This section lists the CCBE Observer member countries where the PECO committee has carried out its activities.
April 2011 – CCBE sends a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania regarding VAT
On 4 April 2011, the CCBE sent a letter to Mr. Sali Berisha, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, expressing its concerns about a proposal which foresees that legal services are subject to 20% VAT regardless of a lawyer’s turnover (for other professions and businesses the law provides for a certain threshold). The CCBE emphasised that this proposal is contrary to the existing standards and practices of other European countries.
February 2011 – CCBE sends a letter to the Prime Minister of the republic of Albania regarding fiscal cash registers and VAT
On 14 February 2011, the Albanian Chamber of Advocacy informed the CCBE that the Albanian Council of Ministers had decided not to exempt lawyers from the obligation to use fiscal cash registers. The Albanian Chamber of Advocacy also expressed its concerns on the Council of Ministers’ decision No.18 of 12 January 2011 which imposes 20% VAT to legal services regardless of lawyers’ annual turnover.
On 24 February 2011, the CCBE sent a letter to Mr. Berisha, the Prime Minister of Albania, emphasising once more its concerns about the introduction of fiscal cash registers for lawyers. The CCBE also indicated that it was looking into the VAT matter; the preliminary analysis showed that in none of those European countries which provide for a threshold the legislator made a difference between professional and other business services.
October 2010 – CCBE addresses its concerns to the Albanian authorities on the issue of fiscal cash registers for lawyers
The Albanian National Chamber of Advocacy brought to the CCBE’s attention developments related to the Albanian Law on Tax Procedures which obliges tax payers, including lawyers, to record their cash payments through fiscal devices. The technical implementation of the law began in June 2010.
On 28 October 2010, the CCBE sent a letter to Albanian authorities expressing its concern with reference to the potential risks which the application of the fiscal cash registers to lawyers presents in regard to access to justice, independence of the profession, professional secrecy/legal professional privilege.
September 2008 – CCBE sends a letter to the Albanian Bar regarding disciplinary proceedings and registration fees for newly admitted lawyers
In May 2008, the Albanian Bar Association approached the CCBE for assistance on two issues: disciplinary proceedings and registration fees for newly admitted lawyers. The chairmen of the CCBE PECO, Competition and Disciplinary Committees looked into the matters raised by the Albanian Bar and responded with letter of 24 September 2008.
Albanian National Bar Association
December 2010 – CCBE raises concerns about the Armenian draft law amending the law on cash registers
In November 2010, the Armenian Chamber of Advocates asked the CCBE for assistance in connection with proposed changes to the Law “On Usage of Cash Registers”. The amendments would introduce an obligation of entrepreneurs, including lawyers, to record their cash or card payments through cash registers; the new law would also establish sanctions for non-compliance with the duty to install and use cash registers, ranging from penalties to unlimited suspension of the entrepreneur’s activities.
On 13 December 2010, the CCBE sent a letter to Armenian authorities expressing its concern on the proposed amendments to the law. The CCBE commented on three particular issues which in its opinion would have serious implications for the administration of justice – firstly, the use of cash registers (emphasising that in none of the European countries cash registers existed for lawyers’ activities), secondly, the lawyers’ accounts and tax declarations (underlining that all lawyers have the duty to keep clients’ matters confidential, which is one of the core values of the profession) and, thirdly, the suspension of the exercise of the profession (drawing attention to the importance of guaranteeing effective access to justice and the fact that bars and law societies as independent bodies are in charge of regulating and administering the lawyers’ profession).
Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Armenia
July 2011 – CCBE sends a follow-up letter to the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding fiscal cash registers
Following a meeting between Mr. Nermin Nikšić, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Evangelos Tsouroulis, the Second Vice-President of the CCBE, and Ms. Amila Kunosić-Ferizović, the President of the Bar Association of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 25 July 2011, the CCBE sent letter to Mr. Nermin Nikšić taking the opportunity to reiterate its concerns about the introduction of fiscal cash registers for lawyers (previously expressed in the CCBE letter of 25 March 2011).
March 2011 – CCBE sends a letter to the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding the fiscal cash registers
On 25 March 2011, the CCBE sent a letter to Mr. Nermin Nikšić, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, reiterating its concerns about the introduction of fiscal cash registers for lawyers (see news of April 2010).
April 2010 – Joint CCBE-UIA position in favour of exempting the legal profession in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the obligation to record legal services by fiscal devices
In March 2010 the Bar of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) asked the secretariats of the CCBE and Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) to comment on the Law on Fiscal Systems, which had entered into force earlier that year. The law created an obligation for FBiH lawyers to record each service rendered via a fiscal device irrespective of the method of payment (non-fulfilment of this obligation leading to the imposition of fines and even the closing of a lawyer’s office). In a letter sent on 12 April 2010 to the Prime-Minister, Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance of the FBiH, the CCBE and the UIA stated that the law in question raised concerns regarding the independence of the legal profession, lawyers’ professional secrecy and the rights and interests of clients. It also recommended that lawyers be exempted from the obligation to use fiscal devices to record their services.
Bar Association of the Republic of Srpska (Advokatska Komora Republike Srpske)
Bar Association of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovin (Advokatska/Odvjetnička komora Federacije BiH)
February 2010 – CCBE sends its position to the FYROM authorities on the issue of fiscal cash registers for lawyers
On 8 February 2010, the CCBE sent its position on the application of the Law on registration of cash payments to lawyers to the FYROM authorities. The letter was sent in response to an earlier request for assistance sent by the FYROM Bar to the CCBE on 12 December 2009. The letter expresses concerns with reference to the potential risks which the application of the fiscal cash registers to lawyers presents for legal professional secrecy and access to justice.
August/September 2008 - CCBE comments on the law on advocacy
In a letter of 4 August 2008, the President of the Bar informed the CCBE about amendments to the law on advocacy which had been put forward to the Parliament and asked for an expertise from the CCBE on the following issues: Bar exam, employed lawyers, election of Bar bodies/President and registration fees. The PECO chairmen considered the matters and responded with the letter of 3 September 2008.
November 2011 – Georgian President grants a pardon to the Georgian lawyer Mariana Ivelashvili
The CCBE welcomed the decision of 23 November of the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, granting pardon to the young Georgian lawyer Mariana Ivelashvili. The CCBE urged Georgian authorities in December 2010 to release Ms Ivelashvili from prison (see news of December 2010). During their visit to Tbilisi in September 2011, CCBE representatives raised and discussed Ms Ivelashvili’s case not only with Georgian lawyers’ organisations and NGOs but also with public authorities. They also met with the mother of Mariana Ivelashvili. The lawyers’ organisations told the CCBE that the sentence of Mariana Ivelashvili was disproportionately severe; the accusations should not have led to criminal proceedings.
October 2011 – CCBE organises a seminar for Georgian lawyers in Tbilisi, Georgia
As a part of its commitment to promote the rule of law and support the law reform process in its member countries, and given the violation of lawyers’ rights which were brought to the CCBE's attention, the CCBE organised a seminar for Georgian lawyers in Tbilisi on 1 October 2011. During this seminar issues such as the role of a lawyer in society, core values of the lawyers’ profession and access to justice were discussed (see programme (EN, GE)).
A summary of the visit to Georgia is available here.
March 2011 – CCBE sends additional letters to Georgian authorities regarding the human rights violations
On 15 March 2011, the CCBE reiterated its concerns in a letter to Mr. Saakashvili urging the President to provide information on the situation of lawyers in Georgia (see news of December 2010).
December 2010 - CCBE sends a letter of concern about imprisoned lawyers to the President of Georgia
On 21 December 2010, the CCBE sent a letter to the President of Georgia expressing its concern regarding the high number of lawyers imprisoned in Georgia. The CCBE received reports about cases of lawyers being intimidated by state representatives; none of the cases resulted in criminal investigations or proceedings; barriers were created in order to prohibit lawyers from meeting with their clients in prisons; lawyers were not able to counsel their imprisoned clients in confidentiality.
The CCBE was also told that the Bar was not kept informed about the arrest of its member lawyers. The CCBE urged the Georgian authorities to take the necessary steps to investigate harassment of lawyers, bring those responsible to justice and release all illegally arrested lawyers. The CCBE also urged the authorities to ensure that all actions and threats against lawyers in the legitimate exercise of their professional duties are immediately and effectively stopped.
The CCBE also sent a letter on 23 December 2010 to the President of Georgia concerning Ms Mariana Ivelashvili, a young Georgian lawyer, urging him to consider her situation (suffering from a life-threatening illness)and to grant her clemency. (Mariana Ivelashvili was sentenced to imprisonment of 5 years and 9 months for fraud. She was said to have received money from clients without providing the agreed legal assistance.)
July 2009 - CCBE support for the Georgian Bar Association
On 15 July 2009, the CCBE sent a letter to the chair of the Georgian Parliament with regard to discussions on the Law on Advocates. In the letter, the CCBE expressed its support for changes to the Georgian Law on Advocates, fully compliant with EU and CCBE standards. The CCBE also renewed its support for a single and unified Bar which is necessary for the rule of law within a democratic society.
May 2009 – TAIEX seminar in Georgia
On 28-29 May 2009, CCBE experts - Iñigo Nagore (Spain), Roberto Sorcinelli (Italy) and Clare Titcomb (England and Wales) - participated in a seminar jointly organised by TAIEX of the European Commission and the Georgian Bar, in Sighnaghi, Georgia. The seminar’s aim was to discuss the latest amendments which were made to the Georgian Law on Advocates and changes to the Charter of the Georgian Bar.
April 2009 - CCBE letter to Georgian Parliament
On 17 April 2009, the CCBE sent a letter to the Georgian Parliament expressing its concern about discussions within the Georgian Parliament about establishing multiple Bar Associations. Such a move would lead to a split within the profession, with a patchwork of different sets of rules (ethical and disciplinary) being the consequence. Only a single, unified bar association, can contribute to the administration of justice.
Georgian Bar Association
May 2010 - Amendments to the Law on the Bar
On 28 May 2010 the Moldovan Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on the Bar. These amendments provide, inter alia, for the establishment of the position of Secretary General of the Moldovan Bar. The engagement of a Secretary General was one of the key CCBE recommendations of September 2008 aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Moldovan Bar.
2007 / 2008 – CCBE assists on the reform of the Bar secretariat
From December 2007 to December 2008, the CCBE provided assistance to the Moldovan Bar Association in its efforts to establish a well-functioning Bar secretariat via the so-called ‘Coordinator project’. A Moldovan lawyer was asked to analyse the existing structure of the Moldovan Bar and to make proposals on possible improvements. The project resulted in the adoption of CCBE experts’ recommendations to help the Moldovan Bar to improve its everyday functioning.
2006 - Twinning Programmes
In January 2006, the Moldovan Bar submitted a request to the CCBE for assistance on a number of issues, namely the Bar’s administrative structures, training, admission to the profession and discipline of the profession. A number of national Bars and Law Societies agreed to assist the Moldovan Bar via Twinning Programmes.
In October 2006, the Austrian Bar and the German Federal Bar successfully completed their project on “The structure of the Bar”. They provided a lawyer from Moldova with two weeks’ training on the organisation and functioning of the legal profession in Austria and in Germany.
In June 2007, the CCBE member Bars from Italy and Greece jointly organised a conference for Moldovan lawyers in Chisinau, Moldova. Click here for the programme of the conference.The Italian Bar Association dealt with “The free movement of lawyers between Italy and Moldova”, and the Greek Bar Association gave a presentation on “The rights of lawyers defending their clients according to the ECHR requirements”. Moldovan lawyers also participated as speakers in order to provide an insight into the legal profession in Moldova.
October 2005 – CCBE Seminar in Moldova
Following a fact finding mission to Moldova in October 2004, the CCBE, in co-operation with the Moldovan Bar, the German Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), the Soros Foundation Moldova and ABA CEELI, held a successful one-day seminar in Chisinau, Moldova on 21 October 2005.The seminar dealt with the issues of “Access to justice/legal aid” and “The lawyer and the State”. The programme and presentations of this seminar are available here.
Bar Association of the Republic of Moldova - Baroul Avocaţilor din Republica Moldova
February / March 2011 – CCBE PECO committee comments on the Serbian draft law "The Legal Profession Act"
On 3 February 2011, the CCBE secretariat received a request from the Bar Association of Serbia to provide expertise on whether the Serbian draft law ‘’The Legal Profession Act’’ was in line with European and international standards.
On 3 March 2011, the CCBE PECO committee sent its comments to the Bar Association of Serbia. The comments contain an analysis on the following issues: (1) independence and self-regulation; (2) confidentiality; (3) conflict of interest; loyalty to the client; fair treatment of clients in relation to fees; (4) dignity and honour of the legal profession; respect towards professional colleagues; respect for the rule of law and the fair administration of justice; (5) the lawyer’s professional competence – continuing training; (6) advertising and (7) foreign lawyers.
The PECO committee concluded that the draft law clearly aimed to ensure modern regulation of the legal profession; it also seemed to reach a good equilibrium between state rules and self-regulation. The committee underlined the importance of the draft law to guarantee the confidentiality of lawyers, one of the core values of the profession. Furthermore, it noted that Serbia would need to amend the law if and when joining the European Union in order to bring the provisions in line with the European Lawyers’ Directives.
2009 / 2010 - Serbian Law on fiscal cash registers
In June 2009 the CCBE received a request from the Serbian Bar for assistance in addressing the issue of the application of the Serbian legislation on fiscal cash registers to lawyers. This regulation aimed at imposing on lawyers the use of cash registers as used in other commercial activities.
In October 2009 the CCBE addressed a letter to the Serbian authorities expressing concerns on the law on fiscal cash registers. The CCBE pointed out that such cash registers did not exist anywhere in Europe for lawyers’ activities. The letter also expressed concerns with regard to the proposed suspension of lawyers’ activities in case of non-use of the cash register. These proposals would have serious consequences for the administration of justice. The independence of the Bar and the lawyer’s duty to confidentiality were at stake.
On 1 February 2010, the CCBE and UIA Presidents and representatives of the Serbian Bar met with Serbian government and Parliament representatives in order to discuss the proposed introduction of fiscal cash registers. A consensus was reached to postpone the application of the fiscal cash registers system to lawyers in order to explore the possible solutions to the problems concerning the independence of the Bar and access to justice.
On 21 July 2010, the CCBE prepared a further expert opinion which was addressed to the Ministry of Justice. The CCBE restated its concerns of October 2009 regarding specific risks that the law presented to the independence of the legal profession. A comparative survey of CCBE member states’ national regulations on the topic was also provided with the CCBE’s opinion.
In August 2010, the Government of Serbia adopted a new Regulation according to which lawyers are exempted from the obligation to record their income through fiscal cash registers. Serbian classification of economic activities was harmonised with the statistical classification of economic activities in the EU reclassifying attorneys’ activities from “attorneys at law services” to “scientific and professional activities”.
Advokatska komora Srbije / Bar Association of Serbija
January 2011 – CCBE sends additional letters to the Ukrainian authorities regarding the human rights violations
On 10 December 2009, the CCBE sent a letter to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine regarding the violations of human rights of three Ukrainian advocates. Despite many inquiries of the CCBE, no reply regarding the outcome of investigations was received. Therefore on 26 January 2011 the CCBE sent an additional letter to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine urging to provide information in this matter.
March/April 2010 – CCBE PECO Committee Comments on the Ukrainian Draft Law on the Bar
On 8 April 2010 the CCBE PECO Committee sent its Comments on the Ukrainian Draft Law on the Bar to the Ukrainian Parliament. The comments contain a comparative analysis of selected issues which were addressed by the drafts of MP Miroshnichenko and MP Portnov. This analysis was prepared in response to requests by the Ukrainian Parliament (MP Mishchenko, in his capacity as Head of the Committee on Legal Policy, and MP Portnov) addressed to the CCBE.
September / October 2008 - CCBE Roundtable on the draft law on the Bar and experts' recommendations
On 26 September 2008, the CCBE, as part of its assistance to the Ukrainian legal profession to create a unified professional Bar, in compliance with the commitment made when Ukraine joined the Council of Europe in 1996, organised a roundtable on the law on the Bar in Ukraine. The roundtable was organised in partnership with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy, and with the sponsorship of the Erste Bank. The event brought together the various stakeholders involved in the discussions on the law on the Bar. The Minister Justice, Mykola V. Onischuk, and MP Yuriy Miroshnichenko, Deputy Head of the Parliament Committee on Legal Policy, Party of the Regions and drafter of the law on the Bar, participated in this event as well as representatives of Ukrainian and European professional organisations. The aim was to help the Ukrainian profession in finding solutions on controversial issues such as the structure of a Bar Association, the nature of the lawyer’s activity and the employment of lawyers.
As a follow-up to the roundtable, on 29 October 2008 CCBE experts issued recommendations: the recommendations deal with issues such as the structure of a Bar Association, the employment of lawyers and the merger of professions.
Union of Advocates of Ukraine - Спiлка адвокатiв України