February 14

AEA-EAL on the 46th European Presidents' Conference

On February 8 – 10, 2018 Maria Ślązak, President of the European Association of Lawyers represented our Association as a speaker during the 46th European Presidents’ Conference. AEA-EAL Past Presidents Monique Stengel and Konrad Meingast also participated this event.

The convention is the oldest and the biggest summit of the highest representatives of European lawyers. Also, many organizations from the outside of our continent are represented each year in Vienna. During their stay in the capital city of Austria, the participants are hosted by the Federal Chancellor, the Federal Minister of Justice and the Mayor of the City of Vienna. The fact that more than 200 top lawyers are present each year, serves as a proof for the importance the Presidents’ Conference. This meeting is a forum not only for exchanging opinions and views, but also for filling information deficits, debating different viewpoints and developing strategies as well as for informal talks. It is also a tradition that bars, law societies and international organizations of lawyers submits each year reports on their activities and international domestic developments that occurred within the passing year.

Traditional venue of the European Presidents’ Conference – Palais Ferstel

This year the topic was “Self-regulation or heteronomy – lawyers’ independence in danger?”. Maria Slazak was one of four speakers who delivered presentations and was speaking, among others, about international guarantees for Lawyers’ independence and self-government with conclusion that proposed European Convention on a Profession of a Lawyer is more than needed due to the fact that existing legal instruments have non-binding character (resolutions, declarations or recommendations) and the Convention will include an enforcement mechanism also for these Member States, where independence and/ or self-regulation is problematic or threatened. She also underlined that it is crucial for every lawyer to take into account mission of the profession towards citizens and society and not profits only. The presentation was welcomed with great interest from the participants (see below letter from President of the Austrian Bar).

Maria Slazak speaking during the conference

During meetings in Vienna AEA-EAL President met with representatives of several Bars, international organizations of lawyers and institutions, including  Christiane Wendehorst, President of the European Law Institute (ELI).

From the left: AEA-EAL President Maria Slazak and Prof. Christiane Wendehorst, ELI President

She met also with the delegation of Serbian Bar Association, with President and Vice-President of the International Organization of Young Lawyers (AJIA) and with the President of the Kazakhstan Bar Association, with whom a preparation of the common conference in Almaty (June 15-16) was discussed.

Also a meeting of AEA-EAL President and AEA-EAL Past Presidents took place, during which important issues for the Association were discussed.

from the left: AEA-EAL President Maria Ślązak, Past President Konrad Meingast and immediate Past President Monique Stengel

Vienna events was closed by a traditional Ball of Lawyers in the Halls of Hofburg Castle. This Ball closes carnival season in the Austrian capital.

January 31

UNESCO: Holocaust Remembrance and Education: our shared responsibility.

Since 2002, 27th January has been instituted in Europe the international Day of commemoration in Memory of the victims of the holocaust and prevention of crimes against Humanity. In France, this day is dedicated to the memory of all genocides and to the prevention of crimes against humanity.

If this date has been chosen in memory to the date of liberation of the cam in Auschwitz-Brikenau, it has become a date of commemoration but also a day of prevention, specially for young generations to prevent such new crimes.

On January 25, 2018 Monique Stengel, Past President of the AEA-EAL participated in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, organized by UNESCO under the main title: Holocaust Remembrance and Education: our shared responsibility.

WIth this occasion Mr Robert Badinter, lawyer and professor of law, published an important article in the UNESCO Courier – “Anti-Semitism: Learning the lessons of history”.
Our present international actuality shows that, unfortunately, the lessons of the History don’t avoid similar violent acts and violation of human rights, also against lawyers as we could see a few days ago, on 24. January, during the Day of Lawyers in danger.

It is our duty as citizen and our role as lawyer to be watchful and to act to report and act against all sorts of violation against human rights and humanity.

Depuis 2002, le 27 janvier a été instituée en Europe journée de mémoire de l’Holocauste et de prévention des crimes contre l’humanité.
En France, cette journée est intitulée journée de la mémoire des génocides et de la prévention des crimes contre l’humanité.

En effet, si cette date a été choisie comme étant celle de la libération du camp d’Auschwitz-Birkenau, c’est devenue la journée consacrée au souvenir mais aussi à la prévention et, notamment, à l’éducation des jeunes pour prévenir la survenance de tels crimes.

Ainsi, j’ai pu assister le 25 janvier dernier à Paris, au siège de l’UNESCO, à la journée internationale organisée sous le titre “Mémoire et enseignement de l’Holocauste: notre responsabilité partagée”.
Comme le souligne Robert Badinter, Avocat et professeur de droit, dans le “Courrier de l’Unesco” à cette occasion, “l’histoire nous invite à la vigilance”.

Notre actualité internationale montre que, malheureusement, les leçons de l’Histoire n’empêche pas la survenance d’actes de violence et atteintes contre les droits de l’Homme, y compris contre les avocats comme nous avons dû le constater le 24 janvier dernier, à l’occasion de la journée de l’avocat en danger.

Il est de notre devoir de citoyen et notre rôle d’Avocat d’être vigilants et d’agir pour signaler et lutter contre toutes ces atteintes aux droits de l’homme et à l’humanité.

January 28

Study visit in Strasbourg for human rights lawyers

On January 23 – 24, 2018 AEA-EAL President Maria Slazak, in her capacity of past President of Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), participated as a speaker and chair of the panel in the study visit, organized by Council of Europe for a delegation of alumni of the “International Law in Advocacy” to the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. The aim of the event was to discuss the role of human rights lawyers, supporting the idea of adoption the proposed European Convention on the Profession of a Lawyer. Maria made an introductory remarks and chaired the session on the role of professional bodies in protection for human rights defenders in the light of new risks and problems in countries of Eastern Partnership. Other sessions moderated by judges of the European Court of Human Rights and experts represented civil society were related to the scope of who is a “lawyer” from perspective of NGOs lawyers (in house and/or independent lawyers) – including disbarred lawyers, the range of protection of professional privilege with a special emphasis on lex specialis guaranties and duties of lawyers, including those related to effective exercise of rights of individual petition via legal representation as well as information on the European enforcement mechanisms for monitoring and protection of lawyers’ rights. Maria was also invited to conclude the conference.

The study visit was organized for a group of lawyers from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine by Council of Europe in cooperation with Human Rights House Foundation and CCBE.

On January 24, 2018 Maria participated also in a seminar organized by CCBE at the headquarters of the Council of Europe under the title “Threatened lawyers: The end of the rule of law in Europe?” / the aim of the seminar was to present arguments on the need for development and adoption of a European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer/ and in the Parliamentary Assembly where the positive decision to start drafting of the Convention was passed with big majority of votes.

December 15

50th Congress of the Federation of the European Bars

On November 9 – 11, 2017 the 50th Congress of the Federation of the European Bars on “The role of lawyers in protecting the planet” took place. On this occasion President Maria Ślązak sent a letter to the FBE thanking for the invitation for this event and underlying significance of the problem of protecting the Earth by all, also by lawyers. AEA-EAL immediate past President Monique Stengel participated this conference. Please find below her information about the event.

Monique Stengel as immediate past President representing the AEA-EAL participated to the 25th Anniversary of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe- European Federation of Bars which took place in London under the dynamic and engaged organization of the President, Mrs. Prof. Sara Chandler. As it was the 25th Anniversary of FBE-EFB, different international and European Lawyers associations were represented. As for the CCBE, UIA and IBA, it has been for the AEA-EAL a pleasure and great honour to open this congress by congratulating FBE-EFB for this important occasion. For this meeting, the FBE choosed as topic for this Congress the topic .. “Lawyers and climate changes”. If some may have thought wrongly that it is a very specific topic, the quality and engagement of all speakers from different European States showed that it is a crucial topic for the future and survival of our world and, yes, Lawyers may be active in very different ways . It was again a nice opportunity to meet colleagues, representatives of Bars from different European countries to exchange ideas ans discuss possible common actions of our profession in Europe but also outside Europe, specially for the protection of Human Rights and Liberty. Once again, the AEA-EAL was very happy to participate to a meeting of the FBA-EFB as we all share the same enthusiasm for Europe and the place of the Lawyers in Europe!

December 15

155 Anniversary of Kraków Bar Association

The AEA-EAL took a patronage over the celebrations of the 155 anniversary of the Krakow Bar Association. On this occasion, a seminar “Can Lawyer Still Preserve Secrets?” was organized in Krakow on October 6, 2017. Monique Stengel, past President of the AEA-EAL made a presentation about rules on obligation to preserve secrets in France. Please find below an information prepared by Monique.

In October, Monique Stengel as immediate past President representing the AEA-EAL participated to the 155th Anniversary of the Cracow Bar Association: it was a great honor and pleasure as the Cracow Bar asked for the patronage of the AEA-EAL together with the FBE-EFB and UIA: it was a real “Birthday Party” with a lot of European Colleagues! There was a very interesting Conference about the topic “Access to information…” with speakers from Poland and different European countries: a very actual and important topic for all lawyers. I was asked as past-president to participate to the panel and present the situation in France.We had exchange of professional experience in this area concerning the human rights of the defence! Beside the scientific part, the Cracow Bar Association offered us a wonderful Gala Dinner in the fascinating Aviation Museum with gastronomie and music! Last but not least, a moving holy mass took place on Saturday with all Lawyers in robe before an impressive official Ceremony took place where the Cracow Bar Association as its older and younger members were honoured.This Ceremony as the celebration finished with an impressive concert on orgel! Once again, the Board of the AEA-EAL thanks the Cracow Bar Association and Mr Pawel Gieras, Dean of the bar Association, for its invitation and congratulates for the perfect and generous organization and congratulates for this impressive anniversary!