Mykola Stetsenko, Viktoriia Krasnova and Olga Vorozhbyt are talking about the UBA's today and plans

The Ukrainian Bar Association celebrates 21 years since its foundation. On this occasion, Yurydychna Gazeta asked the UBA team representatives about the current life of the Association, how its cooperation with international legal organizations is developing, how its voice against the ongoing war sounds, what the UBA's plans for 2024 are, etc.

Mykola Stetsenko, President of the Ukrainian Bar Association, Viktoriia Krasnova, Executive Director of the UBA, and Olga Vorozhbyt, Head of the Ethics Commission of the Association, answered journalists' questions. Below are some of their theses.

Mykola Stetsenko: Our primary focus remains on working with three circles of stakeholders, as we say now. Thus, we are strengthening the work in committees and sections, auditing their work to provide better quality for our members.

Apart from that, we continue our work for the legal community as a whole, in particular, we are actively working in the Ethics Commission, and in the near future we will launch a campaign to promote the Code of Ethics for Legal Business.

Finally, we are working with international donors and partner organizations of lawyers such as the IBA on issues of holding Russia accountable for its crimes in Ukraine, protecting human rights in Ukraine, identifying discrimination, etc. These are the projects launched by the previous UBA President, Anna Ogrenchuk, and they have brought the Association to a new level of relations with international partners and donors.

We are also involved as an Association in various reforms in Ukraine. Our position is actively voiced on a number of draft laws — from educational reform to law enforcement, justice, etc. We are working to make the UBA's voice louder in all the reforms being implemented in Ukraine, because no reform will take place without the expert participation of lawyers.

Viktoriia Krasnova: The UBA implements a number of initiatives and projects aimed at supporting those who need help the most in this difficult time.

On the second day of the full-scale invasion, February 25 last year, we launched the Hotline for free legal assistance to citizens and businesses on issues related to military aggression and its consequences. To date, we have provided more than 6,000 consultations, including help on issues related to martial law, border crossing, loss of property, and other issues arising from the full-scale invasion. The project is currently operating with the support of the IBA.

Another area is to help lawyers and their families who have found themselves in difficult circumstances due to the war — lost their homes, the family breadwinner, etc. — or in other circumstances that require support. The UBA is implementing this project in cooperation with the Kind Hearts for Ukraine Charitable Foundation. We seek funds abroad, involving foreign institutional partners, law firms, and private philanthropists in the project.

We are trying to expand opportunities for the development and realization of lawyers. Two additional sections have been added to our website: the Educational Platform, where you can now view seminars and courses, and Career, a job search service.

Olga Vorozhbyt: We are currently working on simplifying the procedure for filing complaints with the Ethics Commission regarding violations of the [Ethics] Code. Until the innovations come into effect, the Commission will consider appeals under the existing procedure. We pay special attention to raising awareness of the Code among our clients. In particular, we familiarize them with the level of lawyers' behavioral standards they can expect. In other words, we work with both sides of the lawyer-client relationship.

Read the full version of the interview by the link

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