THE ADVOCATE OFFICE PROPOSES TO INTRODUCE CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF A LAWYER WITH A CLIENT

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NAAU held a round table on the topic “Breach of professional guarantees of a lawyer in terms of identification with a client.” The initiative belongs to three NAAU committees: the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Advocacy, the Committee for Information Policy and Information Security, and the Committee for Free Legal Aid.

About this informs National Association of Lawyers of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Klochkov, the chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Lawyers’ Activity, made a welcome speech. The lawyer drew attention to the fact that currently more and more lawyers suffer from identification with their clients, which, in turn, affects their business reputation, creates a threat to property, life and health. Most of the registered criminal offenses under Art. 397-400 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine are closed during the pre-trial investigation for lack of evidence. In confirmation of this fact, the Chairman of the Committee presented for perusal statisticspreviously provided by the Office of the Prosecutor General.

The head of the Committee on Information Policy and Information Security Andriy Tsygankov spoke about the composition and grounds of such negative facts as the identification of a lawyer with a client in view of the specific tasks of the legal profession in society. The lawyer noted that counteraction is possible only by introducing a proper system of protection of lawyers’ rights in this direction.

Secretary of the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Lawyers’ Activities of NAAU, Nonna Nadich, spoke about the reasons for identifying a lawyer with a client and the consequences of such identification. Among the main conditions and reasons, the speaker singled out: low level of legal awareness of citizens in society, perception of distorted information and purposeful pressure on the lawyer. Such a violation of the guarantees of advocacy entails negative consequences, which lead to a violation of the right to protect clients and a violation of the principles of a fair trial.

During his speech, Yevhen Solodko, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Advocacy of the NAAU, noted that: “guarantees without responsibility are nonsense. In practice, guarantees of advocacy are not provided with any liability. In any publication by lawyers regarding a high-profile case, as a rule, various “experts” blame the defense attorneys. The question is, what about guarantees?”.

The head of the Committee on free legal aid, a member of the Bar Council of Ukraine, Oksana Kadenko, reminded that the BPD system is a mechanism for implementing state guarantees of the constitutional right to legal aid for those who, for certain reasons, cannot provide it themselves. If we talk about criminal proceedings, then the most difficult, most unacceptable and acute cases for society go through the BPD system. Lawyers who are required to provide free secondary legal aid to suspects and accused persons by appointment are subjected to total condemnation, criticism and even outright hatred and harassment from those who do not know or do not understand the prohibition on identifying the lawyer with the client.

Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Information Policy and Information Security Volodymyr Yemelyanov revealed the concept of “identification of a lawyer” and analyzed historical cases of identification of a lawyer with a client using the example of the Nuremberg Trials. Thus, the lawyer noted that the violation of professional guarantees in this part becomes commonplace for every defense attorney.

Oleksandr Chernykh, a member of the Council of the Committee on Information Policy and Information Security, emphasized the inadmissibility of identifying a lawyer with a client through the prism of the rules of lawyer ethics and international experience.

“The times when the king had all the power, and only he decided who had the right to live or die, are long gone. However, our society continues those narratives that everyone who opposes the position of the government (the king) immediately becomes an accomplice of the accused. Such things should be a thing of the past. A lawyer defends a person in a case. He does not share the client’s political, religious, moral and other positions. The lawyer only carries out the procedure of supervision of compliance with the procedural law by the state. This is the main task of a lawyer,” said Vitaliy Naum, a member of the Council of the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Lawyers’ Activities of NAAU.

The participants came to a conclusion regarding the need to introduce a special rule in the Criminal Code of Ukraine regarding liability for precisely such a violation of the rights of lawyers as identification of a lawyer with a client.

According to the results of the meeting, the representatives of the Committee for the Protection of Lawyers’ Rights and Guarantees of Lawyers’ Activities of the NAAU prepared a conclusion on the prohibition of identification of a lawyer with a client, which can be viewed at link.

The broadcast of the round table is available for viewing at link.

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