On August 29, 2023 virtual meeting/webinar was organized by the Law Society of Hong Kong. The meeting was dedicated to an important issue “Women in Leadership”.
Our president, Maria Ślązak was invited as the speaker, among others who were:
Speakers of the meeting focused on sharing insights and experience of their jurisdictions in promoting women in leadership within the legal industry. During the webinar discussion focused on the following:
In her speech President Ślązak highlighted the importance of cooperation between European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) and the Law Society of Hong-Kong. She mentioned that “If we women – leaders from various countries and even continents, will cooperate regularly, we have a chance to facilitate carriers of some young, ambitious ladies. In consequence, the percentage of women in the leaders’ position will increase, and this is what we are looking for”. European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) will also consider to organize information sharing event regarding up mentioned significant topic.
On the 20th of June took place the seminar 'Preparing lawyers to conduct war crime cases in Ukraine before courts and tribunals. Participants from many countries had a chance to watch 5 brilliant presentations of experts, translated to 4 languages: English, Polish, Ukrainian, and German.
1. Admissibility of evidence collected during the armed conflict in Ukraine from the perspective of international criminal law
Prof. Dr hab. Paweł Wiliński, academic scientist of the Faculty of Law and Administration, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, judge of the Supreme Court
2. Rights of the victim in criminal proceedings
Manon Heindorf, Rechtsanwaltin Kanzlei Heindorf
3. Hearing the accused of war crimes in court proceedings – procedural methodology
Prof. dr hab. Piotr Kardas, academic scientist, Jagiellonian University in Cracow, attorney at law
4. The victim as an auxiliary prosecutor in cases of war crimes – procedural rights and how to use them
Dr Piotr Chrzczonowicz. academic scientist of the Faculty of Law and Administration, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, attorney at law
5. Preparation for interviewing a victim of war sex crimes
Dr Wiola Rebecka-Davie, a psychotherapist specializing in therapy of victims of war-related sex crimes, WTCI New York
After the seminar, the very much touching documentary „Limbo” directed by Marina Nikitina and Vincent Lefebvre has been screened, with opening remarks from Ukrainian artist Julia Oginska and director Marina Nikitina herself.
Organizers: Regional Bar Association of Attorneys at Law in Opole, Rechtsanwaltskammer Sachsen, European Association of Lawyers AEA-EAL and
Partners: Fundacja Współpracy Polsko-Niemieckiej, Okręgowa Rada Adwokacka w Częstochowie, Координаційний центр з надання правової допомоги
Agenda of the meeting: https://aea-eal.eu/2023/06/12/preparing-lawyers-to-conduct-war-crime-cases-in-ukraine-before-courts-and-tribunals-on-line-seminar-for-lawyers-from-ukraine-poland-germany-and-around-the-world/
On June 2nd International Conference: Gender Equality as Part of the International Human Rights Law took place in Azerbaijan – Baku.
The event was organized by the Azerbaijan Bar Association, Сhаmbеr of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – Project Со-оrdinаtоr in the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Conference was dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the first female lawyer of the Turkic countries, Mrs. Sureyya Aghaoghlu. Süreyya Ağaoğlu was the first female lаwуеr in Тurkey (worked as a lawyer from 1927 till 1989) and Аzеrbаijаn as well as the second president of the International Confederation of Woman Lawyers.
The conference was attended by the Chairpersons of the Bar Associations and its representatives from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Turkiye, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ireland, and India.
During the meeting following Topics were discussed.
At the end of the conference, a joint statement (declaration) was signed regarding gender equality, which will support the improvement of the gender policy in the participating countries, strengthen the protection of women’s rights, elaborate on the appropriate mechanisms for women’s rights protection and ensuring access to effective protection in practice
The European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) was represented by its Vice President – David Asatiani. In his opening remarks, it was highlighted that the cooperation, as well as systemic collaboration of the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) with the Azerbaijani Bar Association and Azerbaijani lawyers, is particularly rather significant for our legal professionals, both within the gender equality context, as well as in the wider legal framework. This allows us to address the challenges together and share the best international practices.
David Asatiani underlined that “Gender equality and women’s rights must be at the heart of a renewed social contract that is fit for today’s societies and economies. This is a vitally important topic when it comes to defending human rights, promoting the rule of law, and supporting democratic reforms. Bar associations and law societies can play a fundamental role in promoting gender equality, among others, by encouraging their members to adopt and implement policies that tackle gender inequality and improve work-life balance that benefits all. With the increasing challenges to women’s rights across the globe, the position of women in law is as important as ever. The road to achieving gender equality is long and challenging, that requires a comprehensive approach, responsibility, and joint action by all: institutions and individuals. Not only the absence of a discriminatory legal framework is vital for achieving gender equality, but relevant legislation or policies should not be discriminatory in their impact and consequences. In addition, more emphasis should be placed on the culture change. Culture provides a unique space where gender roles and social norms are constantly questioned and reimagined, thus challenging stereotypes that present barriers to gender equality”.
By the end of the conference, it was once more underlined that the representative of the legal profession should stress that legal professions have the authority and resources to support women by advocating for gender equality, providing equal access to the profession, and opportunities to progress in their careers without fear of stigma or exclusion
On June 19, 2023, the Annual General Assembly (GA) of the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) took place in hybrid form.
The official opening as well as the moderation of the General Assembly meeting was made by the Vice-President of the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) Dr. Christoph von Wilcken.
The Agenda of the General Assembly was presented and included the following matters.
– Approval of the minutes of the Annual Ordinary General Assembly of the Association held in Brussels (hybrid form) on May 16, 2022.
– President’s Report.
– Treasurer’s report on the financial year ended 31.12.2022.
– Approval of the annual accounts as of 31.12.2022.
– Discharge to the directors for the exercise of their mandate in 2022.
– Approval of the 2023 budget.
– Membership fees.
– Resignation/nomination/renewal of board members.
Maria Ślązak, President of the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL), welcomed the participants of the General Assembly. Before the presentation of the report on the activities of the Association in 2022 was presented President Maria Ślązak expressed her deepest thanks to all members and friends for their dedication and hard work for the further and systematic development of the organization.
Maria Ślązak covered all activities and engagement of the Association in 2022. Such as: Engagement towards Ukraine and Ukrainian Lawyers, AEA-EAL 35th Anniversary, Cooperation with the Council of Europe, and Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals – HELP Course. Overview of events: Opening of the Legal Year in Hong Kong, Conference for Women on Women, Third mediation webinar – Practical Role and best practices of using online dispute resolution, Business. Algorithm. Law Conference, Market Access Seminar, Women in Times of War: The Role of Women Lawyers.
One of the important issues raised in the General Assembly was the renewal of the position of the treasurer. It was highlighted that for many years treasurer of the Association Sabine Perquy has worked effectively for the needs of the Association and her efforts are highly appreciated. She stays on the board of Directors as a member and the functions of the treasurer will be taken over and continued by Olivier d’Ursel (BoD member of the Association).
By the end of the meeting attendees of the General Assembly by anonymous polling approved new board members – Iain G Mitchell KQ and Irakli Kandashvili.
In the closing remarks future activities of the Association were shared among attendees, such as Vice President of the Association – David Asatiani talked regarding the upcoming Twinning Program that will take place in Fall 2023 in Georgia with the partnership of the Georgian Bar Association. Secretary-General as well as the Board Member – Aleksandra Siewicka Marszalek disseminated information regarding upcoming events such as the 2023 Market Access Conference – (Open) Strategic Autonomy – Foundations and Tools, 7 -8 September 2023, Second edition of the “Business. Algorithm and Law,” International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, 16-17.11.2023, Gdańsk.
On April 4-5, 2023 International Scientific and Practical Conference “Lawyers for the Rule of Law. Strengthening the Impact of Education on Justice. Restoring the right to defense in new realities, and the human rights lawyers’ right to Association” took place in Vilnius.Organizers and Partners were the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, European Humanities University; International Law in Advocacy – ILIA; University without Borders; Belarusian Human Rights House. Our Association was represented by its President Maria Ślązak, who addressed the audience in the first panel “European instrument on the protection of lawyers and lawyers’ associations: status and a search for answers to the main questions”. The considerations of organizers concentrated on the necessity of creating safe conditions of work for human rights lawyers, especially in countries where bars are not independent. Human rights defenders hope very much that they will also be included in the future Convention on Protection of Lawyers. The second panel of the Conference: “An Association of independent lawyers: the Voice of Belarusian Lawyers and a Search for normative instruments for the professional guarantees realization” was dedicated to the situation of Belarusian lawyers who suffer much harassment from their government. In consequence, many of them left the country to avoid arrests, imprisonment, or danger to their families. The group of Belarusian colleagues, who emigrated, established the independent association of lawyers. To express the support for the Belarusian lawyers three AEA-EAL’s Board Members were present at this panel: Monique Stengel from Paris, a member of AEA-EAL Human Rights Committee, Olivier d’Ursel from Brussels, who at the same time represented the Human Rights Institute of the Brussels French Speaking Bar and Nielson Sanchez Stewart, Spanish lawyer, who passed on behalf of Abogacia Espanola Consejo General words of condemnation for repressions towards Belarussian colleagues. The event in Vilnius continues the scientific and practical cooperation of civil society organizations, professional associations of lawyers, international organizations, and academic institutions focused on the implementation of the principle of the rule of law, and especially the protection of human rights. The project “Lawyers for the Rule of Law: Human Rights Training and Education”, continued for more than a decade, concentrates on the educational activities of experts and alumni of the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights which cooperates with the International Law in Advocacy (ILIA) and the University Without Borders.
On 13 October 2022 the European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL), together with the World Trade Institute (WTI), organized the annual Workshop on European and International Economic Law for the fifth time in Berne. The topic of this conference was the relationship between Switzerland (CH) and the European Union (EU), in particular the 50th anniversary of the Swiss-EU Free Trade Agreement, the European Economic Area and possible forms of a future relationship between CH and the EU.
Again this year the conference included high-level speakers like the new Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, the Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Secretary General of the Swiss cantons and eminent representatives of the EU and the Swiss economy.
The AEA-EAL is also looking forward to co-organising the market access conference next year.
Dean of the Gdańsk Bar of Attorneys-at-Law
European Association of Lawyers (AEA-EAL) congratulates AEA-EAL members who successfully completed the Council of Europe HELP course on Ethics for Lawyers, implemented in a joint initiative of the Council of Europe HELP Programme, the European Association of Lawyers and the European Young Bar Association. Participants received certificates issued by the Council of Europe confirming course completion.
During the implementation of the course, AEA-EAL Deontology Committee actively contributed by delivering presentations and sharing experiences with participants. The contribution was provided mainly by Nielson Sanchez Stewart, chair of the Committee, Advocate, Doctor Iuris, Counsellor of the Consejo General de la Abogacía Española and Professor of Ethics, Jedrez Klatka, member of AEA-EAL and Vladimir Palamarciuc, co-author of the HELP course on Ethics for Judges, Prosecutors and Lawyers and HELP certified tutor.
AEA-EAL highly appreciates cooperation with the Council of Europe HELP Programme and the European Young Bar Association during the implementation of the HELP course and expresses its readiness for further cooperation to improve training activities for legal professionals across Europe and better standards in the exercise of the profession of lawyer.
More information about this HELP course is available at the following link about the launching event: https://www.coe.int/en/web/help/-/the-council-of-europe-help-course-launched-jointly-with-european-association-of-lawyers-and-the-european-young-bar-association
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