UBA Statement on the Bar Reform


On November 9, 2017 the Ukrainian Bar Association released an open statement urging the Judicial Reform Council to finalize the draft new edition of the Law "On the Bar and Advocacy" as soon as possible, to hold a wide-range professional discussion and to propose to the President of Ukraine to submit it to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as urgent.

The Ukrainian Bar Association is a leading legal community aimed at improving the rule of law in Ukraine and raise the level of legal awareness in society.

On May 20, 2015, the President of Ukraine approved the Strategy for the reform of the judiciary, justice and related legal institutes for 2015-2020. The Bar reform was declared one of the priorities thereof.

The Association emphasizes the importance of the five main priorities of the Bar reform: first, strengthening the professional rights of lawyers and advocacy guarantees; secondly, improvement of the criteria and procedure for access to the legal profession; third, the improvement of the institute of disciplinary liability of a lawyer; fourthly, improvement of the advocate's self-government, fifth, provision of transparent budgetary and financial procedures in the organs of the advocate's self-government.

In our opinion, delaying the timing of these issues makes it impossible to fulfill the objectives of judicial reform in general, and also creates barriers to free access to justice and the realization of everyone's right to a fair trial.

During the 5 years of the Law of Ukraine "On the Bar and Advocacy", its systemic deficiencies that led to the weakening of the independence of lawyers, the reduction of the ethical standards of the legal profession, and the excessive centralization of self-governing functions became apparent. Such conditions demand the prompt adoption of the new edition of the Law of Ukraine "On the Bar and Advocacy" and amendments to other legislative acts.

With the joint efforts of several professional associations of lawyers and legal communities from all regions of Ukraine, with the participation of many members of the bodies of the Bar self-government under the auspices of the Judicial Reform Council, a relevant bill was developed and its nation-wide public discussion was held.

In this regard, the Association calls on the Judicial Reform Council to finalize this draft as soon as possible and hold a broad professional discussion. Thereafter we expect the draft to be approved and forwarded to the President of Ukraine as urgent.