UBA Open Appeal to Securing Attorney-Client Privilege

2018-10-30

KYIV - October 30, 2018. The Ukrainian Bar Association, as a leading legal community, whose goal is to implement the rule of law in all spheres of state and social affairs, repeatedly emphasizes the inadmissibility of violations by law enforcement agencies of attorney-client privilege and guarantees of the legal profession.

It was reported, that on October 18, 2018, investigators of the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine together with DFS employees searched the Law Office of ASSYRIA (Dnipro).

In our opinion, the sanction of the search and its conduct were conducted with direct violations of the requirements of Article 22, paragraph 4, part 1, Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Bar and Practice of Law" and Article 161 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine. According to these rules covering the confidentiality of the attorney's relationship with the client, the access to and review of documents related to the professional activities of lawyers, correspondence and other forms of information exchange between them is prohibited.

However, law enforcers ignored the specified provisions and during the 10 hours of the search they illegally conducted a review of computers, lawyers' files, documents related to the professional activity of lawyers and constitute a lawyer's secret.

In addition, the investigating judge failed to perform the key function, namely control over the observance of the rights and interests of citizens. In our opinion, the ruling does not contain any substantiation of the necessity of conducting a search in the law office, the link between the criminal offense and lawyers, the inability to obtain documents in another way without a search of the entire firm and access to lawyers' files. It should be noted that the investigating judge also failed to indicate the names of lawyers subject to the investigation.

In order to prevent these violations, the Ukrainian Bar Association emphasizes the need for more thorough evaluation by prosecutors, including the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, as well as investigating judges, for the conduct of searches for lawyers and the observance of the guarantees of the legal profession.

The Ukrainian Bar Association calls upon the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to assess the lawfulness of the actions of law enforcement officers during the search, and to bring to justice those who have violated the guarantees of legal profession and attorney-client privilege.

We call on the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, other law enforcement agencies and investigating judges to ensure the strict observance of the guarantees of the legal profession.

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