourages to use e-Curia tool. Application forms for opening accounts sent to the registry by email shall be accepted, exceptionally, on condition that they are accompanied by the necessary supporting documents, which are duly signed and scanned. read more…

The Council of Europe – in the framework of its Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) prepared a compilation of information from Member States on legal measures applied to respond Covid-19 crisis. read more…

The European Court of Human Rights extended exceptional measures till June 15, including use of written procedure only and suspension of sending communication to the parties with exception of urgent cases. read more…

The United Nations UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has issued a policy letter to G-20 member states on actions that should be undertaken against the Covid-19. He issued also seven remarks to the Security Council as well as a briefing to all member states on measures undertaken by the UN Secretariat including suspension of most travels and meetings. read more…

Diego García-Sayán UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers outlined urgent steps to ensure justice systems are not paralysed by COVID-19. He issued seven key guidelines:
/1/ Increased support and guarantees for a functioning independent justice are urgent – in time of crisis functioning judiciary is more essential than ever.
/2/ Urgent decisions must be taken by an independent judicial system to prevent social exclusion and to guarantee protection of human rights.
/3/ Temporary reduction of demand on the justice systems – matters that may not be considered a priority, like prosecutions of minor offenses, civil or economic cases could be postponed.
/4/Orientation on protection of rights, in cases of serious crimes and cases of domestic violence.
/5/ Report of abuses – using current online technologies must be addressed and urgently implemented; lockdowns and “social distances” shouldn´t prevent the judicial system from acting and following due process guarantees.
/6/ Pre-trial detentions and similar measures should be applied only in extraordinary cases, where no other measures can be implemented.
/7/ In this context, judges, magistrates, public prosecutors and their staffs need to be put in conditions to perform their functions. They deserve special health attention in testing programs considering that they necessarily will be in contact with several individuals and groups.

Read the full seven guidelines here


Letter from the office of our member Florence Achache (France) and letter from our member Christian Colombier (Lyon Bar)

1) Paris Bar

The Bar Council has just written a vademecum which should be sent to all lawyers. It provides a wealth of useful information and answers some of your questions. An order should be taken very soon to extend all the time limits. Financial facilities are being put in place. Likewise measures to defer payment of contributions, social charges, VAT, possibilities of suspension of payment of rents.More information is available below for download

Vademecum COVID 19 Barreau Paris

2) Lyon Bar (extracts from the letter)

4. Regarding the decisions made by the law offices and public authorities, a few points may be underlined. The first COVID-19 related mail was sent on the Friday 13th march by the Bar’s Council to its members in LYON. It stated that hearings would take place as usual the following week, but that the protests which gathered lawyers at the time were suspended effective immediately. In addition, the Bar’s Council announced that it would be closed to general public until further notice.
During the weekend, we were updated of the meetings with Ministry of Justice, whom decided to put into action plans in order to maintain judicial activity limited to urgent matters, as it became clear that the containment of the population would most likely have to come into effect. On Sunday the 15th, we were informed that all non-extremely urgent cases would be postponed proprio motu by the Courts. However, on Monday morning 16th of march, it came to our attention that the Courthouse was completely closed. It was later known that day that several persons working there had been contaminated by COVID-19.
Accordingly, most law firms reacted accordingly by initiating teleworking and partial unemployment for firms’ employees.

5. To this day, all civil hearings have since been postponed, unless imperative reasons command to proceed with a case, such reasons being ruled by judges themselves beforehand. More precisely, most courthouse are closed, and the virtual network used by both lawyers and courts to process cases is shut down. Only urgent criminal procedures are still trialled, essentially when the freedom of defendants is at stake, along with domestic violence cases, which increased because of the containment.

Other measures may be cited such as:
– videoconferencing for prisoners instead of appearing in person during a hearing, in the meantime, prosecutors are asked to request incarceration only for serious offences and release have been eased;
– some hearings were even closed to the general public;
– Bailiffs, whose assistance is required in some matters are alternately on stand-by as their colleagues do not serve judicial documents for the time being;
– Bar’s council, which organizes free consultations to litigants, has organized phone consultations in order to maintain this service;

Given the lack of legal background, the Parliament passed a law creating a new concept of « sanitary state of emergency », allowing national and local authorities to take action on some particular matters such as prices control, sale of prescribed drugs, freedom of movement… In addition, and in order to avoid procedural issues, several ordinances were adopted regarding civil, criminal (as previously mentioned) and administrative laws. The ordinance relating to civil law was passed on the 25th of March. For the main part, it has suspended any procedural deadline, which should be came in very useful litigants who are not assisted by lawyers. Ongoing procedures where deadlines apply are also put to a standby (investigation measures in particular). This ordinance may apply to numerous cases regarding commercial rents as the absence of payment will not be able to provide ground to the lessor to obtain the termination of the commercial lease. Insolvency law has also been softened, for instance allowing companies which go bankrupt to report it within a more flexible delay. More controversially, administrative courts may rule cases dealing with deportation orders without any hearing. Those controversial provisions, along with others regarding criminal law, led the Bar Council of LYON to send an open letter to the Ministry of Justice on the 27th of March stating that it would not provide further designation of lawyers whenever it is required by law in order to protest against what is seen as detrimental to human rights.

6. On another matter, economic and financial as facts of the crisis are dealt with by the government by focusing on two sets of measures: partial unemployment and support to companies regarding cash management. Indeed, the Banque de France has estimated that unpaid invoices amount to around 13 billion euros at the moment. More than 1.6 million workers and 150.000 businesses applied to partial unemployment on the 28th of march, reaching more than 5 million workers and 450.000 businesses on the 6th of April, for an estimated cost of 8.5 billion euros. Moreover, loans amounting to more than 20 billion euros were asked by approximately 100.000 businesses. The Ministry of economy and finances, announced that state guarantees up to 300 billion euros worth of loans would be provided. The issue of nationalisation of major companies is arising now and then in the media but no measures have been announced yet regarding this matter, whereas smaller businesses may be granted premiums capped at 1.500€ via a state solidarity fund. Also, on the 13th of march, the public authorities announced that they would support companies by delaying the payment of some taxes (but not VAT). Many banks got in touch with their clients through emails in order to reassure them and assist them for the times to come, even if no binding measures were taken yet.
Finally, regarding the sanitary crisis, unprecedented measures in peacetime have come into force. The freedom of movement has been critically reduced, and limited to the core, until the 15th of April so far.

A decree of the 23rd march has listed a series of measures. The most symbolic imposes that one must, as soon as he or she leaves his or her accommodation, carry a statement issued on honour explaining the reasons of the move. The decree has established a restrictive list of the valid reasons as follows:
– Travel to the workplace, given that it cannot be postponed;
– Travel to purchase basic necessities for the household or one’s work;
– Travel to seek medical assistance which cannot be granted thanks to tele-consultation;
– The necessity to provide assistance to children or vulnerable relatives;
– Physical exercise, however limited to one hour per day and no further than a one kilometre radius around one’s accommodation;
– Necessity to report to a law enforcement (court supervision) or to a court;
– Necessity to accomplish a mission related to public interest and as required by public authorities.

So far, law enforcement officers have been reported to apply very strictly this measure in order to avoid public reunion and mass departure during holiday season. In addition, naval and aerial connections are suspended until 15th of April, and barely maintained for vital matters and matched with heavy sterilization binding procedures. Any gathering, no matter the motive, superior to 100 persons is prohibited, and all « non-essential » shops are closed, including schooling facilities, from kindergarten to faculties, except of medical staff children under 16 years old. Surgical masks have been requisitioned, and some people trying to take advantage of the supply shortage have already been arrested and are facing heavy sentences as their sale is forbidden. Hydroxychloroquine, which has caused a controversy in the last days has been allowed as a treatment for COVID-19 patients, and export restrictions for similar molecules are implemented.

In order to limit the contamination through medical staff, the validity of medical prescriptions has been temporarily extended
Furthermore, funeral rites are forbidden and burials fall under the above restrictions. To this day, the containment is supposed to end on the 15th of April but will be lifted only gradually.

Letter from Christian Colombier – Lyon Bar

Information published by the German Federal Bar Council (Germany)

The below information and its enhancements may be found (in German) on BRAK website. The translation was made by use of mechanic context translator (language imperfections may appear).

Corona and tax measures

Lawyers can tax relief to the competent tax authorities for them to apply if they are economically affected by the corona virus. The BRAK has compiled all the important information for you here ►Information on tax measures to help companies affected by the corona virus (PDF). The BMF letter dated March 19, 2020 “Tax measures to take into account the effects of the corona virus ” can be found HERE. We have summarized a clear list of previously published statements by the federal and state governments here ► Information from the BMF and the finance ministries of the states regarding the Corona Virus (PDF).

Corona and a possible curfew

In the event of a possible “curfew”, BRAK has put together the most important questions and answers [►FAQ] for you. The statements made there of course also apply as long as “only” a ban on contact has been issued. The BRAK also has a sample for a ►PASSIERSCHEIN ready for you. Please understand that this is a precautionary sample. At this point in time, we cannot give a binding guarantee that the model will be considered sufficient for the block to be decided in your state, if applicable. However, we will continually adapt our information to the current circumstances.

To ►Overview regulations and decrees and general dispositions of Lands.

Professional legal information

Many colleagues wonder how they should behave in the event of illness or if quarantine measures are imposed. The law provides the answer: Section 53 (1) of the BRAO stipulates that a lawyer must provide representation if he is prevented from practicing his profession for more than a week or if he wants to move away from his law firm for more than a week /got to.

Colleagues, especially with law firms in particularly affected areas, should take precautions so that they can also work in quarantine if necessary. If available, it is advisable to carry necessary technical equipment such as a laptop, card reader etc. with you on a daily basis. It should also be checked in good time whether all desired or necessary access rights to the beA, including those for the substitution case, have been properly assigned. Information on how to assign rights can be found in the ►beA Newsletter.

For questions about the representative order the competent advises ►regional Bar Association.

In addition, we refer to the article by lawyer Martin W. Huff on professional questions at LTO: ►LINK

The Munich Chamber of Lawyers has published FAQs about Corona for lawyers: ►FAQs (PDF)

Corona and specialised training

Special training requirement : If, due to the corona crisis, a specialist lawyer is unable to attend a classic face-to-face event that is suitable for his purposes, there is now the option of attending online courses or webinars offered by numerous organizers . There are offers for text-oriented online courses, online lectures (live or for self-study) and interactive modules. With these formats, compulsory advanced training can be completed in all areas of the Specialist Lawyers’ Regulations, which take sufficient account of the requirements of § 15 FAO. Regardless of this, specialist lawyers can always do up to 5 hours of their training obligation through self-studymeet if a learning success control is carried out. For this purpose, the organizers regularly offer short tests that can be used to query what has been learned. Learning content is usually conveyed through webinars or written documents. Finally, there is the alternative to publish scientifically. Important to know: Even if a retrofit of the training in the following year does not heal a violation of the training obligation retrospectively, according to a decision of the BGH (decision of 05.05.2014, AnwZ (Brfg) 76/13) in justified exceptional cases – for example in the case an illness – the one-off “breach of duty” can be compensated by a correspondingly increased advanced training in the current year
Further information on § 15 FAO can be obtained from your regional chambers. The General Meeting of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers will deal with this topic in its next meeting for current reasons.

Corona and legislation

Corona requires very short-term changes to the law are necessary. The BRAK has offered the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection support in this regard. The open letter from BRAK President RAuN Dr. Ulrich Wessels to Federal Minister of Justice Lambrecht can be found here: ►LINK. The BRAK repeated this offer with the ►Press release dated March 23, 2020 and at the same time asked the legislature to provide regulations that are set in motion due to the pandemic with a clear end date and thus to ensure that new parliamentary votes are taken and thus Checks are carried out.

The Federal Government has provided formulation guidance for ►drafting a law to mitigate the consequences of the Covid19 pandemic in civil, bankruptcy and criminal procedure law. With a ► letter from March 24, 2020 (PDF), BRAK President RAuN Dr. Ulrich Wessel’s comments on the draft were sent to the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Likewise, a ► Act to protect the population in an epidemic situation of national scope (BT-Drs. 19/18111 of March 24, 2020, PDF) was initiated , which the ► Federal Council (decision of March 27, 2020 , BR-Drs. 151/20, PDF) has since agreed. The much debated cell phone location was initially not included. After Health Minister Spahn indicated last week that he would like to discuss the topic again, President RAuN Dr. Ulrich Wessels sent a ►Letter (PDF) with comments to the Federal Minister of Justice on 30.30.2020 .

Corona and the judiciary

Many colleagues are wondering how to deal with upcoming court appointments. At the request of the lawyers, the BRAK campaigned for all lawyers and made an appeal to the judiciary : ►Press statement by BRAK v. 03/17/2020. The BRAK’s request has been discussed several times in the press. Prof. Dr. Hanns Prütting gives important information on the suspension of the procedure according to § 247 ZPO ► Attorney’s Journal .

OVERVIEW Statements from the judiciary by Federal authorities

Corona and labor law and economic implications

The Federal Chamber of Lawyers approached the federal government, the federal states and banks and asked for quick and unbureaucratic liquidity protection for the legal profession . The associated press release can be found here: ►LINK

The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has published ►FAQ on the effects of labor law. The Federal Employment Agency has also compiled the most important questions and answers in an ►overview.

Lawyer Marc-André Gimmy, specialist lawyer for labor law and chairman of the labor law committee of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers, gave an overview of labor law issues in a joint interview with attorney Nathalie Oberthür, chairman of the labor law committee of the German Bar Association : ►INTERVIEW

The federal government has adopted a package of measures to protect jobs and support companies. You can find information on the ” Protective shield for employees and companies ” here: ►LINK (PDF)

An ►ARTICLE on compensation from the state in quarantine and on the subject of short-time benefits was published in the lawyer’s journal .

The federal states have also reacted in the meantime. If the prerequisites are met, freelancers can also apply for so-called Corona emergency help , which means that lawyers have the option.

Possibly. You can request a deferral of social security contributions until March 26, 2020 : In the course of the parliamentary deliberations on the legal package for the Corona emergency aid, it should have been decided to give all companies affected by the Corona crisis the opportunity to have the social security contributions for the months March and April 2020 hours. The press has already reported on this, see e.g. ►FAZ or ►n-tv.

For a deferral of the contributions for the month of March , however, it is necessary that the companies concerned informally contact their respective health insurance companies by Thursday, March 26, 2020 at the latest, with reference to the emergency caused by the corona crisis and paragraph 76 of the Social Code Book IV who have to raise their social security contributions.

A deferral of contributions to the eased conditions is only possible after all other measures from the various aid packages and support measures of the Federal Government have been exhausted.

Corona und ALG II

You can find information on ALG II for the liberal professions in the ►ARTIKEL by Volker Gerloff in the lawyers’ journal .

Legal issues related to regulatory powers

Attorney Dr. Sigrid Wienhues, chairman of the administrative law committee of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers and specialist lawyer for administrative law, answered the SPIEGEL questions about official powers in the time of Corona . You can find the interview here: ►INTERVIEW . Miss Dr. Wienhues answered further questions about the Infection Protection Act in the podcast from detektor.fm: ►LINK

Different regulations in the federal states

In particular, there is no nationwide regulation regarding the closure of schools and day-care centers and with regard to the holding of events, but the states decide on their own measures. Please inform yourself on the website of your state government about the current state of affairs.

OVERVIEW of regulations as well as decrees and general decrees of the federal states

The guidelines , which the federal and state governments have now jointly decided on, can be found in the press conference on March 16, 2020: ►VIDEO-Link

Letter from the Law Society of Hong Kong

The Law Society undertook several steps to assist lawyers and law firms to adapt their activity to the era of pandemic. You may download an English version of the letter.

(i) For adequate precautions to protect their staff and people attending their offices, law firms are referred to the Centre for Health Control for useful guidance on infection control measures.

(ii) It is important to ensure that clients’ interests are protected at all times. The management issues that may arise in the current public health situation vary from firm to firm depending on many factors such as the client base, type of work handled, money held in clients’ accounts, management of cheque books and accounts, number of clerks, time limits due, etc. Firms are reminded that should practitioners wish to work from home, depending on whether the physical offices of their law firms can still fulfil the supervision requirements under the relevant provisions in the Solicitors’ Practice Rules, they will need to consider closing the offices to the public if the statutory minimum supervision standards are not met.

(iii) In the event that law firms have decided to temporarily close their offices, the Law Society provides a facility via the members’ zone of our website to inform all members of any special arrangement regarding the opening hours and dates of law firms.

(iv) Practitioners have also been urged to be sympathetic to requests for reasonable extensions of time, subject to clients’ instructions, in these extraordinary circumstances.

(v) Law firms are reminded to prepare themselves for the possibility of infection or close contact with an infected person within their own staff, or a quarantine order being imposed under the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation Cap. 599C, or other measures taken by the Government following the COVID-19 infection. These possible scenarios will have major impact upon the operation of law firms.

(vi) Law firms are reminded to enquire from the Building Management what steps they will take to disinfect an office and how long that will take and how rapidly it can be completed after notification. For sole proprietors, it may be necessary to consider taking active steps to set up a “buddy system”, i.e. to set up a relationship with another firm so as to provide timely support to each other in the event that either firm is suddenly prevented from practising for some days. In such a fluid situation, we have to be well prepared with a contingency / business continuity plan that fits the needs of our own practices, ensuring that there are adequate arrangements in place to cope with difficulties that may arise.

The Law Society has also distributed an aide memoire to assist members to formulate a Disaster Recovery Plan to meet individual needs.

Owing to public health considerations, continuing professional development (“CPD”) courses have been suspended in February and March. To address the concern that practitioners may be left with fewer choices of CPD activities for compliance with the relevant statutory obligations due to the temporary suspension of courses, the Law Society will be implementing measures that will effectively allow members more time to complete their obligations.

The supply of surgical masks has been tight as the demand is so high. The Law Society’s Member Services Department has been trying hard to source surgical masks for members as a member benefit. We are very grateful to the kind referrals received from friends both locally and abroad who have been immensely helpful to us in our attempts to source supplies of surgical masks. Such is the power of mutual support and assistance within the Law Society’s well established global network of legal connections.

You may have been aware that there has been a general adjournment of court proceedings in Hong Kong since 29 January 2020 for the protection of the health of all court users. The Judiciary has been working out the resumption arrangements and it is expected that the general adjournment period will end from 23 March if public health situation permits.

Letter from the Law Society of Hong Kong

Notification on court proceedings

Letter from Paolo Sguotti, member of the AEA-EAL Board (Padova – Italy)

As you mentioned, Coronavirus is having a huge impact on our professional and personal life. Unfortunately, in Italy there is a deadlock in Judicial activity and as a consequence law firm’s productivity is badly affected.

In specific to answer your questions, due to a decree issued by the Italian Prime Minister both civil and criminal court hearings have been suspended till the 15th of April and until further notice. Moreover, the fulfilment of legal civil and criminal acts has been suspended except for urgent business and proceedings.

The Coronavirus restrictions in order to avoid the virus’s spread allow the population to travel only to and from work or for essential needs such as medical care or grocery shopping. Consequently, almost all the scheduled meeting with clients have been suspended. Lots of law firm, like us, are working by Skype call and videoconference where possible.

In my Law firm smart working has been increased and my colleagues and I are taking work shifts in order not to be many people in the firm but only the essential work force. Moreover, employed workers have been encouraged to take annual leave. The Government is supporting employee with financial support such as the suspension of the house mortgage under certain condition, and 600 euros per month for some self-employed categories.

However, for some professional registered categories such as lawyers there is been no support put in place from the government so far. Lawyers hope the government will provide measures to support law firm soon, because in our sector there is been a negative financial consequence on our revenue.

Letter from Leila Ramazanova (Almaty – Kazakhstan)

The below letter was sent in Russian and was translated by use of mechanic context translator (language imperfections may appear).

Almaty City College of Lawyers (hereinafter referred to as “AGCA”) the following is undertaken:
– AGCA lawyers are exempted from membership fee payment for one month;
– all lawyers are transferred to remote work;
– Offices do not work, duty is carried out through mobile communications and questions from the site;
– AGKA staff also works remotely;
– AGCA lawyers are officially allowed to move around Almaty.

Court proceedings:
– in civil cases, all proceedings were suspended with reference to Part 1 of Article 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Kazakhstan (no suitable article was found in the Code of Civil Procedure);
– in criminal cases, the main part is suspended, the petitions of the pre-trial investigation body to authorize the arrest / extension of the term of detention are considered, as well as criminal cases on which the deadlines for consideration only through the IMCC (remote participation using TrueConf and WhatsApp).

Bank loans – deferred payment for 3 months.

On labor issues – the opportunity for lawyers to suspend the benefit of 42,500 tenge (about 100 euros) per month.

On contracts – in each case, it is separately considered, it is necessary to obtain a certificate stating that force majeure took place.

Information from Joanna Wisła – Płonka, National Bar of Attorneys-at-law (Poland)

Courts so far have suspended proceedings officially to the end of March, but mostly there are informations from courts, that there will be no hearings until the end of April (except urgent matters f.e. arrest decision). Courts are closed for public, only in urgent matters parties and lawyers are allowed to enter to the building.

We are waiting for regulations, we are expecting that 2 months of cancelled hearings will result average in 3- 12 months of delay of the case (from personal experience, court hearing in middle size city in district court (I instance) in commercial proceedings planned on 8.04 and cancelled because of coronavirus will be proceeded on 5.08, it will be much longer in larger cities or courts )

Courts still proceed hearings in urgent matters such as f.e. detention decision in criminal cases, urgent decision in family cases f.e. regarding parental care, only in these urgent matters parties and lawyers are allowed to enter to the building. In the court buildings disinfectants are in common use.

Lawyers can only enter the court building in urgent matters for the time of hearing. You cannot personally file any documents in the court, the income of outside delivery is now restricted.

The absence of person tested positively for the virus in court hearing will be excused. If there would be information, that such person was involved in court hearings, all participants who also were present in the same court room or any other having direct contact, will be quarantined.

It is known that the number of detention on remand is decreasing and that visibility with external persons has been reduced (however, we talk about families of detained / convicted prisoners, not about issues related to the exercise of the right of defense. There have been information about the suspension of external employment of prisoners and what else) the need to extend access to hot water and cleaning products. It is also known that in some prisons, masks and overalls are sewn.
Everyone entering prisons has their body temperature measured. Criteria for the eligibility of prisoners for whom there is a risk of coronavirus infection (based on guidelines developed for people who meet certain criteria – who were in countries with or at risk of being infected) may have been developed. Sanitary inspection shall be informed of possible cases.
The Ministry of Justice is preparing draft regulations on the basis of which it will be possible to use the electronic surveillance system more widely than before for prisoners serving sentences that do not exceed 18 months in prison. A special break is also foreseen in the course of serving a sentence in connection with the epidemic threat (for a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment). There is a significant extension of the videoconferencing system (to reduce the risk of personal contact).
All this is currently happening, but there is no hard data in the form of draft legislation or other official documents. Certainly in detention centers and penitentiary establishments with detention units – when it comes to contact with lawyers – it is still being implemented, but precautions are taken (contact through glass, hand sanitizing)
The Prison Service observes what is happening in connection with the functioning of the penitentiary sector in other countries with the epidemic (i.e. in Italy and Spain), and there the situation is very dynamic and from what is being written – it is difficult to talk about the effective functioning of the guarantee system resulting from EU directives (especially those regarding access to a lawyer).

Individual measures by Bars or Law firms

Very important is access to useful information regarding current situation in courts, available tools for on-line communication and even personal contact with members (especially in senior age) who may need help in every- day life matters during crisis.
Last but not least: lawyers are among the liberal professions who are immediately affected by the social distancing and safety measures taken by the authorities. The economic and financial impact of those measures will be felt soon. Therefore a last question concerns potential fiscal and economic measures or incentives taken or about to be taken by the authorities in your country to reduce the negative financial impact of the crisis on the sustainability of – amongst others – the law firms?

Other measures

Polish government has filed package of drafts of statutes called “anti-crisis shield” which shall be voted in Polish Parliament on Friday. It includes support measures for business (including lawyers). F.e. : coverage by the state of contributions to social insurance for three months – for micro-enterprises that employ up to 9 employees (this refers to contributions for all employees); and self-employed; monthly benefit in the amount of up to about 2,000 PLN – for those employed under a mandate or specific task contract and self-employed; the right to delay the payment of income tax advances for your employees by three months, the legal possibility for employer of a 20% reduction salary and working time for an employee, however, not less than half-time, the state will pay no more than 40 percent. average salary for three months, another option is an additional payment to the salary of employees who have reduced working time due to “economic downtime” – if the employer reduces the employee’s salary, but not less than to the minimum wage, the state will finance half of it together with insurance contributions social (the last two forms of assistance are conditioned by a decrease of income due to coronavirus).

Letter from Kaliningrad (Russia)

Our member Aleksey Sozvariev, Vice-dean of the Kaliningrad Bar Association provided us with actions undertaken in Russia.

– It is forbidden from March 17, 2020 until the ban is lifted to hold sports, entertainment, public and other public events in the Kaliningrad Region.
– It is recommended to refrain from traveling outside of Russia.
– People must immediately inform by phone number 112 of your return to the Russian Federation, where new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported.
– When the first signs of a respiratory infection appear, people must stay at home and immediately seek medical help without visiting medical organizations;
– People must provide self-isolation at home for 14 days from the date of return.
– Employers must refrain from sending their employees on business trips, from conducting events.
– Entrepreneurs should apply remote methods for holding meetings, meetings and other similar events;
– Business should carry out activities aimed at identifying workers with signs of an infectious disease and to prevent such workers from being in the workplace and assist workers in enforcing self-isolation at home;
– legal entities and individual entrepreneurs operating in crowded places regularly carry out disinfection activities;

The Presidium of the Kaliningrad Oblast Law Chamber brought to the attention of lawyers about the implementation of this decision, but at the same time continue to fulfill their responsibilities to protect the rights and interests of principals, however, apply all precautionary measures, namely:
– reduce direct communication with principals and colleagues;
– when participating in investigative actions and court hearings, use medical masks and glasses, even sunglasses;
– restrict attendance at public events and trips outside the Kaliningrad region;
– Membership fees to the chamber by bank transfer;
– communicate with the bar by electronic correspondence, or by phone;
– personal appointments with clients have been canceled in the bar chamber, but at the same time, the bar chamber is operating normally.

All meetings, councils and commissions are held online using the videoconferencing communication program.

By a decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Court in conjunction with the Presidium of the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated March 18, 2020, personal reception of citizens was suspended in all courts and it was recommended to submit documents only through the electronic Internet reception of courts or by mail to Russia. Examination of only urgent cases. All the courts, if technically possible, initiate a hearing through the use of video conferencing systems. Access to courts of persons who are not participants in litigation is restricted.

Law schools in the Kaliningrad region continue to operate normally, professionally, in full compliance with the law and legal requirements, perform public functions assigned to the bar, as an institution of civil society and the ruler of justice.

Currently, no legal measures related to the suspension, delay or termination of contracts are applied. There are currently no benefits for repaying bank loans.

Letter from Juan Nunez, AEA-EAL Past President (Barcelona – Catalonia – Spain)

In Spain all the court activity has been stopped and postponed except the urgent cases (criminal and labour) and all deadlines have been stopped until end of the state of alarm.

We are all of us confined, except essential services (food, pharmacies, hospitals -of course-, gas stations and transports of persons – very restricted- and goods).

All law offices are almost closed and working at home. Labour law offices have an intensive work for applications of the measures taken by the government, which consist in a system of temporary employee reduction files (ERTE) which can be presented in two versions:

1 – By force majeure: when there is an absolute impossibility (even if it is in part) to develop the activity.
2 – For economic, organizational, technical or production reasons.

In both cases, the work of each employee can be reduced to the necessary extent, and the salary you would not pay will be returned by the state as if it were an unemployment case, at 70% (for example, you pay 1000 € to an employee. You request an ERTE to reduce 60% of his activity; you will pay 400 € and the state will pay him the 70% of 600 €).

In case 1, you will not have to pay the employee’s Social Security, while in case 2 you have to pay the complete social security of the employee.

Force majeure files are much more difficult to obtain than the other one, since it is the appropriate for restaurants bars and shops not related with essential goods, which were obliged to close.

In any case, the effects will be retroactive to March 16th.

Information sent by Philipp Zurkinden, AEA-EAL Past President (Switzerland)

On 16 March, 2020, the Swiss Bar Association has asked the Swiss Government to order Swiss and cantonal judicial and administrative authorities to suspend all investigation measures and trial dates during this exceptional period and to suspend also all delays and the formal notification of any judgments and decisions.

Based on emergency law the Swiss government has, on 20 March 2020, decided an extension of the judicial holidays in civil and administrative proceedings. The emergency act states that these holidays start on 21 March and last until 19 April 2020. Thus, an important part of the above-mentioned query of the Swiss Bar Association was fulfilled as the delays stand still during these holidays.

Additionally, the Swiss government has issued financial support for SMEs and self-employed people (incl. law firms).

Information published by the Ukraine National Bar Association (Ukraine)

The information has been published in Ukrainian on the Bar’s website and translated into English by mechanic context translator (language imperfections may appear).

1. Restrictive measures

From March 17, 2020 until April 3, 2020, the following are prohibited:

1. It is forbidden to hold all mass events in which more than 10 people take part. Such activities include cultural, entertainment, sports, social, religious, advertising and other activities. That is, businesses operating in the fields of events and concerts, sports competitions, etc., are required to suspend their off-line activities if more than 10 people participate in the events. An exception is the measures necessary to ensure the activities of public authorities and local self-government bodies.

2. It is forbidden to work of business entities, which provides for the reception of visitors. Such entities include, in particular: catering establishments (restaurants, cafes, etc.), shopping and entertainment centers, other recreational establishments, fitness centers, cultural establishments, retail and public service establishments. An exception is retailing of food, fuel, hygiene products, medicines and medical products, communications. In addition, banking and insurance activities, as well as trading and catering activities with targeted delivery of orders are allowed, but subject to the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment. In addition, public transport is restricted. In particular, the transportation of more than 10 passengers at the same time in trams, trolleybuses and minibuses, as well as the transportation of passengers by metros of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro.

3. Closure of checkpoints and borders of Ukraine – from 17.03.2020, the border crossing points of Ukraine for regular passenger traffic will be closed for two weeks, and for foreigners and stateless persons, except for people who hold a certificate, will be suspended for two weeks from March 16, 2020. permanent or temporary residence.

2. Emergency mode

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has decided to establish an emergency regime in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Ivano-Frankivsk regions since March 20, 2020.

Emergency – situation in a separate territory or entity on it or a water body, characterized by a violation of normal living conditions caused by catastrophe, accident, fire, natural disaster, epidemic, epizootic, epiphytophobia an event that (could) lead to a threat to the life or health of the population, the large number of casualties and casualties, significant material loss, and the inability to live on settling in such territory or object, conducting business therein. It should be noted that an “emergency” does not by itself introduce a “curfew” and is not a “state of emergency”.

Also, by the Protocol Decision of the Standing Committee of the TEB and the National Assembly it was decided to introduce additional restrictive measures in the territory of the city of Kiev, in particular:

– from 23.03.2020 to cease all passenger transportation by public transport (except for the carriage of special categories of workers);
– from 25.03.2020 to the heads of the network of grocery stores and pharmacies to ensure the availability of consumers in the commercial premises in an amount of 1 person per 10 m2 and to ensure measures to comply with sanitary standards.

3. Quarantine business benefits

During the quarantine, not only restrictive measures are implemented, but also benefits are provided for some business segment.

They are temporarily exempted from the payment and payment of the single social contribution (ESA) for the periods from 1 to 31 March and from 1 April to 30 April 2020:

– individuals – entrepreneurs, including those who have opted for a simplified tax system;
– persons engaged in independent professional activity (this category includes: scientific, literary, artistic, artistic, educational or teaching, as well as medical, legal practice, including advocacy, notarial activities, etc.)
– members of the farm, if they do not belong to persons who are subject to insurance on other grounds.

In addition, the penalties imposed on the ESA payer are not provisionally applied for the following violations:

– late payment (late transfer) of a single payment;
– incomplete payment or late payment of the amount of the single payment at the same time as the issuance of sums of payments on which the single contribution (advance payments) is charged;
– untimely submission of the reports provided by this Law to the tax authorities.

During the periods from March 1 to March 31 and April 1 to April 30, 2020, no single fee will be charged to the payers , and the penalties for these periods are subject to write-offs and a moratorium on documentary checks on the correctness of calculation, calculation and payment of the single payment. for the period from March 18 to May 18, 2020.

Also, there is no charge and no payment for the period from March 1 to April 30, 2020 of land payment and delayed “fiscalisation” (PPO for business). For individual groups of entrepreneurs, the application of PPOs will be mandatory not from October 1, 2020, but from January 1, 2021. For all entrepreneurs, not from January 1, 2020, but from April 1, 2021.

Please note that the following tax exemptions apply only to:

– Sleeping Single Social Contribution (ERU);
– land payments;
– payment of a tax on real property owned by natural or legal persons other than the land;
– payment of import duties and VAT on medicines, medical equipment, medical devices intended to prevent the occurrence and spread of coronavirus disease.

All other taxes are calculated and paid in accordance with the law.

4. Coronavirus Law for Employers and Entrepreneurs

On March 17, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the so-called “Coronavirus Act”, whereby a number of regulatory acts are temporarily amended.

The Law implements a set of measures aimed at preventing and treating coronavirus infection, in particular:

– 100% prepayment for works, goods and services required for the purpose of prevention and treatment of COVID-19;
– exemption from payment of import duties and VAT on medicines, medical equipment, medical devices intended to prevent the occurrence and spread of coronavirus disease.

Relationships with employees:

– the ability to work at home for employees and provide them with leave;
– giving owners the right to change operating modes;
– the period of leave without pay, in connection with the introduction of quarantine, may exceed 15 calendar days per year.

One of the key and important provisions of the Law is the recognition of the fact of quarantine force majeure. This provision puts an end to the legal disputes over the recognition of the introduction of quarantine as an irresistible force that has arisen in recent days. Recognition of quarantine by a form-major circumstance at the legislative level will make it much easier to obtain a certificate from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for those entities that are unable to fulfill their obligations to the counterparty through quarantine.

5. Responsibility

Separately, it should be noted that the Law on Coronavirus, for violation of sanitary rules and norms for the prevention of infectious diseases increased:

– administrative liability (fine ranging from UAH 17 thousand to UAH 174 thousand);

– criminal liability (from a fine of UAH 17-51 thousand to imprisonment for a term of five to eight years).

Based on official reports from the National Police of Ukraine, as of March 20, 2020, 613 administrative reports have been drawn up and 7 criminal proceedings have been filed for violation of quarantine rules.

In addition, on March 20, 2020, the Shevchenkivsky District Court of Kyiv considered a case for violation of the quarantine rules and imposed an administrative fine of 17 thousand hryvnias for selling food from a hand in an unspecified place during the quarantine.


There have been many changes that need to be understood, implemented and properly applied in their own activities. These include tax breaks and benefits, employee relationships, and activity restrictions.

Unfortunately, some of the changes are quite generic . This can lead to different interpretations of restrictions and permitted activities. The questions we have been working on lately are the following: what counts as retail , and if the store has other products in the grocery store, does it allow us to continue in business; Is it possible to hold several events with up to 10 people involved; whether the organizers of events “up to 10 people”; how to defer payment on a contract or terminate a contract. In addition, there are many cases of violation of the law when imposing penalties for violation of restrictions. Among the most common ones are unauthorized state bodies, non-compliance with the procedure and the absence of any violations (misinterpretation of the restrictions imposed). All wrongful decisions should be appealed. As each business has its own peculiarities, we recommend that you consult with qualified attorneys and lawyers on a case-by-case basis for proper legal assistance.

Information published by the Law Society (with updates) (England & Wales, UK)

As solicitors’ professional body we’re hearing a lot from our members on the ground. We’re using that insight as the voice of solicitors with government and regulators during the pandemic. We’re developing advice and support to help you through this difficult period.

Our priorities are:

– looking after our members’ safety – from protecting our members in courts to pushing for documents to be signed remotely
– helping members keep their businesses going – from advice on government support to tips on remote working
– helping members stay compliant – lobbying regulators to make changes
– protecting the rule of law – scrutinising the emergency legislation

These were our immediate priorities in the first days of the crisis. We’re already starting to see results, and we’re now turning to other issues that arise.

General info from the Law Society

Law Society president’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Law Society publishes coronavirus guidance

Update on legal practitioner key workers

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for our members’ wellbeing

Update on courts during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and updates

New protocol for the effective handling of custody time limit cases in the magistrates’ and the crown court

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance to conveyancers advising clients on house moves

March 28

European Court of Human Rights is taking exceptional measures and is publishing guide on Art. 15

The European Court of Human Rights is taking a number of exceptional measures to respond to the unprecedented global health crisis, having regard to the recent decisions of the French authorities and the Council of Europe.

The Court’s essential activities will in principle be maintained and especially the handling of priority cases. For that purpose, teleworking has been put in place within the Court as a general rule, to ensure the continuity of its tasks. Procedures have been adopted for the examination of urgent requests for interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. This Rule applies only when there is an imminent risk of irreversible harm.

The premises of the European Court of Human Rights are no longer accessible to the public and the hearings scheduled for March and April are cancelled, pending further decisions. The six-month time-limit for the lodging of applications, under Article 35 of the European Convention on Human Rights, is exceptionally suspended for a one-month period running from Monday 16 March 2020.

All time-limits allotted in proceedings that are currently pending will be suspended for one month, with effect from Monday 16 March 2020.

These new working arrangements will be kept constantly under review, depending on the evolution of the sanitary situation, so that every effort is made to ensure the Court carries on functioning while complying with the rules laid down by its host State.

The Court has also published a guidance and factsheet on Article 15 of the European Convention on human rights, which is related to state of emergency and suspension of some rights protected by the Convention.

Please find below documents for download:

Guide on Article 15 ENG
Guide on Article 15 FRA
Derogation in time of emergency
Dérogation en cas d’état d’urgence

March 21

Meeting of the AEA-EAL Board

AEA-EAL Board of Directors after the meeting in Brussels

On January 18, 2020 AEA-EAL Board met in Brussels to confirm activities of the Association planned for 2020 as well as to discuss enhancing of cooperation with the Brussels Bar. Directors welcomed Isabelle Andoulsi, Member of the Board of the French Speaking Brussels Bar and exchanged their views on future common actions. Further mutual meeting was confirmed. The Board discussed issues connected with strengthening cooperation of the AEA-EAL with Eastern lawyers. Our President Maria Ślazak passed her words of gratitude to Directors for their work in 2019 resulting with successful events and increased number of members. The Board supported President’s strategy and planned actions. During the meeting, Directors confirmed three events that will be organized this year by our Association: a conference on Legal language in practice of lawyers and courts together with the Białystok Bar of Attorneys-at-Law. The event is taking place on 25 – 27 June 2020 in Białystok, Poland. Our second event is Twinning of Lawyers organized together with the Odessa Bar Council on 10 – 13 September 2020 in Odessa, Ukraine. And in the autumn we invite you for Third Scientific Seminar: Market Access and EEA – Free Trade – and alternatives that will take place on 29 October 2020 in Bern, Switzerland.

AEA-EAL President and Past Presidents: Monique Stengel, Elisabeth Hoffmann, Maria Ślązak (President), Jean-Pierre van Cutsem

February 28

Andrzej Kaliński has passed away

With a huge grief we have to inform you that Andrzej Kaliński, Member of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors died suddenly. Andrzej Kaliński was a lawyer, Dean of the Bialystok Bar Association of Attorneys at Law, former diplomat, but above all a wonderful colleague and friend. We could always count on his initiative, cleverness and good-heartedness. We have been working together on organizing our Annual Meeting in Białystok in June of this year. He conducted talks with vigor and humor – as always. No one could expect this tragedy.

Honor His Memory!

February 22

The 48th European Presidents' Conference took place in Vienna.

Presidents and High Representatives of almost all European Bars as well as international organizations of lawyers gathered in Vienna on February 20 – 22, 2020 to discuss important issues touching civil society and legal profession. The AEA-EAL was represented by its President Maria Ślązak.

“Democracy and Rule of Law – Keeping up the Pressure” was the main topic of Vienna’s deliberations. Due to its significance for the people and for lawyers, organizators invited special guests and speakers, among others, Brigitte Bierlein, former Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Heinz Fischer,former President of the Republic of Austria, founder of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Gábor Halmai, Professor and Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law, European University Institute in Florence, Didier Reynders, EU-Commissioner for Justice, Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Professor, Comparative and Economic Law Division, Institute of Legal Administrative Studies on Warsaw University and Alma Zadić, Federal Minister of Justice of the Republic of Austria.

The European Presidents’ Conference, has always been met with high interest and respect from Austrian authorities. It is a tradition that a day before the conference, the Mayor of City of Vienna hosts the welcome evening reception. During the main day of the conference, Federal President of Austria welcomes conference participants in his official seat as well as a meeting with the Federal Chancellor takes place on that day. In the second day’s morning, a Federal Minister of Justice meets with conference attendees in the premises of the Ministry of Justice.

February 17

AEA-EAL President invited to the Council of Europe

On January 30, 2020, AEA-EAL President Maria Ślązak participated as an invited expert in a hearing organized by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoC) on the principles and guarantees of advocates. She delivered an oral intervention on legal instruments protecting legal profession and their effectiveness in securing citizens’ rights to independent legal advice and defense. The invitation was a result of previous activities of the AEA-EAL, including organization and co-organization of the conferences on profession of a lawyer in Almaty and Tbilisi 2018.

The hearing was organized in the framework of works on the European Convention on the Profession of a Lawyer in order to prepare an introductory memorandum of the Committee for the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoC) on possible improvements in the given area.

Maria Ślązak was talking on existing legal guarantees for lawyers, mainly the Recommendation Rec (2000)21 of the Committee of Ministers on freedom of exercise of the profession of a lawyer. She pointed out that the document is not legally binding for Member States and its principles like independence, protection of confidential relations between lawyer and his/ her client or prohibition of sanctions, pressure and threats against lawyers are often violated by some Member States.

AEA-EAL President noted that existing soft law such as Recommendation, is not sufficient instrument to motivate authorities of Member States to respect lawyers’ rights which are absolutely necessary for proper delivery of legal assistance. The hard law is needed to assure citizens that legal support will be delivered in conditions giving full respect of authorities for rule of law in their countries.

February 9

AEA-EAL Upcoming events

Save the date in your calendar – three new AEA-EAL conferences has been announced: 25 – 27 June in Białystok, Poland, 10 – 13 September in Odessa, Ukraine and 29 October in Bern, Switzerland. Stay tuned for updates!

Legal language in practice of lawyers and courts – 25 – 27 June 2020 in Białystok, Poland – cancelled – see below

We cordially invite you for AEA-EAL conference organized together with the Białystok Bar of Attorneys-at-law devoted to the main tool used every day by every lawyer – language. Three main areas will be explored:

  1. Understanding of legal language by the public
  2. Common meaning of terms of legal language within the EU
  3. New technologies and influence of them on legal language.

Białystok is a capital of Podlasie Region, where various cultures, nations and religions created a unique local traditions and customs. Podlasie is known as “Green Lungs of Poland” with wild forests, rivers, unique animals (the only natural Bisons in Europe!) and many more listed on UNESCO World Heritage List. For conference participants an extensive sightseeing program is foreseen to discover miracles of the nature.

Due to Covid 19 pandemic the conference has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Twinning of Lawyers – 10 – 13 September 2020 in Odessa, Ukraine

For the second time we invite all colleagues from East and the West to participate the Twinning of Lawyers – a unique event designed in particular to strengthen professional and personal relations between lawyers from various countries. Hosting foreign colleagues at lawyers’ homes, number of networking activities and tourist program will make us closer to each other regardless region or legal jurisdiction.

The draft program of the Twinning is following:
(subject to changes)

Thursday, 10 September

  • arrival of participants
  • dinners hosted by Ukrainian colleagues at their homes

Friday, 11 September

  • seminar on Social responsibility of bar associations and lawyers
  • dinner offered by the Collegium of Advocates of Odessa

Saturday, 12 September

  • networking activities/ sightseeing program

Sunday, 13 September

  • departures of participants

Odessa is known for its beauty, mild mediterranean climate, very good cuisine & vines as well as warm Black Sea. You must visit it!

More information coming soon!

Panorama of Thun city in the canton of Bern with Alps and Thunersee lake, Switzerland.

Seminar Market Access and EEA – Free Trade – and alternatives – 29 October 2020 in Bern, Switzerland

For the third time time we organize a seminar on various aspects of access to the European Single Market. In Autumn 2020 we will face final stage of post-brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which will bring a new model of trade relations between those parties. Also, membership negotiations between the EU and some Western Balkans states are foreseen to begin. All will bring new challenges, which will be discussed in Bern. Do not miss the opportunity to meet top experts and specialist!

More information coming soon!

January 11

10 Day of Endangered Lawyers

The tenth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, on January 24, 2020, will focus on Pakistan

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties. They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of murdered lawyers have also been murdered.

Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police. Sometimes christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.

The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 54 lawyers.

Since then there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.

Four organisations (IAPL, AED, ELDH and the Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer) are working close together again to prepare the next day, with full support from the coalition of lawyer organizations and BAR associations as founded this year in Brussels and a large number of other lawyers and BAR associations from all over the world.

The most recent step was the publication of a basic report about the present situation of the lawyers in Pakistan. In this basic report the situation of a number of lawyers is highlighted, in general the most serious cases. Most of the contents for this document were delivered by Pakistani lawyers as well as lawyer and BAR associations which are involved and specialised in the situation in Pakistan.

Source and more information – click here

December 19

Autumn - Winter Newsletter 2019

Dear AEA-EAL Members,
Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached the autumn-winter issue of our Newsletter.

Your AEA-EAL Team

Newsletter autumn – winter 2019 EN


Chers membres de l’AEA-EAL,
Chers collègues,

Veuillez trouver ci-joint le numéro d’automne-hiver de notre bulletin.

Votre AEA-EAL Team

Bulletin ete – hiver 2019 FR


Członkowie AEA-EAL
Drodzy koledzy i przyjaciele,

W załączeniu przesyłamy jesienno-zimowy numer naszego Biuletynu.

Wasz Zespół AEA-EAL

Biuletyn jesień – zima 2019 PL

November 8

AEA-EAL President delivered speeches in Tbilisi

Maria Ślazak, AEA-EAL President participated as a speaker in 7th International Conference of Lawyers organized by the The Georgian Bar Association (GBA) in partnership with the Council of Europe as a part of celebrations of the anniversary of 100 years of the GBA.Apart from addressing the assembly of lawyers, Maria delivered a presentation on key aspects of independence of legal profession and of their professional unions. It is worth to mention that also Jędrzej Klatka, our member from Katowice, Poland, and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish National Bar of Attorneys at law, made a presentation on interrelationship between the use of social networks by Advocates and their ethical obligations in the context of freedom of expression.

The conference took place on November 8, 2019.

November 7

Market Access and Market Fragmentation - today in Bern

Today’s AEA-EAL panel of experts on Market Access and Market Fragmentation – Unilateral and Agreed Standards gathered top experts, legal practitioners, governmental officials, ambassadors and top management of several sectors of Swiss industry.

Presentations of speakers will be available soon on our website

October 12

IBA-Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum 2019

The Forum will gather managing partners, heads of practice, in-house lawyers, and other senior practitioners coming from, or interested in, the ECA region.

Apart from discussion of cutting-edge issues of the legal market and profession, the event will offer a wonderful cultural and social programme.

– Legal challenges of investing in Caucasus and Central Asia
– Navigating investment risks in times of uncertainty: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova
– International Clients Service – what does it mean to work with globally active clients?
– Environment in the legal profession – unfair HR practices
– How do we foster a more equal, diverse and inclusive legal profession?
– Burnout of lawyers: something unavoidable?
– M&A transactions in the ECA region
– New world – new tax
– Dispute resolution in the region

Maria Ślązak, AEA-EAL President will be a speaker during this event.

More information and registration is available here.

October 10

7th International Conference of Advocates

The Georgian Bar Association in partnership with the Council of Europe is delighted to host International Conference of Advocates for the seventh consecutive year. The Conference will take place in Tbilisi – a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious city on the crossroads of history which attracts visitors since 5th century AD when it became the capital city of Georgia and which represents a nice blend of both East and West.

The Conference will focus on the issue of “the Role of Bar Associations and Law Societies in Effective Administration of Justice” and it will showcase the presentations of Council of Europe experts on European standards and presentations of Bar leaders on country perspectives concerning the following areas:

– Key aspects of independence of legal profession and of their professional unions;
– Importance and the ways of effective cooperation among Bar, Judiciary and Prosecution;
– Interrelationship between the use of social networks by advocates and their ethical obligations in the context of freedom of expression.

The best practices will be analyzed and compiled in a joint working document which will be shared with all the participants and subsequently published for further guidance and reference for the benefit of the profession of lawyer in the countries concerned.

Further information and registration are available here.

September 20

I International Forum of Law Offices in Wrocław

Aleksandra Siewicka – Marszałek, AES-EAL Secretary General, represented our Association during the I International Forum of Law Offices in Wrocław, organized by the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Wrocław Bar of Attorneys-at-Law. Aleksandra presented the AEA-EAL and its activities focusing on our networking role and gathering lawyers from various countries and jurisdictions.

September 18

AEA-EAL signs the statement on Philippines

The AEA-EAL, together with other international organizations of lawyers, bar associations and law societies, issued a Statement THE PHILIPPINES: ATTACKS AGAINST LAWYERS ESCALATING. We call the administration of President Duerte to stop any attacks and harassments against lawyers and to secure the true independence of the profession.

Please find below the statement for download in pdf as well as ready for reading as picture.

Philippine Statement September 2019 final

September 18

Legal Business Forum, 17 - 19 October 2019 in Łódź, Poland


Organized in the “Polish Manchester”, industrial XIX century city of Łódź Legal Business Forum had the aim to show a practical implementation of new technologies in our daily work. We focused on such topics as digital transformation in law offices, impact and making use of concrete IT tools like blockchain, smart contracts, etc. in the light of changing professional practice, predictive justice or Artificial Intelligence and robotics in law and regulations. Our priority was to present very practical innovation and technologies and its influence on performing legal profession and business.

Fantastic first panel on technological change on legal services market brought three perspectives: from a legal practitioner, from a bar association and from a legaltech start-up.

Second panel on new technologies and IT tools in legal practice showed us a case of an phishing attack on a law firm and its consequences, a look into smart contracts as well as how AI may help lawyers not replacing them.

Third panel on AI and human rights gave us overview on serious issues connected: shall AI be a subject of human rights? How to attribute rights to it? And many many more!

The fourth panel was a combination of presentations and discussions between lawyers and business on supporting each other in the reality of technology and economy.

The fifth panel on blockchain technology took us into two divided worlds that should become one in future: world of lawyers and world of IT specialists.

The audience was not only listening to the speakers but discussed lively during the breaks

Download program and conference presentations:

Legal Business Forum programme

Anna Atanasow

Amirali Nasir panel 3

Amirali Nasir panel 5

Damian Klimas

Dominik Lubasz

Jacek Harasimowicz

Jakub Barwaniec

Jędrzej Klatka

Maciej Krasowski

Marcin Jan Wachowski

Maria Dymitruk

Maria Ślązak

Valentine Hollier Roux

More photos are available on our Facebook

September 7

Tbilisi Legal Forum, 6 - 7 September 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia

It was wonderful to be in Tbilisi again and to make such a great event – Tbilisi Legal Forum – together with the Georgian Bar Association and Hong Kong Law Society.

With 100 participants (Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, China etc.) – among others 20 lawyers from Poland coming from our collective members – Białystok Bar of Attorneys-at-law and Gdańsk Bar of Attorneys-at-law , this conference was devoted to important issues connecting lawyers and entrepreneurs: business climate and investment regulations in Hong-Kong, China and Georgia, One Belt One Road Initiative and its legal aspects, setting up the procedure between participating parties to assist business community in their countries, to find a proper lawyer when investing/trading, information on principles of performing legal services by foreign lawyers, etc. The event took place in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Georgian Bar Association and the Hong Kong Law Society. Similar memorandum has been signed between the HK Law Society and the Regional Bar of Attorneys-at- Law in Gdańsk, who was also participated in the Forum.

We welcomed many distinguished speakers and guests, among others Natela Turnava – Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, Nikoloz Alavidze – Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, Davit Aptsiauri, General Director of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Special Representative of Georgian Government in the new Belt and Road Project, Anna Chernyshova – Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Georgia, Nino Bakakuri – Judge, Supreme Court of Georgia, Irakli Lekvinadze – Business Ombudsman of Georgia, David Asatiani – President of the Georgian Bar Association, Melissa Pang – President of the Law Society of Hong Kong, Maria Slazak – President of the European Association of Lawyers, Stephen Hung – Past President and Council Member of the Law Society of Hong Kong, Wu Jian – All China Lawyers Association, Council of the Shanghai Bar Association, Mikheil Khidureli – CEO Enterprise Georgia, Levan Vepkhvadze – Executive Director of Business Association of Georgia, and Iamze Legashvili – Chair of the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC).

Conference presentations (for download)

Melisa Pang – 1

Melisaa Pang – 2

Mikheil Khidureli

Shi Jun

Stephan Hung – 1

Stephan Hung -2

Wu Jian

August 15

Summer Newsletter 2019

Dear AEA-EAL Members,
Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached the summer issue of our Newsletter.

We pay your particular attention to the forthcoming conference East – West Economic Cooperation: Tbilisi Legal Forum. Registration for this event is now available through the website

Your AEA-EAL Team

Newsletter summer 2019 EN


Chers membres de l’AEA-EAL,
Chers collègues,

Veuillez trouver ci-joint le numéro d’été de notre bulletin.

Nous accordons une attention particulière à la prochaine conférence COOPÉRATION ÉCONOMIQUE EST-OUEST: FORUM JURIDIQUE DE TBILISI. L’inscription à cet événement est désormais disponible sur l’site Web https://www.tbilisilegalforum.com/.

Votre AEA-EAL Team

Newsletter summer 2019 FR


Уважаемые члены AEA-EAL!
Уважаемые коллеги,

Пожалуйста, приложите новый выпуск нашего информационного бюллетеня.

Мы обращаем ваше особое внимание на предстоящую конференцию ВОСТОЧНО-ЗАПАДНОЕ ЭКОНОМИЧЕСКОЕ СОТРУДНИЧЕСТВО: ТБИЛИССКИЙ ЮРИДИЧЕСКИЙ ФОРУМ. Регистрация на это событие теперь доступна через наш сайт https://www.tbilisilegalforum.com/.
Ваша команда AEA-EAL

Newsletter summer 2019 RU


Członkowie AEA-EAL
Drodzy koledzy i przyjaciele,

W załączeniu przesyłamy letni numer naszego Biuletynu.

Prosimy o zwrócenie szczególnej uwagi na informację o nadchodzącej konferencji: WSPÓŁPRACA GOSPODARCZA WSCHÓD ZACHÓD: FORUM PRAWNIKÓW W TBILISI. Rejestracja na to wydarzenie jest dostępna na stronie https://www.tbilisilegalforum.com/.

Do Biuletynu załączona jest także informacja o specjalnej ofercie ERA dla polskich prawników oraz raport z realizacji projektu Twinningu Prawników w Gdańsku.

Wasz Zespół AEA-EAL

Newsletter summer 2019 PL

August 15

Special ERA offer for Polish lawyers

Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier has prepared a special offer of a seminar on Legal Capacity of Persons with Disabilities.

The training is funded by the European Commission. ERA may reimburse cost of travel and accommodation for participants. More information is available in the below flyer (in Polish).

Deadline for registrations: August 25, 2019.

August 15

Tbilisi Legal Forum - conference program


East-West Economic Partnership: Tbilisi Legal Forum
6-7 September, 2019


September 6

10:30 – 11:00 Welcome Coffee / Registration

11:00 – 11:30 Opening Remarks

  • David Asatiani – Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association
  • Natela Turnava – Minister of Economic Development of Georgia (TBC)
  • Carl Hartzell – Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia
  • Melissa Pang – President of the Law Society of Hong Kong
  • Maria Slazak – President of the European Association of Lawyers

11:30-13:00 Session 1: The Belt and Road Initiative. 

Overview of the Initiative/Investment Opportunities/Prospects of Economic Cooperation/Prospects of Legal Cooperation

  • Wu Jian – All China Lawyers Association, Council of the Shanghai Bar Association
  • Stephen Hung – Past President and Council Member of the Law Society of Hong Kong
  • Nikoloz Alavidze – Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Georgia
  • Maria Slazak – President of the European Association of Lawyers

Discussion and Q&A Session

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Session 2: Business and Investment Regulations.

Business Climate and Investment Regulations in Georgia Company registration/Tax regulations/Customs regulations/Free Industrial Zones/Free Trade Agreements between Georgia and China and Hong Kong/EU-Georgia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area/Judicial system and legal proceedings.

  • Mikheil Khidureli – CEO Enterprise Georgia
  • Mariam Kublashvili – Lawyer, Executive Board member of the Georgian Bar Association
  • Irakli Lekvinadze – Business Ombudsman of Georgia
  • Levan Vepkhvadze – Executive Director of Business Association of Georgia

Business Climate and Investment Regulations in China and Hong-Kong. Company registration/Tax regulations/Customs regulations/Free Trade Agreements between Georgia and Chin and Hong Kong/Judicial system and legal proceedings

  • Shi Jun – All China Lawyers Association, Vice Director of Foreign Affairs Committee of Shanghai Bar Association
  • Melissa Pang – President of the Law Society of Hong Kong

Discussion and Q&A Session

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-17:00 Session 3: Investment Dispute Resolution.

Commercial mediation as a way of effective resolution of investment disputes

  • Nino Bakakuri – Judge, Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Ph.D. Irakli Kandashvili, Executive Board Member of the Georgian Bar Association
  • Iamze Legashvili – Chair of the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC)

Discussion and Q&A Session

17:00 – 17:10 Day 1 closing remarks

19:00 Gala dinner

September 7

10:30 – 11:00 Welcome Coffee

11:00 – 12:30 Session 4: Legal Cooperation

Importance and the Ways of Cross Border Legal Cooperation Among Legal Professionals and Bar Associations/Law Societies

  • Maria Slazak, President of the European Association of Lawyers
  • David Asatiani, President of the Georgian Bar Association
  • Melissa Pang, President of the Law Society of Hong Kong

Discussion and Q&A Session

12:30 – 13:00 Closing Remarks

  • David Asatiani – Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association

13:00 – 17:00 Wine Tour (for international guests only)


Register here

July 8

Video presentations from Edinburgh conference

We are delighted to present video presentations from our conference AI Beyond the Hype: benefits, Challenges and Liabilities that took place in Edinburgh on May 31, 2019. You can watch now speeches delivered during the conference.

Iain Mitchell QC

Professor Burkhard Schafer

Karmen Turk

Professor Timo Minssen

Katherina Miller

Chris Rees

Andrew Katz

Professor Wojciech Wiewiórowski

July 8

Photos from Twinning of Lawyers in Gdańsk

Visit our Facebook to see photos from Twinning of lawyers that took place in Gdańsk on July 5 – 6, 2019. We are delighted to gather lawyers from Asia and Europe including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. See the album here

June 11

AI Beyond the Hype, 30 May - 1 June 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It was a great pleasure in meeting you in Edinburgh on an international conference on Artificial Intelligence AI Beyond the Hype – Benefits, Challenges and Liabilities on May 30 – June 1, 2019. The conference was organized by our Association AEA-EAL, the Scottish Society for Computers and Law and the Faculty of Advocates in partnership with British Computer Society and the SCRIPT Centre at Edinburgh University. Topics discussed included: What is AI and why should I care?; AI and legal liability; AI and Fundamental Rights; Towards an Ethical use of AI and AI and licensing issues. The speakers were leading experts, both legal practitioners and academics: Professor Timo Minssen, Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law at the University of Copenhagen; Professor Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory and Director of the SCRIPT Centre at Edinburgh University, Katharina Miller, President of the European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA). Andrew Katz, joint editor of the International Free and Open Source Law Review, and a leading expert on software licensing; Chris Rees, the immediate Past President of the British Computer Society, Karmen Turk, advisor to the Estonian Government on AI issues and Iain Mitchell QC, Chairman of the Scottish Society for Computers and Law, Honorary Lecturer in IT Law at Münster University. There were also a video contribution from Wojciech Wiewiórowski, the Assistant Supervisor at the office of the European Data Protection Supervisor. Very interesting presentations, panels and speeches were followed by lively discussions and questions from participants who were truly involved or interested in this fast-moving field. The Conference was a spectacular opportunity to share information and knowledge about AI as hugely important topic as well as was an excellent chance to build an effective platform for communication and cooperation among stakeholders: lawyers, IT professionals and academics.

Please find below links to presentations to be downloaded or streamed:

Presentation Karmen Turk

Presentation Katharina Miller

Presentation Professor Minssen 2

Presentation Professor Minssen

Presentation Professor Schafer

Presentation Andrew Katz

Speech Chris Rees

awakens – episode 1

Sophia awakens – episode 2

Iain Mitchell QC

Professor Burkhard Schafer

Karmen Turk

Professor Timo Minssen

Katherina Miller

Chris Rees

Andrew Katz

Professor Wojciech Wiewiórowski

May 13

14 Bar Leaders Conference in Budapest

Our President Maria Ślązak has participated in 14 annual Bar Leaders’ Conference in Budapest organized by International Bar Association. Maria presented outcome of the “Advocates 2018” prepared by the AEA-EAL in cooperation with IBA in Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 15-16, 2018.The conference was very-well welcomed by participants coming from 16 various countries and jurisdictions.

March 2

AEA-EAL on European Presidents Conference in Vienna

Maria Ślązak, President of the AEA-EAL, represented our Association during the 47th Conference of Presidents of European Bars, Law Societies and international organizations of lawyers. This year’s main topic was rule of law and fundamental rights.

During their stay in Vienna, the participants of the Vienna Advocates’ Deliberations are hosted by the Federal Minister of Justice and the Mayor of the City of Vienna. The fact that more than 200 participants from all parts of Europe but also representatives of international lawyers’ organizations attend the European Presidents’ Conference in Vienna, serves as a yardstick for the importance that the Vienna Advocates’ Deliberations have acquired for the legal professions over the years and even decades.

The Vienna Advocates’ Deliberations afford a most appropriate platform, not only for exchanging opinions and views, but also for filling information deficits, debating different viewpoints and developing strategies.

The European Presidents’ Conference has become a forum for dialogue, where the elected representatives of lawyers’ organizations in Europe engage in an exchange of experience. It is this principle of “informality” of the European Presidents’ Conference, together with an attractive social programme, which has proved to be successful for more than a quarter-century, without any interruption.

In addition to the traditional social programme – a welcome evening reception, a reception and gala dinner at the Palais Pallavicini, as well as the “Juristenball” (Lawyers’ Ball) at the Hofburg Palace as a splendid finale – the working session at the Palais Ferstel is at the centre of the Vienna Advocates’ Deliberations.

February 5

International Lawyers Day celebrated across Americas on February 3.

Countries in Latin America as well as in the United States commemorates lawyers’ contribution to the society on February 3 each year, which has been established an International Lawyers Day. This day is commemorated to recognize the hard work of lawyers, their work as rights advocates and in charged with overseeing justice. However, it is also a day to remember the duties of the lawyer as to the application of laws and justice.

Different countries have their own history and day to commemorate lawyers: Ecuador February 20, Chile May 21, Colombia June 22, Venezuela June 23, Paraguay August 2, Brazil August 11, Argentina August 29, Bolivia October 12, USA May 1 (Law Day), among others. Nevertheless, on February 3 of each year all countries commemorate the International Day of the Lawyer.

December 21

Posted Lawyers in Europe, 23 - 24 November 2019 in Lyon, France

A successful conference on posted workers in Lyon. With a number of engaged participants, top speakers and lively discussions it was one of the best AEA-EAL event organized this year. Thank to Lyon Bar for hosting us in its premises. Thanks to all speakers, participants and organizers for our common success!

EN Lyon report

Une conférence sur les travailleurs détachés à Lyon. Avec un certain nombre de participants engagés, des orateurs de premier plan et des discussions animées, ce fut l’un des meilleurs événements AEA-EAL organisés cette année. Merci au Barreau de Lyon de nous accueillir dans ses locaux. Merci à tous les intervenants, participants et organisateurs pour notre succès commun!
see more on our Facebook

PL Raport z konferencji w Lyonie

December 10

Human Rights Day

70 years ago the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To commemorate this and to promote the human rights and civil liberties worldwide, a Human Rights Day is celebrate on December 10 every year. The AEA-EAL as a member of the Defence of Defenders Network contributes to promoting and protecting human rights.


Il y a 70 ans, l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies a adopté la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme. Pour commémorer cela et promouvoir les droits de l’homme et les libertés civiles dans le monde entier, une Journée des droits de l’homme est célébrée chaque année le 10 décembre. L’AEA-EAL, en tant que membre du réseau de défense des défenseurs, contribue à la promotion et à la protection des droits de l’homme.

December 5

Statement on future Lawyers' Convention

AEA-EAL and Georgian Bar Association strongly supports the idea of drafting the Convention on a Profession of a Lawyer by the Council of Europe.

Find below our common statement


L’AEA-EAL et le Barreau géorgien soutiennent fermement l’idée de la rédaction de la Convention sur la profession d’avocat par le Conseil de l’Europe.

Retrouvez ci-dessous notre déclaration commune (EN)


November 8

Modern Legal Profession, 8 - 9 November 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia

Laurent Pettiti (France), Maria Ślązak (AEA-EAL President, Poland), David Asatiani (GBA President), Christoph von Wilcken (AEA-EAL Vice-President, Germany), Ruppert Wolff (President of the Austrian Bar)

A very intensive conference on the Modern Legal Profession held in Tbilisi together by the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) and European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL). The speakers touched such issues like exclusivity of lawyers’ profession, protection of legal services market, ntrance into lawyers’ profession and support of newcomers: European standards and best practices, road to drafting the European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer and role of bar associations and private lawyers in providing pro-bono legal aid.

At the end of the conference its participants called unanimously the Council of Europe to adopt the European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer. You may read the resolution here.

Go to our gallery to see more photos.

October 27

Market Access: Legal Parameters in Europe and beyond, 26 October 2018 in Bern, Switzerland

HE Jane Owen, UK Ambassador to the Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Maria Ślazak, AEA-EAL President, Professor Michael Hahn, Managing Director of the Institut für Europa- und Wirtschaftsvölkerrecht and Professor Philipp Zurkinden, AEA-EAL Past President together with representatives of Swiss Government

On October 26, 2018, AEA-EAL and World Trade Institute organized workshop “Market Access: Legal Parameters in Europe and beyond” devoted to various aspects of trade of third parties with the UE. Top experts, politicians and specialists discussed possibilities of market access and its regulations – from general WTO rules to association and possible membership.

Slides for download:

Slides Bollinger

Slides Clifton

Slides Hahn

Slides Maurer

Slides Meister

Slides Rybchenko

Slides Tribelhorn

Slides Weber

Slides Zurkinden

October 21

Conference in Tbilisi

Dear Colleagues,
It is with great pleasure to invite you to the International Conference of Lawyers organized by the Georgian Bar Association in Partnership with the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) on November 8-9, 2018, in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The work of a lawyer in a globalizing world is becoming more and more complex and challenging. Thus, it is of utmost importance for us – lawyers to stay connected and share our experiences for the benefit of stronger legal profession and rule of law in our countries.

The program of the Conference will explore the following topics:
(1) exclusivity of a lawyer in legal counseling and representation;
(2) Restriction of unlicensed practice of law;
(3) Road towards a European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer being drafted by the Council of Europe;
(4) The standards of entry into the legal profession
(5) Role of the Bar Associations and private lawyers in promotion of pro-bono legal services.

I believe the Conference will be a wonderful occasion not only for your professional development but also for personal enrichment, as it will provide a networking opportunity among successful and highly experienced lawyers from around the globe, international experts, representatives of international organizations, diplomatic circles as well as Governmental institutions.
The Conference will also offer a social program to allow participants to experience Georgian culture, ancient historic sites, food and wine.

Registrations and questions:t.khokhobashvili@gba.ge

See you in Tbilisi!

David Asatiani
President of the Georgian Bar Association
Member of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors

Program of the conference for download: Draft Agenda Tbilisi

beautiful view of Narikala fortress and Tbilisi in Georgia

October 9

AEA-EAL Conference, Lyon, 23.11.2018

(English version below)

Chers membrés de l’ AEA-EAL
Chers Confrères ,
Chers amis,

Au nom du Conseil d ’Administration de l’AEA-EAL j’ai le Plaisir de vous inviter à un évènement particulier de notre Association–une conférence sur « les travailleurs détachés temporaires en Europe. Les aspects légaux, sociaux et économiques » La conférence aura lieu dans la belle ville de Lyon le 23 novembre 2018. Le sujet de notre conférence est vraiment actuel : En juin de cette année le Conseil de l’ Union Européenne approuvait la nouvelle directive sur les travailleurs détachés temporaires. Des discussions sont encore en cours dans de nombreux ; secteurs économique notamment le secteur du transport et de la logistique. Très récemment ,la semaine dernière, certains États membres mettait en cause la Directive en question devant la Cour de Justice de l’ Union Européenne.

Nous accueillerons de nombreux orateurs de très haut niveau avec comme objectif d’avoir une discussion très pratique et concrète. Nous aurons l’honneur d’accueillir Monsieur Antoine Foucher, Directeur du Cabinet de Madame Muriel Penicaud, Ministre des Affaires Sociales. Monsieur Jean Grosset, Questeur au Conseil Économique, Social et Environnemental, Rapporteur de l’avis sur les travailleurs détachés et sur le plan communautaire, Monsieur François Biltgen, Juge à la Cour de Justice de l’Union Européenne.

Outre l’aspect scientifique , cette évènement sera une excellente opportunité pour nous rencontrer ,pour faire connaissance avec des collègues d’autres pays et aussi de découvrir la beauté de la ville de Lyon. Le 22 novembre nous nous rencontrerons à l’occasion d’un dîner informel pour établir des liens et passer un bon moment ensemble. Le vendredi 23 novembre dans la soirée nous aurons une réception et un dîner de gala. Samedi matin nous aurons une réunion du Conseil d’ administration de l’ AEA-EAL à laquelle tous les membres sont invités à participer en tant qu’observateurs, et dans l’après-midi une agréable croisière sur le Rhône et une visite guidée du Musée de la Confluence.

Je vous invite tous cordialement à Lyon souhaitant ainsi des discussions fructueuses ,des rencontres dans une ambiance amicale et la possibilité de connaitre de plus en plus de membres de l’ AEA-EAL.

Avec mes meilleurs sentiments,

Maria Ślązak



Dear Members of the AEA-EAL,
Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,

On behalf of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors I have a pleasure to invite you for a special event of our Association – a conference “Posted workers in Europe. Legal, social and economic aspects”. The conference will take place in a beautiful city of Lyon on November 23, 2018. The topic of our gathering is very actual: in June this year the Council of the European Union approved the new directive on posting workers; still there are ongoing discussions on several sectors like transport and logistics. Very recently – last week – some Member States challenged above-mentioned Directive to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

We will host a number of excellent speakers representing policy-makers, industry, economy and lawyers with the aim to have a very practical discussion. We will have the honor of welcoming Mr. Antoine Foucher, Director of the Cabinet of Mrs. Muriel Penicaud, Minister of Social Affairs. Mr Jean Grosset, Quaestor at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Rapporteur of the opinion on posted workers and at Community level, Mr François Biltgen, Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Apart of the scientific aspect, our event will be an excellent opportunity to meet together, to know colleagues from other countries as well as to see the beauty of the city of Lyon. On Thursday, November 22 we will meet on informal dinner for networking and nice time together. On Friday evening, November 23, a reception and a gala dinner will take place. On Saturday we have will a meeting of the AEA-EAL Board of Directors, for which all AEA-EAL members are invited as observers, and after a nice cruising over the Rhône as well as a guided tour to the Museum will take place.

I cordially invite all of you to Lyon hoping for a fruitful discussions, meeting in a friendly atmosphere and knowing more and more of AEA-EAL members in person.

With my best personal regards,

Maria Ślązak


September 3

Irish Rule of Law International by Norville Conolly

Some of the IRLI volunteers/ directors outside the office in Lilongwe Malawi August 2018. Left to right Macdara O’Drisceoil, Maya Linstrum Newman, Tyler Holmes, Jolene Quinn, Eithne Lynch and Norville Connolly.

Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI) is a joint initiative of the Law Society of Ireland and the Bar of Ireland as well as the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the Bar of Northern Ireland, dedicated to promoting the rule of law in developing countries on a project-oriented, non-profit basis. IRLI seeks to harness the skills of Irish and Northern Irish lawyers in using the law as a means of tackling global injustice and empowering all people to live in a society free from inequality, corruption and conflict
Originally founded in 2007 by the Law Society of Ireland and the Bar of Ireland, the organisation has collaborated with academics, judges, legal practitioners, policy-makers and civil society around the world to advance collective knowledge of the relationship between rule of law, democracy, sustained economic development and human rights. IRLI was joined in 2015 by the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the Bar of Northern Ireland.
IRLI originated in the recognition of the importance of the rule of law for sustainable development and we believe that members of the Irish legal profession have a significant role to play in strengthening the rule of law and shaping the progress of fragile societies. IRLI has worked and is working in a number of countries for example Malawi.
IRLI has been working in Malawi since 2011, to address capacity challenges within the criminal justice sector with the overall aim of improving access to justice for unrepresented vulnerable persons. As part of this programme, Irish volunteer lawyers are seconded to or positioned strategically alongside the principal institutional actors in the criminal justice system: The Legal Aid Bureau, Ministry of Justice, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Malawi Police Service. Their work is also supplemented by volunteer lawyers based in Ireland, who provide short term intensive training for partner organisations.
The Malawi team is currently made up of Programme Manager Fran Flood, Programme Lawyers Macdara O Drisceoil, Tyler Holmes, Maya Linstrum Newman and Programme Officer Jolene Quinn. Two further volunteers are currently being recruited to support the team there.
In Malawi there is excessive use of pre-trial detention and the lack of a comprehensive legal aid system, amongst other factors, have resulted in overcrowding in Malawi’s prisons as well as considerably long detention times for prisoners being held on remand. Overcrowding in prisons is a prevailing problem across many nations in Africa, with the practice of holding prisoners on remand compounding the issue. As a result, in some countries a good majority of the prison population is made up of those awaiting trial. By reducing overcrowding, conditions for prisoners improve thus enhancing Malawi’s observance of the human rights of prisoners and remandees.
The poor of Malawi also face physical, financial and language barriers to legal aid. Most live in remote rural areas, live on an income of $1 per day, and do not speak English – the language of the court. With no representation vulnerable Malawians are often held in custody for months, or years, until a trial court acquits or sentences him/her.
In tackling access to justice for the poor, IRLI has sought to implement mechanisms in partnership with local actors to remove obstacles to free legal aid in the short-term (such as capacity constraints and shortage of lawyers) in order to bring about direct change at beneficiary level, while developing systemic, sustainable interventions aimed at providing long-term benefits to the wider criminal justice sector.
IRLI works to build capacity in the criminal justice sector and provide access to justice in the following ways:

 Working closely with advocates and officials in the Legal Aid Bureau to progress cases of remandees and juveniles, with a focus on children, women, the sick, and the elderly.

 Training of magistrates, police officers, social workers, advocates and paralegals in human rights and due process, restorative justice and diversion, case management and client care, as well as the protection of children and young offenders who come in conflict with the law;

 Supporting the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to improve case management systems, processing of homicide cases and writing of legal opinions.

 Working with the Malawi Police Service to strengthen diversion programmes in police stations in Lilongwe so that juveniles and first-time offenders of minor crimes are diverted from the already over-burdened prison system;

 Facilitating a Child Diversion Programme in partnership with Chisomo’s Children Club and the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare with a focus on reducing recidivism through correctional education;

 Engaging with local Traditional leaders, with the support of the Malawi Police Service and Legal Aid Bureau, to facilitate community legal education workshops to sensitise the broader community about bail rights, diversion, child protection and human rights.

The Malawi programme is funded by Irish Aid and the European Union.

Norville Connolly norvilleconnolly@gmail.com.
Director Irish Rule of Law International www.irishruleoflaw.ie.
Past President Law Society Northern Ireland
Member AEA-EAL (European Association of Lawyers)

August 11

Lawyers' independence

We invite you to read an article on lawyers’ independence written by dr Elisabeth Hoffmann, member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the AEA-EAL.



Lawyers play many vital roles in democratic systems by preserving, protecting and perpetuating the rights of citizens. In order to accomplish their mission, lawyers have essential rights but also significant duties such as.:

– independence of the public authorities
– freedom of speech
– the right not to be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes ;
– the right to legal privilege (professional secrecy) and the duty to safeguard it.


I. The principle of independence

In an impartial and balanced judicial system, lawyers play a vital role as a genuine auxiliary of justice. Their independence defined and protected by ethical rules of the profession, is indeed in the heart of an impartial justice. In their position as auxiliary of justice, lawyers do not organically belong to the public service of justice. They need to be independent . This independence has several aspects:

a) it is an intellectual first: lawyers must remain responsible of the legal arguments and the advices they give. They also need the right to refuse cases contrary to their conscience or likely to impair their independence

b) In order to maintain their independence, they have to keep a financial distance from their clients. For this reason, contingency fees are for example prohibited in the EU and there is a ban on participation in commercial activities.

The code of Conduct of European Lawyers enacted by the European Council of Bars and Law Societies (CCBE), formerly presided by Ms. Maria Slazak, describes under article 2.1 as follows the various implications of the principle of independence :

‘The many duties to which a lawyer is subject require the lawyer’s absolute independence, free from all other influence, especially such as may arise from his or her personal interests or external pressure. Such independence is as necessary to trust in the process of justice as the impartiality of the judge. A lawyer must therefore avoid any impairment of his or her independence and be careful not to compromise his or her professional standards in order to please the client, the court or third parties’.

II. Lawyer’s independence in the European approach

a) Freedom of expression and its limits

There is no justice if the lawyer is not free to speak without constraint and guaranteed by a strong immunity. This freedom of expression is an essential guarantee for the defense of citizen’s rights. In the case Morice v / France, the European Court of Human Rights stated that:
‘Being the cornerstone of a democratic society, freedom of expression had a particular characteristic as regards lawyers, who had to be able to carry on their profession without hindrance; if the use of their speech were to be censored or restricted, the real and effective defense of the citizen would not be guaranteed’ [ECHR case Morice v / France, 23 April 2015, application n° 29369/10 of 7 May 2010). If necessary in a democratic society, freedom of expression of the lawyer may only be exceptionally limited, in order namely to impede the disclosure of information received in confidence (professional secrecy), to prevent the attempts to the reputation or rights of other persons or to the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

b) Independence of the lawyer vis-a-vis his client

A reference to this kind of independence is made in the Code of Conduct for European Lawyers enacted by CCBE when it states that: ‘A lawyer must therefore avoid any impairment of his or her independence and be careful not to compromise his or her professional standards in order to please the client’. (Article2.1.).

As qualified and trained professionals, lawyers will first of all advise their clients in consideration of applicable laws and become logically ‘the first judge of the case’. Furthermore, their necessary professional and intellectual independence implies that they should never be identified with their client’s causes. This consideration is extremely important due to the tendency, in certain countries, especially in nondemocratic systems, to assimilate clients’ causes with their lawyers in order to jeopardize lawyers’ independence and freedom of speech.

c) Independence in front of the state authorities

In criminal proceedings, lawyers ensure the balance between defendants’ rights and their mission of maintaining public order. They must have the means to oppose the state authorities in order to assure the defense and representation of their clients, without fear for the latter or for themselves. A lawyer should never be subordinated to a political power and may only be controlled by independent self-regulating bodies i.e. Bars and/or the Law Societies. This independence from the State increases indeed substantially the necessary confidence of the client. The client’s rights are, of course, much better protected if he his is represented by a qualified professional who is not submitted to public authorities. Moreover, the respect of the ethical rules enacted by Bars and Law Societies independent from States contributes to reinforce the lawyer’s relationship of trust with his client. In many Member States of the EU, the legal profession successfully defends its ethical rules by letting them recognize by the States. Indeed, self regulation (fixing freely their professional rules and ability to organize and manage the profession) has to be considered as a corollary to the core value of independence.

d) Professional secrecy, a basic element of client’s trust and lawyer’s independence

By combining Articles 8 (right to privacy) and 6 (right to a fair trial) of the European
Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights offers an adequate protection of the duty of confidentiality – a principle which is not defined in the texts.

In the case Michaud v / France (ECHR 6 December 2012, application n° 12323/111 of 19 January 2011) the European Court of Human Rights stated that the licit fight against money laundering may not justify the deletion of the lawyers’ right to professional secrecy. It stressed that this right is essential in a democratic system and that the obligation for a lawyer to inform and cooperate with the authorities responsible for the fight against money laundering has to be executed in due consideration of the necessities of the protection of lawyers’ professional secrecy. The 4th EU directive No. 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing applies this jurisprudence by providing that the delivery of the concerned information to the public authorities must be previously submitted to the approval of the competent Bar or Law Society which will decide if this disclosure could jeopardize the protection of professional secrecy.

e) The recent jurisprudence of the EHCR

In a judgment rendered on April 4, 2018 (ECHR, Correia de Matos v / Portugal, 4 April 2018, application n° 56402/12 of 4 August 2012), the European Court of Human Rights has resumed its vision of the essential role played by independent and competent lawyers in the administration of justice. ‘139. The Court reiterates the most important role played by lawyers in the administration of justice. It has frequently referred to the fact that the specific status of lawyers gives them a central position in the administration of justice as intermediaries between the public and the courts and has pointed to the fact that, for members of the public to have confidence in the administration of justice, they must have confidence in the ability of the legal profession to provide effective representation (. . .); 140. That special role of lawyers, as independent professionals, in the administration of justice entails a number of duties, particularly with regard to their conduct, which must be discreet, honest and dignified (. . .) 141 . In Recommendation No. R(2000)21 on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe emphasized that the profession of an advocate must be exercised in such a way that it strengthens the rule of law. Furthermore, the principles applicable to the profession of advocate contain such values as the dignity and honour of the legal profession, the integrity and good standing of the individual advocate, respect towards professional colleagues as well as respect for the fair administration of justice;’

III. No independent lawyer without independent bar.

In the context of the legal profession, in addition to ‘independence of lawyers’, the democratic societies necessarily accept the necessity of the establishment of independent bodies self-regulating the legal profession, i.e. of the ‘independence of the Bar(s)’.

In a recommendation to Member States, the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe has namely stated that:

‘Bar associations or other professional lawyers’ associations should be encouraged to ensure the independence of lawyers and, inter alia, to:
a. promote and uphold the cause of justice, without fear;
b. defend the role of lawyers in society and, in particular, to maintain their honour, dignity and integrity;
c. promote the participation by lawyers in schemes to ensure the access to justice of persons in an economically weak position, in particular the provision of legal aid and advice;
d. promote and support law reform and discussion on existing and proposed legislation;
e. promote the welfare of members of the profession and assist them or their families if circumstances so require;
f co-operate with lawyers of other countries in order to promote the role of lawyers, in particular by considering the work of international organizations of lawyers and international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations;
g. promote the highest possible standards of competence of lawyers and maintain respect by lawyers for the standards of conduct and discipline’.
[Recommendation R(2000)21, art.V § 4].

IV The relations between lawyers and courts

The actual vision of a valuable relationship between lawyers and courts in a democratic society is properly expressed in the Opinion no. (2013) 16 on the relations between judges and lawyers, issued by the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) on 13-15 November 2013:
‘7. Judges and lawyers must be independent in the exercise of their duties, and must also be, and be seen to be, independent from each other. This independence is affirmed by the statute and ethical principles adopted by each profession. The CCJE considers such independence vital for the proper functioning of justice.
21. The CCJE considers that the relations between judges and lawyers should be based on the mutual understanding of each other’s role, on mutual respect and on independence vis-a-vis each other. The CCJE accordingly considers it necessary to develop dialogues and exchanges between judges and lawyers at a national and European institutional level on the issue of their mutual relations. The ethical principles of both judges and lawyers should be taken into account. In this regard, the CCJE encourages the identification of common ethical principles, such as the duty of independence, the duty to sustain the rule of law at all times, co-operation to ensure a fair and swift conduct of the proceedings and permanent professional training. Professional associations and independent governing bodies of both judges and lawyers should be responsible for this process’.

V Conclusions

Lawyers and their professional organizations have a crucial role in a democratic society founded on the respect of the Rule of the Law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Lawyers must be able to work independently and without fear and they deserve therefore special attention by everyone interested in a fair and impartial system of justice. Furthermore, the lawyers’ independence is not conceivable without the establishment of professional independent associations. In every country, lawyers should consequently be entitled to form and join self-governing bodies to represent their interests and protect their professional integrity. These bodies shall cooperate closely with governments and courts to ensure that everyone has effective and equal access to legal services. They should also guarantee that the lawyers may counsel and assist their clients in accordance with law and recognized professional standards and ethics, without improper interference of public authorities.

These core values of the profession are strongly linked and interdependent. They are the basic conditions of democratic society where citizens are entitled to confidence in their political and judicial system in order to ensure their fundamental rights and freedoms.