Webinar “Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms” – 16th June 2020, 4.30 PM (CEST)

The webinar on Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms is scheduled to be held online on 16th June, 4.30 PM (CEST).

Robot Lawyers & Virtual Law Firms: What will the future hold for us?

The webinar speakers have been organized by Committees for foreign affairs at the Attorney’s Regional Bar Association in Wrocław and Opole (Poland). The speakers will try to answer questions regarding legal technology and artificial intelligence used in a lawyer’s daily work. The webinar will be held  under the honorary patronage of the European Bars Federation (FBE).

We are pleased to announce that the speakers at this event will be María Jesús González-Espejo García (Managing partner at the Instituto de Innovación Legal), Guy Stern (CEO and founder of Legal Connection), Kamil Kwiecień (founder of Taskeo.co), Bartosz Frydel (co-founder of SlothEye) and Dr Konrad Szocik (Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Information and Technology Management, Rzeszow).

The webinar will be moderated by Izabela Konopacka (President of the FBE New Technology Committee), Joanna Wisła-Płonka (President of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Bar Council of Attorneys-at-Law) and Maria Dymitruk (Research Centre on Legal and Economic Issues of Electronic Communication). 

The webinar will take place on Zoom and it is free of charge.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to szkolenia@oirp.opole.pl or join us at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89899925874.

Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals – HELP online courses

The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals in the European Union member states (HELP in the EU) supports legal professionals to enhance their capacities to effectively and coherently apply European fundamental rights standards at the national level and through cross-border training, mainly referring to the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights (the Charter), the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and relevant EU and Council of Europe Law.

The main objective of the Council of Europe Programme on Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) is to enhance the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in all 47 Council of Europe member states and beyond, to apply the European human rights standards in their daily work. This is done through the HELP online courses that cover a range of human rights topics.

Legal professionals, who are at the forefront of the protection of human rights, must know the European human rights standards to apply them effectively. Therefore, they deserve high-quality training, which the Council of Europe HELP Programme provides. Furthermore, HELP online courses can be tailored to the different needs of countries, institutions and professionals. Since 2015, other professionals are increasingly interested in accessing HELP courses such as court staff, prison or probation officers or health practitioners.

In one sentence: HELP develops and implements online courses on human rights for legal and other (justice) professionals.

HELP’s three components are:

  • The HELP Network is the only European Network of national training institutions for judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the 47 CoE member States (and beyond).
  • The HELP Human rights online courses for self-study in the HELP e-learning platform. HELP courses (initially developed in English) have the potential to be translated into national languages, adapted to the national legal orders, and tested with selected categories of legal professionals.
  • A human rights training methodology to develop HELP courses that can be later taken in two distinct formats: self-study (free access in the HELP platform) or tutored in groups organised in co-operation with national training institutions or universities.

The Council of Europe HELP e-learning platform hosts our online courses. The courses are free and of the highest quality as they have been developed with the top experts of the Council of Europe, including lawyers from the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. Partners like EJTN, CCBE or FRA also contribute with their expertise.

The access to the HELP e-learning platform is free and open to anyone who creates an account on it. In January 2020 the HELP online platform had more than 43 000 active users.

The HELP online courses are interactive, visual and practical. They cover various human rights related topics, reflecting the different areas of work of the Council of Europe.

Video conference for all FBE members “FBE Keeps in touch” 10th June 2020

Dear President, Dear Colleague,

I hope you and your family are safe and keeping healthy during these difficult times.

In light of the current global situation with Covid-19, we are sad to announce that we have postponed our General Congress in Paris, which was initially going to be held on the 2-4 July, to 1-3 October.

The Congress will focus on the following topic: Access to Law and Justice: European Bar Associations and Lawyers on the Front Line”.

I am delighted to inform you that we have included two new sessions during this Congress, we would like to congratulate the Barreau de Paris for this initiative, we are certain  that they will be stimulating and rewarding for all of us:

The Twinning Forum

The aim of this forum will be  to enable Bar Associations to launch new cooperation projects or to revive pre-existing cooperation projects. Secondly, to propose twinning arrangements to Bars which have not yet taken part in cooperation projects. 

Special Session “Pro Bono: the marketplace of ideas!”

Another session will be dedicated to Bars associations and lawyers’ Pro Bono initiatives, discovering the best and most innovative ideas of Bars on the matter and creating bonds while contributing to the development of these solidarity actions.

I have the pleasure in enclosing the new Save The Dates and we would much appreciate if you could already book these dates on your agenda.

We are delighted to inform you that the FBE will be organising a video conference,  “FBE Keeps in touch“, so that we have the opportunity to talk informally with our Bar members about issues of interest as well as future projects.

This session on-line will take place next 10 June at 5.pm. In case you are interested in participating  we would be very grateful if you could send us the email address to whom we have to send the invitation for the Zoom conference (fbe@icab.cat).

We look forward to overcoming this complex situation and meeting you soon!

Best wishes.

Silvia Giménez-Salinas

President of the European Bars Federation

Draft amendments to Rules 36 and 44 D of the Rules of the European Court of Human Rights

At its administrative plenary session on 9 September 2019 the European Court of Human Rights provisionally adopted amendments to the Rules Court, following proposals made to it by the Court’s Standing Committee.

Draft amendments to Rules 36 and 44 D of the Rules of Court (approved by the Court on 9 September 2019)

Rule 36 – Representation of applicants

1. Persons, non-governmental organisations or groups of individuals may initially present applications under Article 34 of the Convention themselves or through a representative.

2. Following notification of the application to the respondent Contracting Party under Rule 54 § 2 (b), the applicant should be represented in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Rule, unless the President of the Chamber decides otherwise.

3. The applicant must be so represented at any hearing decided on by the Chamber, unless the President of the Chamber exceptionally grants leave to the applicant to present his or her own case, subject, if necessary, to being assisted by an advocate or other approved representative.

4. (a) The representative acting on behalf of the applicant pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Rule shall be an advocate authorised to practise in any of the Contracting Parties and resident in the territory of one of them, or any other person approved by the President of the Chamber.

(b) In exceptional circumstances and at any stage of the proceedings in the examination of an application, the President of the Chamber may, where he or she considers that the circumstances or the conduct of the advocate or other person appointed under the preceding sub-paragraph so warrant, direct that the latter may no longer represent or assist the applicant in those proceedings and that the applicant should seek alternative representation.

5. (a) The advocate or other approved representative, or the applicant in person who seeks leave to present his or her own case, must even if leave is granted under the following sub-paragraph have an adequate understanding of one of the Court’s official languages.

(b) If he or she does not have sufficient proficiency to express himself or herself in one of the Court’s official languages, leave to use one of the official languages of the Contracting Parties may be given by the President of the Chamber under Rule 34 § 3.

 Rule 44D – Inappropriate submissions by, or conduct of, the representative of a party

1. If the representative of a party in the proceedings makes abusive, frivolous, vexatious, misleading or prolix submissions, the President of the Chamber may […] refuse to accept all or part of the submissions or make any other order which he or she considers it appropriate to make, without prejudice to Article 35 § 3 of the Convention.

2. (a) The President of the Court may, in exceptional circumstances, where he or she considers that the conduct of the advocate, or of the person appointed under Rule 36 § 4 (a) so warrant, direct that the said advocate or other person may no longer represent or assist a party before the Court. Such exclusion order may be for a definite or indefinite period.

(b) Such a decision shall be reasoned and shall be taken upon a reasoned proposal by a Chamber, after the person concerned, the Government concerned, and if necessary, the Bar Association, are given the possibility of suggesting comments.

(c) Upon the reasoned request of the person concerned, the President of the Court may, after consulting the Chamber, the Government and any Bar Association concerned, restore the rights of representation.

As an association of Bar associations and Law Societies, the European Bars Federation has been invited to submit its comments (see below in French only) on these amendments. 

The Presidency of the European Bars Federation would like to thank warmly Sara Chandler on behalf of the Human rights commission, Florenzo Storelli on behalf of the Ethics commission and Julien Martin, Avocat at the Strasbourg Bar association, member of its Board and of the Human rights commission of the Strasbourg Bar Association, for their precious contributions.


The report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunji Mijatović, shows that the Hungarian government “violates human rights and employs anti-immigration rhetoric, which feeds xenophobic attitudes, fear and hatred.” The report’s conclusions state that “violations of human rights in Hungary have a negative effect on the entire system of protection (human rights) and the rule of law.” The report was based on meetings with members of the Hungarian government and representatives of civic organizations that took place during Mijatović’s five-day visit to Hungary in February 2020.

The report contains a crushing critic of the Hungarian asylum system, which is organized so as to “systematically reject all asylum applications”. The report also reads about the “abuse of violence” by the police against foreigners. Mijatović calls on Hungary to suspend its regulations introduced in connection with the migration crisis, which are currently not justified, because in 2018 only 671 asylum applications were filed in Hungary (in 2015 a wire-topped fence appeared on the southern border of the country with Serbia wire).

Commissioner Mijatović also alarms that the law in Hungary “stigmatizes and criminalizes” the activities of NGOs. In response to the Mijatović report, the Hungarian government has assured that the country “implements all international obligations regarding the protection of the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.”In addition, Hungarian journalists have not pointed out for some time that some politically sensitive issues are absent from news sites of state TV channels and press agencies. Publishers working in the state media got a list of sensitive topics and any attempt to address them requires sending a sketch of the material to superiors.The heads of state-owned Hungarian media also banned quoting reports from leading human rights organizations.

Hungary is currently subject to the EU’s Seventh Article procedure, which is launched when the fundamental values ​​of the EU are seen as being threatened by the actions of one of the member countries. The European Parliament launched this procedure in 2018, citing media freedom as one of the main concerns. The list of policy topics requiring special pre-publication approval includes “migration, terror in Europe, Brussels, church issues” and parliamentary, presidential and local government elections in the EU (this category includes Europe and some neighboring countries).In practice, what appears in the media is significantly influenced by another body – the Media Services Support and Management Fund (MTVA). This structure, for lack of transparency, is criticized by international organizations analyzing media order in various countries.

On 30th March 2020, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a so-called “coronavirus law”, by claiming that efficiently combating the coronavirus pandemic would require extraordinary measures and the ability to make rapid decisions, should that become necessary. The new law significantly expanded the government’s power during the so-called state of danger regime that was introduced on 11 March in response to the coronavirus situation. State of danger is a special form of extraordinary legal regime which can be only be introduced and withdrawn by the government. While a state of danger is in force, the government can rule by decree and does not need parliamentary approval. It is important to note, however, that at present it cannot yet be known with absolute certainty, whether and how the Hungarian government will use the extra powers granted by the coronavirus law.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned that emergency measures taken by EU countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic must be “limited”. Her warning comes after Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban took on sweeping powers, allowing the Hungarian government to rule by decree.


Informations gathered by

Artur Wierzbicki


FBE Human Rights Commission

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Mother Earth is crying without tears, the world reacts divided, Human Rights versus economy

“After we have heard all kinds of stories about the origin of the COVID-19 virus, we can only be sure about its outcome and horrifying effects on our world as a whole.

More than ever people are united by hopes of defeating this common enemy in order to stop it from taking more lives of our loved ones and making our fellow human beings sick.

Nonetheless we have to admit that even during times of high needs, people tend to forget the importance of human rights in our combat against this virus. As a matter of fact, we have seen numerous countries that have chosen to attach importance to their economy rather than to public health. This situation has led to a significant spread of the virus at which later on, countries decided to impose serious measures in order to contain the virus.

The question that one should ask is whether economic interests should be given equal importance compared to our public health and human rights.

The answer seems to be divided among different groups of people and experts. In Belgium it is clear that the government tried to find a balance in between but failed to do so in a proper way. The country is dealing with a huge number of infected and deceased people.
An unbelievably large number of deaths are now also being diagnosed in nursing homes for elderly people.

But not only Belgium is facing a hard time in its battle against the virus. All over the world citizens are witnessing the struggle of their governments dealing with the current state of emergency.

Governments refused to act proactively when it came to our knowledge that an immense virus was threatening our human race. This neglecting attitude has led to the fact that the virus took a global character.

In the United States, Donald Trump has clearly ruled out the public health and scientific experts when it comes to developing a strategy to cope with this virus. But he, most certainly, is not the only one who chose to rely on the advice of the business community and to prioritize the nation’s economy above anything else.

Governments have proven themselves guilty when it comes to respecting human rights. Those human rights also imply that politicians need to make decisions that not only care about the economic health, but also keeps in mind the importance of the public health and life itself. This means we are not ought to think that people that are middle-aged or have underlying medical problems are not to worry about.

One cannot emphasize enough the importance of expert groups that can independently inform decisionmakers about the strategies that can be followed. A panel of experts should not only exist out of an economic expert but should also include a medical expert, a social expert and most of all an expert of human rights to make sure that every decision taken, can comply with our fundamental rights.

We can combat the virus but in order to do so, we need to put aside relations of power and stop political games. Everyone knows that politicians always take into account their own interests.

It urges us to be critical for the decisions that are made by our authorities, which is a positive reflex. More than ever we need to stand together instead of being divided. We are all part of the same planet and every life should be considered equal.

Mother earth is quietly crying without tears but still our world reacts divided.

When medical necessity is at its highest, one should not worship money nor power. However, we have seen our governments proven themselves guilty, once again.”



Belgian Lawyer

FBE Human Rights Commission Member


“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


Letter from FBE to the Turkish Minister of Justice

Dear Minister,

I am sending you this correspondence in my capacity as President of the European Bars Federation (FBE), which represents more than 800,000 European lawyers from the Council of Europe.

The European Bars Federation is extremely concerned about the fate of Turkish lawyers currently detained during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scientific community agrees that detention centers are particularly exposed to the dramatic consequences of the pandemic. This virus spreads very quickly in a confined environment.

Furthermore, the conditions of detention weaken the health of those exposed to it, thus enabling the rapid circulation of infectious diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in a report on March 15, 2020, that people deprived of their liberty are infinitely more likely to be infected than those who are free.

The right to life, which cannot be derogated from, is enshrined in article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides: “The right to life is inherent in the human person. This right must be protected by law. No one can be arbitrarily deprived of life. This right applies in all circumstances, including in situations of emergency or armed conflict.

Your country has courageously decided to order the release of very large numbers of detainees, taking into account the pandemic and the risk particularly incurred in prison. Lawyers cannot be excluded from this decision.

Indeed, article 26 of the same Covenant provides that: “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this regard, the law must prohibit all discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against any discrimination, in particular of race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion and any other opinion of national or social origin, of fortune, of birth or of any other situation.

Article 10 of the Turkish Constitution provides for a completely comparable provision. I would therefore ask you to do everything in your power to ensure that the Turkish lawyers currently detained can benefit from the measures which will be adopted with a view to releasing many prisoners, their quality as lawyers cannot justify continued detention in this pandemic period. 

Thank you for your attention to this correspondence, and please accept, Minister, the assurance of my respectful consideration.



President of the Europen Bars Federation (FBE)


Dear Bar Members,

We are enclosing a questionnaire concerning the current situation of the Coronavirus Covid-19 in the countries of the members of the FBE. We would like to point out that any Bar Member can complete the questions of his/her country, in order that our members are informed about the situation everywhere.

You are kindly invited to send your contributions to commissions@fbe-strasbourg.eu

  1. What are the corona measures for all citizens in your country?
  2. What is the legal situation and in the courts?
  3. How is the situation of the lawyers and what are the Bars doing?
  4. Which measures are the most appreciated and what are the challenges
  5. Additional comments

We are uploading all the information in our website so that we can facilitate the work of Lawyers.

The Covid Forum is only for information purposes. For more accurate and detailed information the local legislation should be consulted.












New Technologies Commission

Access to Justice Commission

Eastern Bars Commission

Legal Education Commission