Second edition of the International Oratory Competition – Berlin, 13-14 September 2019

I have the pleasure to inform you that the FBE is starting the second edition of its International Oratory Competition, for lawyers and law students of less than 35 years of age. This year’s competition follows two very successful International Contract Competitions which gathered respectively 10 and 8 teams from the Member Bars of the FBE in Warsaw and International Oratory Competition for Lawyers under 40 held in Madrid in October 2017 as well as first edition of the International Oratory Human Rights Competition held In Poznań in 2018.

The competition will contribute to pursue the objectives of the FBE by promoting the mobility of lawyers/law students, ensuring the level of professional quality and technical competence of lawyers/law students, strengthen relations between Member Bars and between lawyers/law students from different countries.

The event will be run by the FBE Human Rights Commission and hosted by the Berlin Bar Association, as President of the Commission. It will take place on September 13-14, 2019.

This year’s topic is: “FREEDOM OF SPEECH”

The competition is a great opportunity for lawyers/law students to practice oratory skills, learn to present a case to an international audience of lawyers, develop oral English abilities, and it provides a valuable networking occasion for lawyers from different jurisdictions.

We would like to invite Member Bars of the FBE to send their participants to Berlin to join this competition. The language of the contest is English.

Declaration of participation may be submitted by the Member Bars by e-mail on the attached application form by the August 20th, 2019 (mail: fbehrccompetition@wp.pl)

Please find attached to this letter the information pack with all the details regarding the FBE International Human Rights Oratory Competition, Berlin 2019.

We warmly invite the Member Bars to encourage lawyers to take part in this event and support them. We hope that all participants will find the contest very attractive and beneficial.

Sincerely,

 

Silvia Gimenez Salinas

President of the European Bars Federation

Silvia Giménez-Salinas becomes president of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE)

Silvia Giménez-Salinas, dean of the Colegio de la Abogacía de Barcelona (ICAB) (Barcelona’s Bar Association) between 2005 and 2009 and former first vice president of the FBE, has been appointed president of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe – FBE during the General Assembly held in Barcelona last Saturday, June 1st, on FBE’s 53rd General Congress.

The new president of the European lawyers has an extensive professional career leading different institutions and organizations such as the Consell de l’Advocacia Catalana (the General Council of the Catalan Bar), the Commission of Relations with the Administration of Justice of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers, the Catalan Intercollegiate Association and ICAB’s Catalan Association of Arbitration, among others. She’s currently a member of Catalonia’s Civil Law Observatory and president of the Legal Profession Applied Research Institute. She takes on the presidency of the FBE with the objective of providing the organization with practical and useful resources for its members, mainly focusing on helping and supporting those bars in need.

Other appointments were made during the General Assembly: Dominique Attias (France), Paris’ vice dean between 2015 and 2017, was appointed first vice president; Bas Martens (Netherlands) was appointed second vice president; and Patrick Dillen (Belgium), vice dean of l’Ordre néerlandophone des Avocats du Barreau de Bruxelles (NOAB) (the Dutch-speaking Order of the Brussels Bar) since 2015, has been appointed general secretary.

During her inauguration speech as the newly elected president of the European lawyers, Giménez-Salinas encouraged bar associations to get involved in the federation’s management so that “members can perceive their membership as a bonus in the development of their professional career, just like the people they work for sense”. She added that “the quality assurance of our work is not only measured at an individual level, based on the good work carried out by lawyers, but also by the value the society adds through the sense of belonging to a bar association”.

Giménez-Salinas replaces former president Michele Lucherini (Ordine degli Avvocati di Lucca). In his speech as the outgoing president, Lucherini thanked the preceding presidents of the FBE for their work, wishing Silvia Giménez-Salinas, newly elected president, all the best in this new period, as well as Dominique Attias, Monique Stengel, Bas Martens, and Patrick Dillen.

He also thanked the Colegio de la Abogacía de Barcelona for hosting the organization’s 53rd annual congress, especially the association’s dean, Mª Eugènia Gay, and its International Relations Commission president, Rosa Peña, for her involvement in this project.

53 rd FBE General Congress in Barcelona

“The Separation of Powers: a Fundamental Aspect of the Rule of Law” was the thought that ruled the 53rd General Congress of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE) in Barcelona, May 30th to June 1st, 2019.

Over 120 people gathered in Barcelona last week to discuss a key aspect for our democracies: The Separation of Powers: a Fundamental Aspect of the Rule of Law.

However, the intention was not addressing the issue of whether this separation has been broken or not, but to think about to which extent the system designed by Montesquieu is still valid in a society whose structure and composition has changed considerably.

More than 20 European bars were present in the Congress (Lecce, Paris, Porto, Ankara, England and Wales, Lyon and Frankfurt, among others), as well as Michele Lucherini, president of the FBE, Maria Eugènia Gay, dean of the Consejo de la Abogacía de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Bar Association), Jean-Pierre Gross, former president of the FBE, Marie-Aimée Peyron, dean of Paris’ Bar Association), Patrick Henry, president of the Commission of Human Rights at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Maria Eugènia Alegret judge and president of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia between 2004 and 2010, and Victoria Ortega, president of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers, among other relevant public figures.

 

Thursday, May 30th

The 53rd FBE Congress in Barcelona started on May 30th with the joint presidency meeting, with Michele Lucherini, FBE president, and the presidents of the Commissions of which the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe is made up (Access to the legal profession, Arbitration, Law without borders, Equality, Ethics and Mediation, among others). This meeting took place in the Board Room of the Ilustre Colegio de la Abogacía de Barcelona (ICAB).

The official opening of the Congress was held at Palau de Pedralbes and was hosted by Ester Capella, Catalonia’s regional minister for Justice, Michele Lucherini, former president of the FBE, Silvia Giménez-Salinas, current president of the FBE and emeritus dean of the ICAB, and Maria Eugènia Gay, dean of Barcelona’s bar, along with the congress participants, who joined the celebration at Palau de Pedralbes to welcome the 53rd General Congress of the FBE in Barcelona.

 

Friday, May 31st

On Friday, 31st May, the attendees attended different sessions in which the scientific program of the Congress was developed, with the participation of many top-level national and European speakers.

On behalf of the hosts, Maria Eugènia Gay opened the 53rd FBE General Congress with a speech that focused on the importance of the separation of powers in the Rule of Law as the base for democratic strength, and the importance of the legal profession in this separation. Next, Michele Lucherini emphasized the lawyers’ independence as guarantors of legality within the civil society.

In the introductory conference offered by Daniel Innerarity Ph.D., professor of Political and Social Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, before the start of the Congress’ scientific program, the speaker stressed on the elements that define our democracies and the necessary balance between all of them to avoid a democratic crisis.

The scientific program was divided into four panels with top-level speakers which, throughout Friday’s session, analyzed different relevant aspects related to the Congress’ main topic: “The Separation of Powers: a Fundamental Aspect of the Rule of Law”.

The first panel, “Real separation in contrast with power balance”, analyzed during an hour and a half the current shape of European constitutions and to which extent these are adapted to the existing sociopolitical reality.

Céline Romainville Ph.D., professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, was the main speaker for this first panel and focused on the need of adapting the separation of powers described in Constitutions to the social and political changes that take place with the development of societies.

During the conference, Erinç SAĞKAN, dean of the Ankara Bar Association, Jean-Pierre Buyle, dean of the Ordre des Barreaux Francophones et Germanophones de Belgique (the French-speaking and German-speaking Order of the Belgium Bar) and Francisco Vellozo, president of the Council of Deontology of Porto’s Regional Council, offered enriching speeches and shared their views on the topic, mainly on whether an actual separation of powers is feasible or not. The panel was chaired by Victoria Ortega, president of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers.

The second panel, “The parliamentary immunity system in different states”, had an introductory speech by Josep Joan Moreso Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Pompeu Fabra University, who mainly focused on analyzing the parliamentary immunity system, as well as with the presence of different speakers who described the system in their country: José María Alonso, dean of Madrid’s Bar, Jean-Pierre Gross, former president of the FBE and Laura Bruno, member of the Ordine degli Avvocati di Lecce (Bar of Lecce). The panel moderator was Marie-Aymée Peyron, dean of the Paris Bar.

“The influence of lobbies: the role of Bar Associations” was the topic for the third panel on the second day of the General Congress held by the FBE in Barcelona.

The panel was introduced by Rafael Rubio Ph.D., professor and director of the Grupo de Investigación en Participación y Nuevas Tecnologías (I+DEM) at the Complutense University of Madrid, who emphasized on the obscurantism around the role of lobbies and how society can benefit from their activities.

The conversation on the role that Bar Associations play in the lobbying industry and on how they can influence the legislator was held between Patrick Henry, president of the Commission of Human Rights of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Christina Blacklaws, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, and Margarete Gräfin von Galen, third vice president of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe.

The panel was chaired by the dean of Barcelona’s Bar, Mª Eugènia Gay, who recalled how lobbying allows a dialogue that lets the society take part in public affairs, stimulating an active and reciprocal listening between the authorities and the citizenship.

The last panel of the session argued about the capacity of courts to create law, by examining the rules and its adaptation to a changing and globalized social system.

Christina Eckes Ph.D., European Law professor and the University of Amsterdam and director of the Amsterdam Center of European Law and Governance (ACELG), focused on the role European courts play as law interpreters and examiners.

The panel was very rich for both speakers and attendees, who took part in the discussion by asking questions and sharing their thoughts. The main speakers were Farid Hamel, dean of the Lyon Bar, José María Fernández, magistrate in Section 15 of the Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona, Maria Eugència Alegret, judge and president of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia between 2004 and 2010, and Michael Griem, dean of the Frankfurt am Main Bar Association. The debate was chaired by Manuel Camas, former dean of the Málaga Bar Association.

Eugenio Gay Montalvo, founder and first president of the FBE, was responsible for closing the second day of the Congress with a speech that focused on the FBE’s founding objective and the Foundation’s remarkable importance in changing times.

 

Saturday, June 1st

The General Assembly took place on the last day of the Congress in which FBE members adopted three resolutions. The first one dealt with the rule of law and freedom of speech in Turkey; the second one was about the attacks against lawyers in Colombia, while the third one focused on the adhesion to the Charter on Citizens’ Rights in the digital era, a project promoted by Barcelona’s Bar Association.

In the assembly, the members of the FBE elected Silvia Giménez-Salinas, dean of the Barcelona Bar between 2005 and 2009 and former first vice president of the FBE, as the new president of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe for the 2019-2020 period.

During the session, Dominique Attias (France), vice dean of the Paris Bar between 2015 and 2017, was appointed first vice president, Bas Martens (Netherlands) was appointed second vice president, and Patrick Dillen (Belgium), vice dean of l’Ordre néerlandophone des Avocats du Barreau de Bruxelles (NOAB) (the Dutch-speaking Order of the Brussels Bar), was appointed secretary-general.

Both the outgoing president, Michele Lucherini, and the newly appointed president of the FBE, Silvia Giménez-Salinas, thanked the committees and members of the Federation for their effort and compromise, especially the organization of the 53rd FBE General Congress, which consolidated Barcelona as the European law capital until 2020, when Lisbon will take over and host the 54th FBE General Congress.

COLOMBIAN CARAVANA REPORT 2018

On March 25, 2019, a momentous event took place in the building of the Law Society in London. On this day, the Final Report of the Colombian Caravan 2018 mission was submitted.

This event has been honored by many personages. Our Federation (FBE) was represented by the President of the Federation Mr Michele Lucherini who gave a welcome speech.

The discussion panel about Colombian facts was led by the excellent Prof. Sara Chandler. The FBE Human Rights Commission was represented by its President Mr Artur Wierzbicki and its members Mr Donovan Lindsay and Mr Nardy Desloover.

The FBE participated in the 6th delegation of jurists to Colombia with members from Italy and the UK.

The Federation supports the peace process and recognises that this is a hugely important period when the peace process is threatened by those who do not respect the rule of law, nor the defence of human rights. After more than 50 years of conflict we welcomed the Peace Agreement and over the last two years the process that began to develop.

The FBE has supported human rights lawyers in Colombia since 2006 when the Congress of the FBE was addressed by human rights lawyer Reinaldo Villalba Vargas.

The FBE Human Rights Commission has a long term programme of support for human rights defenders who are at risk, and face daily threats, attacks and assassination.

The International Caravana travelled to Colombia in September 2018. 20 experts from six countries focused their visit on the impact that the peace process has had on the work of human rights lawyers and the dynamics of the conflict. The Caravana travelled to six regions, meeting with lawyers, judges, human rights defenders, victims, and state representatives, among others.

Delegates observed that violence against human rights defenders and social movements has escalated and that there has been a worrying paradigm shift in relation to the characteristics of threats and how threats are acted upon, and a proliferation and re-emergence of illegal armed groups.

Human rights lawyers in Colombia are at heightened risk because of their work seeking accountability and defending communities’ fundamental rights. Delegates heard reports of repeated aggressions against them: threats to their lives and their families; break-ins and thefts of sensitive information; disciplinary complaints filed to hinder lawyers’ work; and stigmatisation by public officials unduly linking lawyers to their clients or making accusations of their belonging to illegal armed groups.

Human rights defenders and lawyers also face obstacles when seeking timely and appropriate protection from the state. The state’s approach to protection tends to be reactive rather than preventive and lacks understanding of the context in which lawyers work and how to take specific circumstances of geography, culture, and gender into account when allocating protection measures.

It would be far removed from reality to conclude that Colombia is in a period of post-conflict, let alone at peace.

The International Caravana first travelled to Colombia on the invitation of Colombian human rights lawyers in 2008. Our sixth delegation heralded the Caravana’s tenth anniversary of international professional solidarity in defence of human rights, justice, and rule of law.

A steady constant these past ten years is that lawyers, human rights defenders, and social leaders continue to be threatened and killed for seeking justice and defending marginalised communities. Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in November 2016, hundreds of human rights defenders have been assassinated and the UN has called for decisive action to stem the tide of violence enveloping many regions.

Colombian’s official state Ombudsman has reported that a human rights defender is killed every three days. The country is highly polarised. In 2018, two years after the historic signing of the Peace Agreement between the state and the FARC, the Caravana joined a call for justice, truth, reconciliation and non-repetition. As the international community and colleagues in the legal profession around the world, we ask that the Peace Agreement be more than just paper and that

it lead to transformation and transition for Colombia and security and peace for its lawyers, human rights defenders and citizens; a peace which all Colombians deserve.

 

PARTICIPANTS:

Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, México: Massimiliano Buriassi, Francesco Christian Di Nardo, Valeria Verdolini,  Wout Albers, Ron Rosenhart, Carles McCragh Pujà, Gemma Sunyer, Fabian Dreher, Rebecca Chalk, Sara Chandler QC (Hon), Jeffrey Forrest, Charlotte Gill, James Lupton, Christabel McCooey, Natasha Morgan, Lee Pearman, Rachel Rushby, Louise Williams, Sue Willman

 

 Artur Wierzbicki

President of the FBE Human Rights Commission

“Law and justice in the European common home” – Roma, 15th March 2019

FBE’s President, Lucherini, took part in the Congress organized by UIF at the Valdese University of Rome on the theme “Law and justice in the European common home”, with a report on the function and competences of European lawyers and the support of the FBE for protection of fundamental rights. Link to listen and see the speech: https://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/568554/legge-e-giustizia-nella-casa-comune-europea?fbclid=IwAR3huERiU0P-rk7tOLm1GJ2e1LQbIkQqkEndUToDfayMKYc1vxid7ggn9Pk&i=3963368 

47 European Presidents Conference – Wien, 28.02-02.03 2019

FBE took part at the 47 European Presidents Conference 2019 in WIEN about the defense of the state and the rule of law. 28th February – 2nd March 2019.

The European Conference of Presidents has become a forum for dialogue in which the elected representatives of European lawyers’ organizations exchange experiences. The “informal principle” of the European Conference of Presidents with a friendly supporting program has proved its worth for more than a quarter of a century in uninterrupted continuity.

In addition to the traditional supporting program – with events in the Palais Pallavicini we have to mention the workshop in the Palais Ferstel which is the focus of the Viennese Advokatengespräche.

FBE presented a special Magazine containing a report of the 2018 activities (see attached).

FBE International Law Firm of the Future Competition 2019

The Wroclaw Bar Association and The Haague Bar Association are organizing the first FBE International “Law Firm of the Future” Competition from 15th January to 12 April 2019.

The Competition consists of two stages. During the first stage, the Participants shall submit their presentations concerning changes, innovations and/or proposals related to the development of new technologies in the legal services industry.

Any Participant can take part in the first stage of the Competition. Participation entails sending a PowerPoint presentation by 4 March 2019 together with an application form attached as appendix no. 1 to the following e-mail address: dyrektor@oirp.wroclaw.pl

By 20 March 2019, the Jury shall select a group of a maximum of 10 finalists (“Finalists”) who will take part in the second stage of the Competition. By 12 March 2019, the Jury shall inform the Participants, by means of electronic communication, of the outcome of the first stage by sending the information to the e-mail address provided by the Participants.

The second stage of the Competition will take place on 12 April 2019 (Friday) at the head office of the Wrocław Bar Association (Poland). During the second stage, the Finalists will present the subject to the Jury using the submitted presentation. The presentation time shall not exceed 15 minutes. The Jury may ask the Finalists questions regarding the presentation.

The purpose of the Competition is to promote and encourage innovative thinking of young students and lawyers at the start of their career in a time where traditional law practise is changing rapidly.

Furthermore, the purpose of the Competition is to promote the activities of FBE aiming at implementing new IT solutions among lawyers and to encourage the lawyers to use them in their daily practice.

Turkish cases before the ECtHR, “Day of the Endangered Lawyer” – BERLIN – POZNAŃ, 24th January 2019

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer on January 24, 2019 is a day on which we call for the attention for lawyers all over the world who are facing harassment, threats, persecution or even torture and therefore the work of those Colleagues is made increasingly difficult.

We could help our Colleagues in Turkey that day by demonstrating our support in front of Turkish Embassies all over Europe as well as taking part in many panels/discussions. One of panel was organized by Amnesty International and DAV in Berlin/Germany                                                       in Berlin Bar on January 24, 2019 under the tittle :”Turkish cases before the ECtHR”. 

On behalf of FBE Human Rights Commission and OIRP Poznan Human Rights Commission I celebrated that day with my German Colleagues-Lawyers, there. At 2.00 p.m. there was also a opportunity to take part in the peace demonstration in front of Turkish Embassy in Berlin.

 We should realize that since the state of emergency in Turkey was declared in 2016, basing on public datas, 1,500 Turkish lawyers have been prosecuted and around 600 arrested. Around 3,000 judges and prosecutors are said to have lost their posts. In addition to journalists and opposition politicians, the lawyers are in the sights.

Mr Stefan von Raumer (Human Rights Committee DAV Berlin) – a lawyer specialized in international human rights law, co-editor of an ECHR commentary led the mentioning panel,  I was part.

The panelist Mr Ümit Kılınç (human rights lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg) said at the meeting  that one could roughly make out three groups among the threatened lawyers. The danger attaches to the clients who are represented. Affected are clients from politically left circles (1), Kurdish clients (2) and followers of the Gülen movement (3).

He gave the lever for prosecution of lawyers in Turkey as Article 301 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes the public downsizing of the Turkish nation, state or government, as well as judicial bodies. He also stressed that there is little trust among the lawyers in Turkey in the justice system. The last hope is still the Turkish Constitutional Court, but also threatens to be ignored in important decisions by the courts of the courts simply (there was an open showdown in early 2018 because a criminal court had refused to release two journalists).

In his opinion as in many other, the ECtHR was a great hope for number of people, including lawyers in Turkey – but their confidence is dwindling. The ECtHR sees tens of thousands  of cases coming from Turkey and has so far regularly rejected complaints, and instead referred the complainants to the exhaustion of national remedies.

Mr Stefan von Raumer explained he believes that the rigorous handling of the Court eligibility requirement has led to a permanent overburdening of the Human Rights Court since 2011.  He also stressed that the ECtHR would only be prepared to break its stringent admissibility requirements if a complaint authority in a state exists only theoretically but not practically (for example, the ECtHR had accepted this for cases from Serbia, even though there was a complaint authority, but it did not apply to certain legal acts).

In the opinion of many, Turkey must restore the rule of law, release still-detained magistrates and journalists, and lawyers, restore the rights of teachers and magistrates ( judges and prosecutors) who have resigned from July 2016, restore freedom of press and information, end the state of emergency and fully implement the European Convention on Human Rights.

LET’S  STAY  TOGETHER !

 

Artur Wierzbicki

President of Human Rights Commission, FBE

President of Human Rights Commission, OIRP Poznan