On 13 September 2018, Andriy Vyshnevsky, CEO of the NGO “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” analyzed new draft Law of Ukraine No. 9055 “On the Bar and Legal Profession” and identified four key benefits for society as follows.
- The role of the Bar as a social institution in the justice system is growing:
- The role of the Bar is to promote the practical implementation of the rule-of-law principle and ensure the right of everyone to professional legal assistance.
- With this in mind, the principle of lawfulness is withdrawn from the principles of the Bar, which correspond to the updated principles of legal proceedings in the new procedural codes.
- The new principles of the Bar introduce:
- integrity and professional dignity
- loyalty to the client’s interests
- respect for the court and rules of justice
- responsibility of a lawyer to promote the implementation of independent and impartial justice in accordance with the rule-of-law principle
- Preconditions for improved quality of legal assistance are established:
- Observance of the proper standards of quality of legal assistance have become one of the new principles of the Bar.
- The qualification requirements for applicants of lawyer status are raised – the obligation to work as a legal clerk or assistant to a judge or prosecutor is introduced to acquire the right to be admitted to the Bar.
- New duties of a lawyer to use professional rights in good faith and to have a workplace are introduced.
- The term for the renewal of lawyer status for persons deprived of lawyer status have increased from two to three years.
- The independence of the lawyer is growing:
- Conflict of interests between the different clients of one lawyer is regulated.
- A restriction is established for the combination of a lawyer’s work and an employment agreement (contract).
- A lawyer shall not be disciplined for expressing his or her own opinion on or position in the case, or for disagreeing with a court’s ruling, decision or position of a body or officer of the Bar, any public authority or local government, or for criticizing that decision or position, based on his or her own assessment of the relevant circumstances.
- The lawyer’s responsibility is growing:
- New professional responsibilities of a lawyer are introduced:
- to refrain from any actions that compromise a client or his or her interests; avoid conflicts of interest
- to store and protect information constituting lawyer secrets
- The list of grounds for termination of the right to practice law is expanding, in particular, in the case of:
- the exercise of representation or other actions on behalf of another person without authority or in violation of the powers of authority, except actions taken to protect the interests of the client that caused no harm, and actions subsequently approved by a person on behalf of or in whose interests they were committed
- informing the lawyer of knowingly false information about the extent of his or her authority, including failing to record information regarding any limitation of his or her powers
- The requirements for the form and content of a disciplinary complaint, the grounds for submitting the complaint without consideration and returning to the complainant are determined.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program, the Ukrainian Bar Association, the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers, the Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project, the Canadian Bureau for International Education, or the Government of Canada and the Law Enforcement Section of the United States Embassy in Ukraine.
“Tomorrow’s Lawyer” is a powerful network of lawyers uniting opinion leaders in the legal profession, who provide legal assistance in accordance with the highest ethical standards, act as agents of change in society and leaders in the professional community.
The Program was developed during 2016-2017 with the support of The Quality and Accessible Legal Aid Project with an expert contribution from the Canadian Bar Association. In 2018, the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program is being implemented by the Ukrainian Bar Association and the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers, with the support of the United States Embassy and The Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project funded by the Government of Canada and implemented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).