We remind you that at the end of November 2021, extremely odious amendments to the legislation on the bar came into force, further increasing its dependence and controllability by state bodies (for more information, see the materials “Access to the Profession: Commentary on Changes to the Legislation on the Bar”, “Certification and Recertification of Lawyers: New (or Old) Features in the Legislation on Advocacy
”, “Expansion of the Powers of the Ministry of Justice: Changes in the Legislation on the Bar”, “Appointment of Self-governing Professional Associations by the Ministry of Justice: Commentary on Changes of the Legislation on the Bar”). The key legislative amendments can be boiled down to the following:
- One can become an attorney only upon the consent of the Ministry of Justice, issued according to a non-transparent and arbitrary procedure;
- Extremely broad powers of the Ministry of Justice to interfere in the activities of the bar;
- the Ministry of Justice appoints absolutely all heads and members of professional associations;
- Elimination of such forms of activities for attorneys as working within a law firm, as well as individual practice;
- Expansion of mechanisms for regular and extraordinary recertification of attorneys, which is used as a mechanism for reprisals against unwanted professionals;
- The mandate of subjecting attorneys to disciplinary responsibility is practically concentrated solely in the hands of professional bodies, whose members are appointed by the Ministry of Justice;
- Elimination of key powers of the bodies of attorneys’ representation (conference or lawyers’ congress) in favor of professional bodies appointed by the Ministry of Justice;
- Approval of the Rules of Professional Ethics for Attorneys by the Ministry of Justice alone.
These changes were received extremely negatively by the legal community, many were going to leave the profession, since not everyone was ready to carry out professional activities within the legal advise offices, and not everyone was ready for such restrictions of the profession; it was difficult to see the possibility of providing high-quality legal assistance in a situation of dependence and state control.