Postponment of the deliberation of the Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize 2020

Dear President, Dear President, Dear members and friends,

 I think that it is useless to engage in long preliminaries to explain the current situation to you and which unfortunately concern all the countries of the planet and in particular the countries of Europe as we approach the jury meeting scheduled for April 30..

After having made known the difficulty to the president of the funding institutes, it appears that the unanimity (of those who replied) decided to postpone the date for deliberation.

I think that under the current circumstances we have no other choice, at a time when a third or half of humanity is confined to its home, especially since the impossibility of circulating in France will last until April 30, or next May 4.

Under these conditions, we must inform you that the deliberation of the Prize 2020 is now postponed until next September.

We would like to thank once again the bar of Amsterdam and especially the Dean of the bar as well as Agaath Reijnders and Adrie van de Streek for having so kindly offered to receive us.

We will get back to you as soon as possible, during the next summer, to tell you about the new conditions planned for the jury’s deliberation.

With our sincere regrets.

Best Regards.

Bertrand Favreau

LegalTech Survey (individual Lawyers)

LegalTech Survey (individual Lawyers)

 

Filling this survey should take up to 10 minutes.

The survey has been created by the New Technologies Commission at the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE) in order to research the state of LegalTech within the Bar Associations – members of FBE and among their lawyers. By LegalTech (legal technology) we understand all technology used by law firms to improve their processes and increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

We would like you to share your experience with us regarding LegalTech tools, opportunities and risks involved in the use of such tools as well as information on any actions undertaken by the Bar Associations in this regard, specifically – how they promote LegalTech.

The data collected in this survey will be used to draft a report concerning LegalTech for the FBE Bar members and indicate best practices of using new technologies in lawyers’ everyday practice. It will be presented during the future FBE meetings, however should you be interested in obtaining it individually – please write your contact details i.e. the e-mail address at the end of the survey.

We would like also to use this opportunity and to thank you for your answers – they will contribute towards the development of LegalTech within the FBE. Each contribution is of a great value to all of us!

 

LegalTech Survey (Bar Associations)

LegalTech Survey (Bar Associations)

 

Filling this survey should take up to 5 minutes.

The survey has been created by the New Technologies Commission at the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE) in order to research the state of LegalTech within the Bar Associations – members of FBE and among their lawyers. By LegalTech (legal technology) we understand all technology used by law firms to improve their processes and increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

We would like you to share your experience with us regarding LegalTech tools, opportunities and risks involved in the use of such tools as well as information on any actions undertaken by the Bar Associations in this regard, specifically – how they promote LegalTech.

The data collected in this survey will be used to draft a report concerning LegalTech for the FBE Bar members and indicate best practices of using new technologies in lawyers’ everyday practice. It will be presented during the future FBE meetings, however should you be interested in obtaining it individually – please write your contact details i.e. the e-mail address at the end of the survey.

We would like also to use this opportunity and to thank you for your answers – they will contribute towards the development of LegalTech within the FBE. Each contribution is of a great value to all of us!

 

Resolution on the Rule of Law

We, the representatives of the Bar Associations united in Vienna on the occasion of the 48th European Presidents’ Conference on 21 February 2020, stand together with all judges, prosecutors and lawyers, to urge the European Institutions and national authorities to make full use of the tools available in order to safeguard and restore the independence of the judiciary and the administration of justice in Europe.

We call upon the EU institutions and national authorities to maintain the strict autonomy and independence of Bars and the legal professions, including the judiciary, especially as regards disciplinary proceedings. This includes, in particular, also using expedited infringement procedures and filing applications for interim measures before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

We stress that the legal profession will not remain silent and will continue to support each other and stand united facing the current challenges of populism and infringements of the rule of law.

We express our full support to members of the Polish legal professions – targeted by repressive disciplinary measures – joined by colleagues from over 20 other European countries, raising their voices in Warsaw during the so-called “march of the 1.000 robes” in mid-January 2020.

In this context, we will gather in Brussels, Belgium, for a “march of the European Robes” between 24 and 26 June 2020, to voice in the heart of Europe, our commitment to the rule of law, the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and fundamental rights. As representatives of the Bar Associations in our countries, we invite first and foremost the wide legal family, all our fellow lawyers, judges and prosecutors to join us in order to send a strong signal.

The breaches of democracy, the rule of law and the violations of fundamental rights will not be tolerated.

PARERE sulla relazione dei gruppi di lavoro IBA – e OCSE sul ruolo degli avvocati e delle strutture commerciali internazionali

La segreteria dell’Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e l’IBA (International Bar Association) verificano il ruolo degli avvocati nella scoperta, identificazione e impedimento di comportamenti illegali nell’ambito di transazioni commerciali, specialmente le transazioni a carattere internazionale.

La presente relazione viene interamente respinta, perché il lavoro degli avvocati viene travisato già nei suoi aspetti fondamentali. Prescindendo dagli obblighi professionali previsti dalla legge e dagli Standard etici sull’esercizio della professione legale si giudica in modo errato sull’esercizio della professione forense e sul lavoro svolto dagli avvocati.

1. La competenza formale o materiale per produrre una tale relazione non spetta né all’OCSE né all’IBA. Le prescrizioni normative pertinenti, le regole standard nonché l’etica professionale degli avvocati vengono interamente ignorate.

2. Il rapporto ignora inoltre che gli avvocati operano in numerose strutture e svolgono numerose prestazioni d’opera in diversi ordinamenti giuridici.

È di per sé contraddittorio voler promuovere una cultura della Compliance e contemporaneamente criminalizzare in toto la professione forense.

L’approccio d’insieme del rapporto qui in discussione è pertanto da ritenersi errato, in quanto ignora la varietà delle attività della professione forense e i vari rischi ad esse connessi.

3. A causa di reati commessi da singoli la relazione generalizza il comportamento e/o le omissioni di tutti gli avvocati come penalmente perseguibili e considera gli avvocati in generale come complici dei propri clienti condannati.

4. In particolare in relazione alle transazioni internazionali viene attribuito agli avvocati l’abuso del segreto d’ufficio suscitando l’impressione che gli avvocati ricevano appositamente l’incarico di infrangere la legge e adottare comportamenti illeciti.

5. Con questa relazione la posizione degli avvocati in Europa viene intenzionalmente screditata. L’accusa sostiene in generale che gli avvocati dovrebbero impedire ai clienti di pagare tangenti. 

6. Si attribuisce alla federazione degli ordini forensi d’Europa l’incapacità di mantenere l’ordine e obbligare i propri membri al rispetto delle regole.

Questo è notoriamente falso.

7. La relazione è chiaramente un attacco politicamente motivato al diritto nonché all’obbligo da parte dell’avvocato al segreto d’ufficio. Ciò non contribuisce alla stabilità globale in quanto si tratta di un indubitabile attacco ai diritti dei clienti.

La Federazione degli Ordini Forensi d’Europa respinge tale relazione nella sua interezza in quanto falsa e screditante.

Opening of the legal year in Milano – 30-31 January 2020

The Ordine degli avvocate di Milano celebrated the opening of the legal year with a seminar ‘The cross border dimension of mediation’ in the majestic Palazzo Reale at the Piazza Duomo. Speakers from all over Europe and from Mexico and Taiwan gave contributions to the very interesting debates on how to manage mediation in an International case. Experiences were exchanged in an international round table. The value of the Singapore convention of 2019 and the Mediation Directive 52/2008/EC were discussed.

In the evening, the international department of the Milan Bar Association, CRINT, invited the foreign guests to the ballet in the Scala. What a fantastic event and an example of hospitality! The Milanese colleagues took care of every need. The gathering of international lawyers in this great setting in Milan led to interesting discussions about the profession and the working of bar associations. The next day, on Saturday, the legal year was opened in the High Court of Milan. Every party in the legal process, the judiciary, the prosecution, the ministry of justice and the bar association presented a report on the year 2019. The joint reporting on the workings of the legal profession could serve as an example for other jurisdictions to give a good insight and understanding in the problems they all face. In this gathering, specifically the problems to attract staff for the legal profession and the long duration of court proceedings were mentioned. The procedure was interrupted by penalists (attorneys in criminal cases) who protested against new measures concerning the statute of limitations and duration of pleadings. Never a dull moment!  The day ended with a fantastic gala of the Bar Association of Milan. The FBE was represented by its 2nd Vice President Bas Martens and former President Sara Chandler.

10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24th January 2020 – PAKISTAN

On that Day, January 24, 1977, four trade union lawyers and an employee were murdered in their office in Madrid, Spain, simply for doing their job. One of the killers, who was affiliated with extreme right-wing parties and organizations, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, another fled to Brazil and the third one ended up in jail in Bolivia for drug smuggling.

This year, on January 24, 2020, we will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer.

In past years, the Day has focused on the following countries: China, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Iran, The Philippines, Spain/Basque Country, Turkey.

On that special day, the organizers ask their international colleagues to 1) raise awareness about the number of lawyers who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured and murdered for their work as lawyers; and 2) initiate, or further develop a national discussion about ways to protect lawyers.

FBE Training Needs Assessment – Legal Education Commission

FBE Training Needs Assessment

 FBE Training Needs Assessment is a brief survey of 14 questions oriented to ascertain the needs and challenges faced by the European Bars concerning legal education. In particular, the questionnaire aims to identify:

  • Current education services offered by the FBE members
  • Lawyers´ needs in terms of legal education
  • Bar Association staff´s training needs

 The present Assessment is the outset of a project designed to create a shared legal education platform for the benefit of all FBE members and its members.

Statement on Poland – 20.01.2020

The Paris Bar Association, the German Bar Association, the Amsterdam Bar Association, the Flemish Bar Association and the Warsaw Bar Association of Advocates call upon the Polish Parliament to reject in full and refrain from further work on the bill introducing severe disciplinary measures against judges who would seek to verify the legality and constitutional legitimacy of the National Judiciary Council, the newly created Supreme Court chambers or other courts or tribunals (Amendments to the Law on the organization of common courts, the Act on the Supreme Court and some other acts dated 12 December 2019).

The proposed changes – taking in consideration especially the context in which they are introduced – are in breach of European and democratic standards and should be rejected as they disrupt the delicate balance between the judiciary and the executive, and thus undermine the rule of law in Poland and the European Union. The polish legal order faces a serious risk of legal chaos caused by a lack of mutual respect between the judicial institutions and courts before and after the legislative amendments in 2017.  

Independent courts are the ultimate guardian of justice and of the rights of citizens – especially if they face cases against the government. The judiciary itself may be the weakest among the three powers in democracies, but it is perhaps the most noble of them. Advocates – as part of the legal system – are now called to protect the judiciary and the rule of law against the unwarranted attacks from the executive and thus urge the Polish government to refrain from further demolition of the fragile system of checks and balances. Ultimately, the rights and freedoms of citizens are at stake.