“Presidents and High Representatives of almost all European Bars as well as international organizations of lawyers gathered in Vienna on February 20 – 22, 2020 to discuss important issues touching civil society and legal profession. was Among others, Ms. Monique Stengel participated in the forum.

Democracy and Rule of Law – Keeping up the Pressure” was the main topic of Vienna’s deliberations. Due to its significance for the people and for lawyers, organizers invited special guests and speakers, among others, Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Professor, Comparative and Economic Law Division, Institute of Legal Administrative Studies on Warsaw University, who delivered an extraordinary speech met with standing ovation of the audience.

After the Conference Ms.Monique Stengel was awarded with Golden Order of Merit of Republic of Austria (goldene Ehrenzeichnung der Republik Österreich) for her professional activities linked to Austria and in the European Association of Lawyers.”


FBE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – World NGO Day, Brussels, February 28, 2020 “From the Past to the Future: A Living Civic Space for a Living Democracy”

The Conference of INGOs celebrated World NGO Day with the holding of a seminar in Brussels on 28 February entitled From the Past to the Future : A Living Civic Space for a Living Democracy”.

The emergence of spontaneous grassroots activism and effective, widespread bottom-up initiatives questions the more institutionalised operational models of NGOs, INGOs and other umbrella organisations. But is it possible to initiate lasting changes in the socio-political world without relying on formal self-organised structures? How can the spontaneous mobilisation of citizens be relied on by more institutionalised NGOs? Do the grassroots organisations recognize themselves in the more corporatist NGOs? Are the global networks and institutionalised NGOs inclusive and welcoming enough to marginalised groups and individuals, local and smaller citizen initiatives? Are the goals of both the same?

A closing civic space impacts all forms of independent civil society and appears to be one of the symptoms of the “ill-democracy”. A rapidly changing political, economic, technologic and social landscape impacts quite significantly the civil society sector, and especially its sustainability. Faced with these changes, civil society organisations work to strengthen their organisational resilience, financial viability and capacities for action. They must also constantly look for new solutions to increase their capacities, seek out visibility and partnerships, adapt their engagement with citizens and advocacy with policymakers as well as new means of engaging with their own constituencyand membership.

World NGO Day is a global initiative aiming to:

  • highlight the efforts and achievements of NGOs from all sectors,
  • offer the opportunity for people to understand more clearly what NGOs are doing for society at a local, national and international level and,
  • provide a platform for NGOs to discuss the issues that affect their work and share their knowledge and experience with one another.


Artur Wierzbicki

President Human Rights Commission



1. What are the corona measures for all citizens in your country?

Poland, at the heart of central Europe with a population of around 38.5 million people, has been considered the fastest- growing economy within the EU. However, the Covid-19 pandemic could have very severe effects on its Economy.

The first case of a laboratory-confirmed SARS-COV-2 infection in Poland was that of a man hospitalised in Zielona Góra, announced officially on 4 March 2020.

As of 6 April 2020, there were 4,413 laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases and 107 deaths and as of 6 April 2020 there were 162 recoveries.  

Lockdown-type control measures started on 10–12 March, closing schools and university lectures and cancelling mass events. These were further strengthened on 25 March. limiting non-family gatherings to two people and religious gatherings to six and forbidding non-essential travel.

The current restrictions will apply until April 19 and everybody must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been vested with powers to enforce them. Fines up to 30,000 PLN may be imposed on citizens per violation and in some cases, the breach could result in imprisonment. Members of the public have been warned and advised to stay at home because of the obvious risk in meeting others which means spreading the virus and increasing the number of infected patients. The situation for the medical services is very serious as there are not enough respirators and protective measures. On 20 March, the Ministry of Health tried to prevent medical personnel from commenting on the pandemic. Adam Bodnar (the Polish Ombudsmen) defended medical personnel’s rights to speak publicly about the epidemic on the constitutional ground of freedom of speech and the right of the public to information. Doctors opposed the self-censorship orders.

The upcoming election for Polish President has caused a lot of controversy as the date had been set for 10 May and remains unchanged; even though, there is an epidemic. Parliament has recently adopted amendments which would oblige Polish citizens to vote for candidates by mail. They await the approval of  the Senate.


2. What is the legal situation and in the courts?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the operation of the justice system in Poland. Court activities have been limited to hearing only very urgent cases. Most hearings have been cancelled except for giving judgments and urgent criminal and family cases. However, hearings and court activities are within the responsibility of the presidents of individual courts. There have been specific provisions introduced suspending the running of court time limits subject to some exceptions. 

Due to operational restrictions on Polish postal service, Court presidents have issued internal orders to limit letters circulation in some courts. It generally means that other court activities have been also reduced to a minimum level. For a limitation period to be suspended, the event of a force majeure has to result in the “inability to pursue rights” (Article 121(4) of the Civil Code). It cannot be unequivocally stated that this state of affairs already exists today due to the risk of COVID-19 infection these are only hearings that have been cancelled (excluding urgent cases); court work has not been suspended completely. This means that it is unsafe to assume that limitation periods do not start running. 

Under the current legislation, the possibility of filing case statements by electronic means is very limited (generally only to an electronic writ of payment proceedings). However, in certain conditions, case law allows for case statements (also appeals) to be filed by electronic means, provided that the absence of an original signature is later remedied as it is considered to be a formal defect.(Supreme Court resolution of 23 May 2012, III CZP 9/12). Unfortunately, in the case in question, the Supreme Court indicated that the date a submission is filed on, is not the date it is received in the court’s e-mail box, but the very uncertain date on which it is printed out by the court clerk. Due to potential restrictions on the work of court secretariats, a party is unsure when the submission will be printed and stamped as received, which gives rise to significant procedural risks.


3. How is the situation of the lawyers and what are the Bars doing?

Lawyers have been affected by the pandemic as any other professionals have. Most attorneys work online and provide legal services by electronic means of communication. Many lawyers also provide pro-bono services to people in need such as doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, migrants and single parents. Attorneys can attend court hearings provided the introduced security measures are complied with. Due to the pandemic, there is a high demand for legal services regarding inter alia employment law, bankruptcy and insolvency, state aid for businesses, family issues.


The National Bar Association has published guidelines for its members to assist lawyers in their daily work during the pandemic. The Bar has also proposed different solutions to the Ministry of Justice to improve the functioning of the justice system. Regional Bar Associations have also introduced on-line training for its members regarding current legal issues. Many Regional Bars have offered assistance to their senior members as well as those adversely and severely affected by the pandemic.


4. Which measures are the most appreciated and what are the challenges?

The measures most appreciated from a lawyers’ perspective are currently those introduced by the government and concerning the aid and support for employees and businesses as a vast majority of people have faced an unprecedented situation and many members of the public have been left without any means of livelihood.


5. Addition comments.

A detailed summary regarding the situation concerning employees and businesses has been drafted by our colleague, the attorney Tomasz Szarek set out below:

Impact of Covid-19 on doing business in Poland and state aid for entrepreneurs, employers and employees

The COVID-19 results with significant impact on the activities of almost all entities, from sole traders to large business entities. Many entrepreneurs have already officially suspended their business activities. The consequences of covid-19 affect everyone.

What support can entrepreneurs, employers and employees in Poland expect from the state during the current crisis?

Anti-crisis shield”

On 8th March 2020, Act on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 374), entered into force. It focuses first on the regulation of preventing and combating the infection and spread of human infectious diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2.

On the weekend of 21st and 22nd March 2020, the first information on detailed solutions of the planned package of regulation, known as the „anti-crisis shield”, was published. The „anti-crisis shield” is to be a package of solutions for companies, preventing in particular the loss of liquidity in their operations and the dismissal of their employees. Adopted on 31st March 2020, Act on amending the Act on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 568), was signed by the President of Poland, published and entered into force on the same day.

Works on further amendments to the „anti-crisis shield” are pending.

What the „anti-crisis shield” offers to entrepreneurs, employers and employees in practice?

The most important forms of public aid covered by the „anti-crisis shield” are described below.


  1. Co-financing for entrepreneurs

A part of the costs of business of an entrepreneur who is a natural person and does not employ employees shall be co-financed. The co-financing shall be granted in case of a decrease of the entrepreneur’s turnover by at least 30%. A turnover decrease is defined as a decrease in the sale of goods or services (in volume or value), calculated as a proportion of the entrepreneur’s total turnover for any 2 consecutive months, falling after 01.01.2020 to the day preceding the date of submitting the application for co-financing, to the total turnover of the entrepreneur reached during analogous 2 consecutive months in 2019.

The co-financing is provided by the local authority (starosta) on the basis of a contract concluded with the entrepreneur, for a maximum of 3 months. The co-financing amounts:

  • in the event of decrease of the entrepreneur’s turnover by at least 30% – to 50% of the minimum wage per month;
  • in the event of decrease of the entrepreneur’s turnover by at least 50% – to 70% of the minimum wage per month;
  • in the event of decrease of the entrepreneur’s turnover by at least 80% – to 90% of the minimum wage per month.

The minimum wage per month in Poland amounts to 2600,00 PLN (about 600,00 EUR)

The co-financing shall be paid on a monthly basis, after the entrepreneur submits a declaration on operating business in a month, for which the co-financing shall be paid. The entrepreneur is obliged to operate its business during the period for which co-financing was provided and after the end of co-financing during the equal period to the period for which co-financing was provided.


  1. Wage subsidy

Employee Benefits Guarantee Fund (Fundusz Gwarantowanych Świadczeń Pracowniczych) shall subsidise employees’ wages for the benefit of entrepreneurs who have recorded a decrease in turnover.

The decrease in turnover shall amount to:

  • not less than 15% calculated as the ratio of the total turnover in any two consecutive calendar months after 1.01.2020 until the day preceding the date of application, compared to the total turnover from the corresponding 2 consecutive calendar months of the previous year, or
  • not less than 25% calculated as the ratio of the total turnover for any given calendar month, after 01.01.2020 until the day preceding the application date, compared to the turnover
    of the previous month.

The employer shall be able to obtain subsidy:

  • up to the amount of 50% of the minimum wage – in case of introducing economic downtime, considering working time;
  • up to the half of the wage for work in reduced working hours, but not more than 40%
    of the average monthly wage from the previous quarter – in case of a reduction in working hours, considering working time.

The subsidy is not to be granted in relation to the wages of persons whose wage obtained in the month preceding the month in which the application was submitted was higher than 300% of the average monthly salary from the previous quarter, announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office.

The maximum period for receiving such benefits shall amount up to 3 months.

Further subsidy, not only relating to the wages of persons employed on the basis of an employment agreement, but also those employed on the basis of an tolling contract or a mandate contract or other contract for the provision of services, may be granted by a local authority (starosta) on the basis
of a contract with an entrepreneur.


  1. Stoppage benefit

Persons conducting business activity and performing civil law contracts shall be entitled
to a stoppage benefit, if they are not subject to social insurance on another account. The above is also applicable to foreigners legally residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland. The stoppage benefit is granted if, following the occurrence of COVID-19, a stoppage in business activity has occurred, respectively, by a person conducting non-agricultural business activity or by ordering party with whom a civil-law contract has been concluded.

A person conducting business activity is entitled to a stoppage benefit if he or she started this activity before 01.02.2020 and:

  • did not suspend the business activity and the income from conducting this activity obtained in the month preceding the month of submitting the application for the stoppage benefit was at least 15% lower than the income obtained in the month preceding that month and was not higher than 300% of the average monthly wage from the previous quarter, announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office;
  • suspend the business activity after 31 January 2020 and the income from this activity obtained in the month preceding the month in which the application for the stoppage benefit was submitted was not higher than 300% of the average monthly wage from the previous quarter, announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office.

A person performing a civil law contract is entitled to a stoppage benefit if:

  • the civil-law contract was concluded before 1 February 2020;
  • the income from the civil law contract obtained in the month preceding the month in which the application for the stoppage benefit was submitted was not higher than 300% of the average monthly wage from the previous quarter, announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office.

The benefit is a one-off payment of 80% of the minimum wage.


  1. Loans to micro-entrepreneurs

A local authority (starosta) may grant a single loan of up to PLN 5.000 to cover the current costs
of business for micro-entrepreneur who operated a business before 01.03.2020. The loan’s fixed interest rate per year is 0,05 of the rediscount rate for bills of exchange accepted by the National Bank of Poland (currently the rediscount rate is 1,05). The repayment period may not exceed 12 months, with a grace period for repayment of capital and interest of 3 months from the date of granting the loan.

The loan may be remitted, provided that the entrepreneur does not reduce the employment in terms of full-time work in comparison with the employment as of 29.02.2020 within 3 months from the date of its granting.


  1. Social security contributions and benefits

At the contribution payer’s request, who on 29 February 2020 reported less than 10 insured persons to social security, contributions for compulsory social security, health insurance, Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy), Solidarity Fund (Fundusz Solidarnościowy), Employee Benefits Guarantee Fund (Fundusz Gwarantowanych Świadczeń Pracowniczych) or Briding Pension Fund (Fundusz Emerytur Pomostowych), due for the period from 1.03.2020 to 31.05.2020 shall be canceled.

In the case of an entrepreneur who does not employ employees, an application may only be submitted by one who in the month preceding the submission of the application achieved income from non-agricultural activity not exceeding 300% of the forecasted average monthly gross wage in the national economy in 2020.

During the redundancy period the right to social security benefits is retained from the payment of contributions.


  1. PIT and CIT

Taxpayers who have suffered negative economic consequences due to the COVID-19 epidemic may pay the tax advances personal income tax payment collected in March and April 2020 on income from the public service relationship, employment relationship, outwork, cooperative employment relationship, and social security benefits until 01.06.2020.

The provisions regarding PIT and CIT payments on the so-called bad debts to the taxpayer who is the debtor do not apply if, as a result of COVID-19, the taxpayer’s revenues in 2020 will be at least 50% lower than the previous tax year.

Taxpayers (PIT and CIT), who because of COVID-19 in 2020:

  • will suffer a loss on non-agricultural business activity and
  • will achieve total revenues from economic activity lower by at least 50%
    than the total revenues achieved in 2019 from this activity,

may once reduce revenue or income achieved in 2019 from non-agricultural economic activity
by the amount of this loss, but no more than by the amount of PLN 5 000 000, by submitting
a correction of the tax return for this year.

The taxpayer (PIT and CIT) may deduct donations made in 2020 to counteract COVID-19, depending on the month of making a donation up to 200% of its value.

Further tax facilities support applies to entities producing goods related to fighting the epidemic and those conducting research in this area.

Small taxpayers who have chosen the simplified form of advance payments for 2020 may opt out of it during the tax year if they have suffered negative economic consequences due to COVID-19.


  1. Labour law

The employer shall be able to reduce wages in the event of economic downtime by no more than 50%. Reduced wages cannot be lower than the minimum wage. An employer who has experienced
a decrease in business trading as a result of COVID-19 may reduce working hours by 20%,
not more than 0.5 FTEs Employers are granted additional rights to make the working time more flexible. Up to 50% of the minimum wage may be subsidised from the funds of the Employee Benefits Guarantee Fund (Fundusz Gwarantowanych Świadczeń Pracowniczych).

An employer with a decrease in business trade (by 15% or 25% – as indicated in section 2) may introduce the following changes:

  • reduce the uninterrupted daily rest from 11 to 8 hours;
  • reduce the uninterrupted weekly rest from 35 to 32 hours;
  • conclude an agreement on the introduction of a balanced working time system where it is admissible to extend daily amount of working time, however for not more than 12 hours
    in the settlement period not longer than 12 months;
  • conclude an agreement on the application of employment conditions less advantageous
    than the ones stipulated in the contracts of employment concluded with the employees
    to the extent and for the period determined in the arrangement (so-called crisis agreements).


  1. Credit Agreements

It is possible to change the conditions or repayment terms of loan agreements granted before
the day 8.03.2020 to micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Importantly, the changes must be justified by the assessment of the borrower’s financial and economic standing made by the bank not earlier than on the day 30.09.2019 and not on the current situation.

An amendment to loan agreement is made on conditions agreed between the bank and the borrower however, it may not cause deterioration of the borrower’s financial and economic situation.


Are the proposed regulations sufficient?

We will see. Many entrepreneurs, employers and employees already raised doubts and claim that the „anti-crisis shield” in this form may be considered as too weak. For the moment, these regulations appear to be only an “emergency aid”. The effectiveness of the „anti-crisis shield” depends on the duration of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the appropriate response of the state authorities to the changing situation.


Izabela Konopacka

President New Technologies Commission FBE


Tomasz Szarek

Attorney-at-law / Partner





1. Quelles mesures applicables à l’ensemble des citoyens ont été adoptées dans votre pays ?

Le 16 mars le Président de la Roumanie a déclaré l’ETAT D’URGENCE sur l’ensemble du territoire national. Nous sommes obligés de respecter la distance sociale. Ont droit à circuler les personnes se déplaçant au lieu de travail, pour l’approvisionnement, traitement médical urgent, bénévolat, prise en charge des malades. Nous pouvons aussi faire du sport et faire promener les animaux de compagnie dans le voisinage immédiat de la maison, en respectant les règles sanitaires (un nombre maximum de 3 personnes). Le non respect des règles attire des amendes civile et même des sanctions pénales.

Les personnes entrant dans le territoire de la Roumanie sont placées en quarantaine ou en isolement sanitaire. La grande majorité des vols a été suspendue.

Tous les locaux d’alimentation publique ont été fermés et toutes manifestations publiques de toute nature que ce soit ont été interdites.

Des mesures de protection sociale ont été adoptées par loi, visant les personnes ayant perdu leur emploi et des aides ont été établies pour cessation ou réduction de l’activité.


2. Quelle est la situation légale (normes législatives/réglementaires) et devant les juridictions ?

L’état d’urgence a été institué par Décret Présidentiel no 195/16.03.2020 par lequel a été restreint l’exercice de certains droits et a subordonné tous les services d’ordre public au Ministère des Affaires Intérieures. Les mesures concrètes sont prises par Ordonnances d’Urgence du Gouvernement et Ordonnances Militaires du Ministère des Affaires Intérieures.

Pour ce qui est de la justice, la mise en examen des dossiers a été suspendue, à l’exception des affaires urgentes, ainsi que les exécutions forcées. Dans le même temps, a été décrétée la suspension de tous les délais de prescription et de déchéance, et les délais n’ayant pas commencé, ne commenceront pas à couler et a été suspendue la procédure de règlement des procès nouveaux.

Les avocats sont tenus, par l’Ordonnance d’Urgence no 29/18.03.2020, de continuer leur activité, sous sanctions disciplinaires – bien évidemment dans le respect le plus stricte des mesures de discipline sanitaire.


3. Quelle est la situation des avocats et quelles sont les actions menées par les barreaux ?

Comme je viens de le dire, les avocats doivent prendre des mesures pour poursuivre leur activité, étant donné que c’est une activité d’intérêt public. Mais le problème réside principalement dans l’arrêt ou la réduction complète de l’activité des clients, qui en grande mesure ont suspendu les effets des contrats de permanence et dans l’arrêt des procédures de communication aux défendeurs des actions judiciaires nouvelles. Ceci a entraîné la baisse dramatique des encaissements, aussi bien pour les formes d’organisation individuelles, que celles collectives.

Les barreaux roumains, par l’Union Nationale des Barreaux de la Roumanie, ont fait des démarches pour que les mesures de protection sociale pour les personnes n’ayant plus d’activité ou ayant réduit l’activité de manière involontaire, s’appliquent aussi aux avocats (aide de 75% des revenus, mais pas plus de 75% du revenu moyen de l’économie – environ 900 euros).     

Chaque Barreau a pris des mesures lui permettant de continuer l’activité d’assistance judiciaire obligatoire, y compris en assurant des équipements de protection sanitaire.


4. Quelles mesures prises sont les plus appréciées et quels sont les défis auxquels il faut faire face ?

En principe, chaque personne comprend que les mesures prises sont nécessaires. Malheureusement, il existe aussi des citoyens qui n’entendent pas respecter les règles et il y a déjà plusieurs centaines de personnes qui font l’objet de poursuites pénales.

5. Remarques particulières

En Roumanie, le problème des contagions est lié à la politique défectueuse d’après 1990. A cause de la situation économique négligée, des millions de roumains ont été obligés de trouver des emplois dans l’Europe occidentale, notamment Italie et Espagne. Suite à la situation de l’Ouest de l’Europe, des centaines de milliers de citoyens roumains sont revenus en Roumanie, en y apportant le virus dévastateur (notamment ceux qui travaillaient de manière irrégulière ou ceux qui vivaient de la bienfaisance publique). On ne peut pas leur interdire d’entrer dans le territoire national, mais le contrôle en est très difficile à gérer.


Me. dr.Stanca Gidro, Avocat

Président de la Commission des Barreaux d’Est FBE





1. What measures applicable to all citizens have been adopted in your country?

On the 16th of March, the President of Romania declared STATE OF EMERGENCY on the territory of the whole country. We are obliged to observe social distancing. The persons going to work, for shopping, for emergency medical treatment, to provide care for sick persons, volunteers have the right to move about. Also, we may exercise and walk pets around our homes, with the observance of the health rules (a maximum of 3 persons). Failure to observe the rules results in fines or even criminal charges.   

The persons coming to Romania are placed in quarantine or isolation. Most of the flights were suspended.

All the public catering places were closed and public meetings of any nature were banned.

Social protection measures were enacted for those who were laid-off and support was set up for activities closure or curtailment.


2. What is the legal situation (legislative/regulatory norms) and before the courts?

The state of emergency was set up by Presidential Decree 195/16.03.2020, which limited the exercise of certain rights and subordinated all the public order services to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Concrete measures are adopted by Government Emergency Ordinances and Military Ordinances of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In what concerns justice, the cases trial was suspended, except the urgent ones and the enforcements as well. At the same time, it was enacted that all the limitation and incapacity terms be suspended and the unbegun ones will not start running and the new proceedings settlement procedure was suspended.

By the Emergency Ordinance no.29/18.03.2020, lawyers are obliged to continue their activity under disciplinary penalty – obviously, with the observance of health discipline measures.


3. What is the situation of lawyers and what are the actions taken by the bar associations?

As already mentioned, lawyers must adopt measures to continue their activity as the said activity is of public interest. The problem is though that of the clients’ activity arrest or complete  cut, clients who, to a great extent, suspended the effects of the legal assistance contracts and the cessation of the notification procedures to the defendants of new judicial proceedings. This determined the drastic decrease of the returns, both for individual and collective organization forms.

The Romanian Bars, by the National Union of Romanian Bars took the steps towards the application in the case of lawyers too, of the social protection measures for those who do not have activity or involuntary decreased their activity (an aid of 75% of the income but not more than 75% 75% of the average income at the  economy level – about 900 Euros)

Each Bar adopted measures to continue the compulsory judicial assistance activity, including the provision of health protection equipment.


4. What actions taken are most appreciated and what are the challenges that need to be addressed?

In principle, each person understands that the adopted measures are necessary. Unfortunately, there are citizens who do not understand to observe the rules and there are a few hundreds of criminal cases already in progress.


5. Special remarks

In Romania, the problem of ailments is related to the consequences of the post – 1990 wrong policy. Due to the neglected economic situation, millions of Romanians were forced to find a job in Western Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. Subsequent to the present situation of the Western Europe, hundreds of thousands of Romanians returned to Romania bringing with them the devastating virus (especially those who worked without a contract or invoked public mercy). Their entry in the country cannot be denied and the control is very difficult to manage.


Stanca Gidro, Ph.D., Lawyer

Chairman FBE – East Bars Board

Lettre de la FBE au Ministre de la justice turc

Monsieur le Ministre,

Je vous adresse cette correspondance en ma qualité de Présidente de la Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe, qui représente 800 000 avocats au sein du Conseil de l’Europe.

La Fédération des Barreaux  d’Europe est extrêmement préoccupée par le sort réservé aux avocats turcs actuellement détenus, en cette période de pandémie au Covid 19.

La communauté scientifique s’accorde à considérer que les centres de détention sont particulièrement exposés aux conséquences dramatiques de la pandémie. Ce virus se propage en effet très rapidement en milieu confiné. Par ailleurs, les conditions de détention fragilisent la santé de ceux qui y sont exposés, permettant ainsi une circulation rapide des maladies infectieuses. L’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS) a confirmé, dans un rapport du 15 mars 2020, que les personnes privées de liberté étaient infiniment plus susceptibles d’être contaminées que celles qui sont en liberté.

Le droit à la vie, auquel il ne peut être dérogé, est consacré par l’article 6.1 du Pacte International relatif aux droits civils et politiques qui dispose : « Le droit à la vie est inhérent à la personne humaine. Ce droit doit être protégé par la loi. Nul ne peut être arbitrairement privé de la vie. » Ce droit s’applique en toutes circonstances, y compris lors des situations d’état d’urgence ou de conflit armé.

Votre pays a décidé, avec courage, d’ordonner la libération de très nombreux détenus, en considération de la pandémie et du risque particulièrement encouru en milieu pénitentiaire. Les avocats ne sauraient être exclus de cette décision.

En effet, l’article 26 du même Pacte prévoit que : « Toutes les personnes sont égales devant la loi et ont droit sans discrimination à une égale protection de la loi. A cet égard, la loi doit interdire toute discrimination et garantir à toutes les personnes une protection égale et efficace contre toute discrimination, notamment de race, de couleur, de sexe, de langue, de religion, d’opinion politique et de toute autre opinion, d’origine nationale ou sociale, de fortune, de naissance ou de toute autre situation. 

L’article 10 de la Constitution turque prévoit une disposition tout à fait comparable.

Je vous prie, en conséquence, de bien vouloir tout mettre en œuvre afin que les avocats turcs actuellement détenus puissent bénéficier des mesures qui seront adoptées en vue de libérer de nombreux prisonniers, leur qualité d’avocat ne pouvant justifier un maintien en détention en cette période de pandémie.

Je vous remercie de l’attention que vous voudrez bien porter à cette correspondance et vous prie de croire, Monsieur le Ministre, en l’assurance de ma respectueuse considération.



Présidente de la Fédération des Barreaux d´Europe (FBE)




1. Quelles mesures applicables à l’ensemble des citoyens ont été adoptées dans votre pays ?

Depuis le 16 mars, tous les restaurants et commerces non essentiels sont fermés. Les écoles sont fermées. Le transport aérien pour personnes est arrêté. Les gens doivent rester confinés à la maison et ne peuvent sortir que pour faire des achats ou se rendre au travail, s’ils n’ont pas la possibilité de faire du télétravail. Tous les chantiers sont arrêtés et fermés. Par contre, la navigation maritime est autorisée sans limitations.

Une grande partie du personnel travaillant dans les hôpitaux ou des maisons de retraite sont des frontaliers. La situation pour les frontaliers allemands est extrêmement pénible, puisque les autorités allemandes ont cru bien faire de refermer la frontière avec le Luxembourg. Seuls quelques postes douaniers restent ouverts, ce qui oblige souvent à de grands détours. Les travailleurs frontaliers disposent maintenant d’un certificat spécial destiné à accélérer le passage à la frontière.


2. Quelle est la situation légale (normes législatives/réglementaires) et devant les juridictions ?

Comme les écoles sont fermées, les parents, qui sont obligés de s’occuper de leurs enfants, peuvent prendre un congé pour raisons familiales. Le salaire est alors à charge de l’Etat.

Il en va de même pour les personnes en chômage (partiel) étant donné la fermeture de leur entreprise ou la baisse d’activité de celle-ci. L’Etat paie une indemnité de compensation limitée à 80 % du salaire avec la disposition que l’indemnité de compensation est plafonnée à 250% du salaire social minimum (5.363 €), et ne peut être inférieure au montant du salaire social minimum (2.142 €).

Pour permettre à certains secteurs de réagir à la crise, il a été décidé de la possibilité d’une augmentation de la durée du travail à 12 heures par jour et 60 heures par semaines pour certaines entreprises.

Les échéances d’impôt, les avances d’impôts, les intérêts de retard, les cotisations sociales sont suspendus.

Des facilités d’obtenir des crédits bancaires avec une garantie étatique à 80 % sont possibles. Tout est fait pour que l’économie continue à tourner et soit prête à redémarrer dès la reprise.


3. Quelle est la situation des avocats et quelles sont les actions menées par les barreaux ?

Les avocats jouissent également des mesures prises par l’Etat, tel que congé pour raisons familiales, congé partiel, report des échéances fiscales et sociales.

Toutes les dispositions prises par les Cours et Tribunaux pour suspendre les audiences ont été prises en concertation avec le barreau. C’est le barreau qui a communiqué ces mesures aux avocats. Pour autant que possible, les communications avec les tribunaux ont été digitalisées.

Le gouvernement a décidé de suspendre, sauf exception, les délais dans les procédures devant les juridictions judiciaires, administratives, militaires et constitutionnelle. Cela concerne notamment les délais d’appel et d’opposition contre une décision juridictionnelle, de l’aveu en faillite, de déclaration des naissances, etc. Par ailleurs, les délais de déguerpissement en matière de bail à loyer et de bail commercial sont également suspendus.

Les études d’avocats font maintenant du home office. Les réunions se font par téléconférence. Dans les locaux de l’étude, il n’y a souvent plus qu’une seule personne pour tenir une permanence. (The Shining, Stephen King, 1977)


4. Quelles mesures prises sont les plus appréciées et quels sont les défis auxquels il faut faire face ?

En règle générale, la population luxembourgeoise apprécie la rapidité avec laquelle le gouvernement a pris des mesures énergiques pour venir en aide aux salariés, aux entreprises et aux indépendants, pour renforcer massivement la capacité de nos hôpitaux et pour prévoir la reprise.

Le barreau a une excellente politique de communication et d’information tout en travaillant de concert avec les ministères, les administrations et les instances juridictionnelles.

Je pense que le plus grand défi sera humain, à savoir de tenir le confinement et l’isolement dans la durée, une fin n’étant pas encore en vue, ni surtout les modalités de sortie de crise.


5. Remarques particulières

Lors du congrès de la Fédération à Luxembourg en octobre 2016 les congressistes étaient logés à l’Hôtel Melia au Kirchberg près de la Cour Européenne de Justice. Aujourd’hui cet hôtel sert d’hébergement aux frontaliers travaillant dans les hôpitaux proches pour se reposer, respectivement loger le temps de la crise. Cette facilité est prise en charge par l’Etat.

Je trouve la fermeture des frontières choquante. J’espère qu’elle ne présage pas un retour vers d’anciens temps, mais qu’au contraire elle nous fera réaliser le bienfait de l’absence de barrières entre nations.

La crise a accéléré les échanges informatiques entre avocats et juridictions. Ce choc évolutif est un des bienfaits de la crise. Il faut espérer qu’il survive à la crise.

Et que la nature profite pleinement de ce répit de la pollution que le virus lui accorde !


Charles Kaufhold

Ancien Secrétaire Général de la FBE

Luxembourg, 31 mars 2020





1. What measures applicable to all citizens have been adopted in your country?

Since 16 March, all restaurants and non-essential shops have been closed. Schools are closed. Passenger air transport is stopped. People have to remain confined to their homes and can only go out to shop or to work if they cannot telework. All construction sites are stopped and closed. On the other hand, shipping is allowed without restrictions.

A large part of the staff working in hospitals or old people’s homes are cross-border commuters. The situation for German cross-border commuters is extremely difficult, since the German authorities thought it right to close the border with Luxembourg. Only a few customs posts remain open, which often require major detours. Frontier workers now have a special certificate to speed up the border crossing.


2. What is the legal situation (legislative/regulatory norms) and before the courts?

As schools are closed, parents, who are obliged to take care of their children, can take leave for family reasons. The salary is then paid by the State.

The same applies to people who are (partially) unemployed due to the closure of their business or the decline in their activity. The State pays a compensation allowance limited to 80% of the salary with the provision that the compensation allowance is capped at 250% of the minimum social wage (€ 5,363), and cannot be less than the amount of the minimum social wage (€ 2,142).

In order to allow certain sectors to react to the crisis, it was decided that working hours could be increased to 12 hours a day and 60 hours a week for certain companies.

Tax due dates, tax advances, and interest on arrears and social security contributions are suspended.

It is possible to obtain bank loans with an 80% state guarantee. Everything is being done to ensure that the economy continues to run and is ready to start up again as soon as the recovery takes hold.


3. What is the situation of lawyers and what are the actions taken by the bar associations?

Lawyers also benefit from the measures taken by the State, such as leave for family reasons, partial leave, postponement of tax and social security payments.

All the measures taken by the Courts and Tribunals to suspend hearings have been taken in consultation with the Bar Association. The Bar Association communicated these measures to the lawyers. As far as possible, communications with the courts have been digitised.

The Government has decided to suspend, with some exceptions, the time limits in proceedings before the judicial, administrative, military and constitutional courts. This concerns, in particular, the time limits for appealing and objecting to a court decision, for confessing bankruptcy, for declaring births, etc. The Government has also decided to suspend the time limits for the submission of appeals against court decisions. Moreover, the time limits for eviction in matters of rental and commercial leases are also suspended.

Law firms are now operating as home offices. Meetings are held by teleconference. On the firm’s premises, there is often only one person on duty. (The Shining, Stephen King, 1977)


4. What actions taken are most appreciated and what are the challenges that need to be addressed?

In general, the Luxembourg population appreciates the speed with which the government has taken energetic measures to help employees, companies and the self-employed, to massively strengthen the capacity of our hospitals and to plan for recovery.

The Bar Association has an excellent communication and information policy while working in concert with ministries, administrations and jurisdictional bodies.

I believe that the greatest challenge will be a human one, namely to maintain containment and isolation over the long term, with no end in sight, nor, above all, how to get out of the crisis.


5. Special remarks

At the congress of the Federation in Luxembourg in October 2016 the congress participants were accommodated at the Hotel Melia in Kirchberg near the European Court of Justice. Today this hotel is used as a place of accommodation for border workers in nearby hospitals to rest or to stay during the crisis. This facility is paid for by the state.

I find the closing of the borders shocking. I hope that it does not presage a return to the old days, but rather that it will make us realise the benefit of the absence of barriers between nations.

The crisis has speeded up computer exchanges between lawyers and jurisdictions. This evolutionary shock is one of the benefits of the crisis. It is to be hoped that it will survive the crisis.

Moreover, that nature takes full advantage of this respite from pollution that the virus gives it!


Charles Kaufhold

Past General Secretary of the FBE

Luxembourg, 31 March 2020


Austria has taken several measures for the fight against the Coronavirus and there were numerous regulations put into place, for example until the 13.04.2020 the entering of public places is prohibited (excluding necessary activities), closing of gastronomy and business premises and measures on entry into the country.

 1. COVID-19 legislative package

A comprehensive package of measures (COVID-19-Maßnahmengesetz) was established on 15.03.2020, as well as the establishment of the COVID-19 crisis management fund (COVID-19-FondsG), which is endowed with four billion euros. As measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Minister of Health, the provincial governors or the district administrative authorities are empowered to impose bans on entry. Violations are punishable by fines of up to 3,600 euros for private individuals or 30,000 euros for owners of affected business premises who do not implement the ban on entry. In addition, the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure was adopted, which allows for hearings of accused persons during a pandemic to be held via video conference.

2. COVID-19 legislative package

In view of the far-reaching effects of the corona pandemic, the Austrian Bar (ÖRAK) has strongly advocated a legal moratorium on deadlines. These efforts were successful. On 19.03.2020, a comprehensive second COVID-19 legislative package was introduced, amending in total 39 laws and adding 5 new laws. Most of the provisions thus entered into force on 22.03.2020 and will largely expire at the end of 31 December 2020. In court proceedings, all procedural periods which fall within the period after the entry into force of this law and procedural periods that have not yet expired shall be interrupted until the end of 30.04.2020 and shall begin to run anew from 01.05.2020. In addition, the period from the entry into force of this Federal law until the end of 30.04.2020 shall not be included in the period in which an action or application is to be brought before a court or a declaration is to be made – this concerns, for example, limitation periods. Special provisions are also made in criminal proceedings. The Federal Minister of Justice can order the jurisdiction of another judicial institution and is authorised to order an interruption of the time periods for the maximum duration of preliminary proceedings, of the two-month period for the retrial of an interrupted main hearing and of the time periods for the filing and execution of appeals. For the period of the general measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hearings and oral hearings shall only be held under certain conditions (prevention of danger to life, freedom, etc.).

Regulations from the Federal Ministry of Justice

As from 20th of March, the Federal Ministry of Justice restricted party traffic to the absolutely necessary minimum with its regulation amending the rules of procedure for the courts in the first and second instance and with the decree on dealing with the current corona pandemic. The decree recommends that the courts and prosecutors’ offices postpone hearings that are not urgent. In addition, as already mentioned above the regulation extending the scope of application for the use of video conferences in criminal proceedings was announced on Monday. This regulation came into force 17.03.2020 and will expire on 13.04.2020.

COVID-19 Labour Law

With the new regulation on COVID-19 short-time work the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) supports companies. These regulations on COVID-19 short-time work and the social partner agreement also apply to law firms.

Lawyers and Bars

For the lawyers, at the initiative of the Austrian Bar (ÖRAK), an exception for « services related to justice » was included in the regulation on interim measures to prevent the dissemination of COVID-19. Nevertheless, it is requested to reduce the activities in the law firm offices to a minimum and to switch to working from home as far as possible.

Due to the measures recently taken by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), to protect members, parties, business partners and employees, and to provide the best possible support for the efforts of society, there will be no party transactions in the Austrian Bar (ÖRAK) and the regional bars. However, they will of course remain in operation.


1. ¿ Cuáles son las medidas del Coronavirus para los ciudadanos de su país ?

 ¿ Cuál es la actual situación jurídica y en los Tribunales ?

 Las medidas que se están llevando a cabo están contempladas en los Reales Decretos cuyos links se facilitan a continuación, los cuales analizan y decretan la situación de emergencia sanitaria mediante la declaración del Estado de Alerta; la obligación de permanencia en los domicilios particulares y la decisión del Gobierno de España de suspender la actividad profesional; y laboral al mínimo.

De forma ampliatoria, mediante Real Decreto del pasado sábado 28 de Marzo, se ha ordenado el cierre provisional durante 15 días de la totalidad de la actividad laboral, salvo las actividades esenciales para la vida de la comunidad; sanidad, orden público, transporte de mercancías alimenticias y un detalle de las empresas y servicios que se consideran esenciales para la continuación de la vida.

El confinamiento de las personas en sus domicilios sigue vigente y la prohibición de salir a la calle continúa, salvo para realizar compras de alimentos en el lugar más cercano al domicilio y la salida (también cercano al domicilio) del paseo de animales domésticos.

Las fuerzas del orden sancionan con severidad el incumplimiento de las normas decretadas en el estado de alerta en España.  

Tuvo unas modificaciones el día 17 de marzo: 

Real Decreto-ley 9/2020, de 27 de marzo, por el que se adoptan medidas complementarias, en el ámbito laboral, para paliar los efectos derivados del COVID-19. 


2. ¿ Cuál es la situación de los Abogados y qué están haciendo los Colegios de Abogados al respeto ?

 En el ámbito del Derecho:

  1. Se suspenden los plazos procesales desde el lunes 16 de Marzo.
  2. Se suspenden los plazos administrativos y fiscales.
  3. Se cierran los Juzgados y Tribunales salvo situaciones de urgente y extraordinaria necesidad. Jueces, Fiscales y Abogados acudirán por situaciones extremas.
  4. Los abogados/abogadas de justicia gratuita siguen asistiendo presencial o telemáticamente cuando son requeridos.

Ninguna actividad de la Justicia se realiza de cara al público.

La actividad judicial suspendida no significa que no se deba trabajar de forma telemática. En consecuencia, Jueces y Fiscales deberán seguir trabajando en los expedientes abiertos, de forma no presencial. De esta forma, entre los abogados, existe la creencia que cuando los Juzgados se abran, la totalidad de las Resoluciones Judiciales que se hallaban pendientes por exceso de trabajo, estarán justo para notificarse, al haberse suspendido la actividad presencial. 

Como mínimo, es una expectativa importante para los que esperamos resoluciones judiciales durante largo tiempo. En este aspecto, se supone que tanto Jueces como Fiscales podrán acceder de forma telemática a los expedientes judiciales igual que sucede con la actividad de nuestros despachos particulares, que seguimos trabajando gracias a la organización de los mismos. Y por tanto, la finalización de la suspensión, si bien supondrá un incremento sustancial de asuntos nuevos y de señalamientos suspendidos, al menos, el trabajo anterior podrá haber estado resuelto debido a la actividad telemática en estos meses de suspensión.

Tenemos la esperanza que cuando se levante el estado de alerta, la situación de la Justicia estará con el contador a cero, en cuanto a trabajo pendiente, lo que supondrá una ayuda imprescindible para reactivar el sistema judicial tras la pandemia.

Por otro lado, en la actualidad y durante 15 días, se prohíbe a las empresas despedir a sus trabajadores, entendiéndose laboralmente una situación de suspensión con derecho al cobro de sus nóminas, si bien dicha suspensión puede ser recuperable por la empresa en otros períodos. Sin embargo, la situación de liquidez de las empresas, sin obligadas al cierre y en consecuencia, se considera un riesgo serio para la economía.

Desgraciadamente, no se han suspendido los pagos de impuestos, IVA, liquidaciones trimestrales…etc que en ningún momento el Gobierno ha decretado la suspensión. tampoco los Gobiernos Autónomos, al menos el de Catalunya, lo ha acordado.

En consecuencia, las empresas y profesionales están obligados, con los trabajadores y con la Administración Pública pero están obligadas al cierre. Esta situación se ha decretado por 15 días comprendiendo las vacaciones de Semana Santa.

Medidas adoptadas por los Colegios de Abogados:

Cabe destacar que la Abogacía en nuestro país está recibiendo solicitudes de suspensión del pago de la cuota colegial, pero de momento, no se está atendiendo, solo suspendiendo.

En España los colegiados, miembros de algunos Colegios de Abogados que lo soliciten, pueden pedir repartir la cuota durante el resto del año.

En determinados Colegios como en el de Barcelona, dada la situación excepcional del estado de alarma por Covid-19, se ha organizado un sistema de atención a detenidos mediante el uso de la videoconferencia para evitar dos cosas: la presentación perosla y la desatención de las personas detenidas.


3. ¿ Cuáles son las medidas que se van a tomar y cuáles son los retos ?

 Cuestiones de especial relevancia podrían ser la puesta en marcha durante los primeros 15 días de confinamiento, de los ERTE, situaciones de suspensión del contrato laboral temporal y en consecuencia del pago de las nóminas de los indicados trabajadores que empresas de fabricación de automóviles que no pueden realizar su trabajo habitual se han acogido, entre otras.

En cuanto a la situación de la infancia, los servicios sociales de cada lugar, tratan de repartir alimentación en domicilios cuyos menores tenían becas de comedor en las escuelas pública, procurando de esta forma la alimentación ordinaria de la familia. Las escuelas están cerradas, los hijos están en los domicilios sin posibilidad de salir a la calle.

Se desconoce el tiempo de duración del confinamiento de las famílias pero lo cierto es que si viene el buen tiempo en España, cada vez será más difícil el cumplimiento estricto del confinamiento.

Se barajan alternativas de sentido común, respecto al futuro inmediato: 

  • previsión positiva sería abrir las escuelas, sin embargo no existe seguridad al respecto.
  • Parecería lógico que una vez se pueda alcanzar cierta normalidad, si ello fuera en Junio, Julio o Agosto, las escuelas pudieran abrir para tener a los niños realizando actividades de aprendizaje hasta septiembre, con el fin de liberar tanto a la infancia como a los adultos responsables, de más períodos en convivencia forzada. Todo ha cambiado en España y no existe previsión alguna sobre el futuro, pero entendemos se debe afrontar con imaginación por parte de los gobernantes sin tener en cuenta, en exceso, cuál ha sido la norma hasta el momento (por ej. si en España las vacaciones escolares son Julio y Agosto, este año debería prescindir de las mismas y aprovechar para la enseñanza deportiva y escolar, mientras los padres podrían dedicarse a sostener la economía trabajando también en dicho período)

Y únicamente y con el fin de ilustrar la situación de España, cabe señalar también, además de los efectos económicos referidos, la ansiedad producida por el confinamiento y la obligación de intercambio de domicilio de los hijos menores durante el período de confinamiento.

En un principio y creyendo que sería únicamente un plazo de 15 días, se recomendaba que los hijos estuvieran el menor tiempo posible en intercambios y en caso de duda, con el progenitor custodio. Posteriormente, se ha recomendado seguir el cumplimiento estricto de las Resoluciones Judiciales de guarda y custodia. Pero ha sido y está siendo un tema controvertido entre priorizar la salud del menor o el derecho del mismo a compartir tiempo con ambos progenitores.

Cabe mencionar que se ha solicitado al Gobierno la exención de pago de la Seguridad Social para aquellos profesionales que deban mantenerse cerrados y estén al frente del pago de la cuota de autónomos. En cuanto al régimen general para los Abogados en relación de ajenidad, se prohíbe el despedido durante los próximos 15 días, considerándose un periodo de suspensión del trabajo a recuperar en próximos tiempos, remunerado.

Posteriormente a las vacaciones de Semana Santa veremos cuál es la situación.

Cualquier información respecto de España, no duden en contactar con FBE


Chers membres de la FBE,

Nous souhaitons vous informer de la situation de chacun des pays représentés au sein de la FBE eu égard à la situation résultant de l’épidémie du coronavirus Covid-19. Chaque Barreau est invité à répondre au questionnaire, afin que nos membres puissent prendre connaissance de la situation dans chacun d’eux.

Nous vous invitons à adresser vos contributions à

  1. Quelles mesures applicables à l’ensemble des citoyens ont été adoptées dans votre pays ?
  2. Quelle est la situation légale (normes législatives/réglementaires) et devant les juridictions ?
  3. Quelle est la situation des avocats et quelles sont les actions menées par les barreaux ?
  4. Quelles mesures prises sont les plus appréciées et quels sont les défis auxquels il faut faire face ?
  5. Remarques particulières

Nous publierons toutes les informations qui nous seront communiquées sur le site pour faciliter le travail des avocats.

Ces informations sont données à titre indicatif. Pour obtenir des informations juridiques précises et détaillées, nous vous invitons à vous référer aux législations en vigueur.












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