Regional Cooperation Network of Lawyers In EU Eastern Partnership Countries

6 ways to improve lawyer protection in emerging European democracies

Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine have many similarities in the way they regulate lawyers’ procedural safeguards. Set out in the relevant legislation, these guarantees meet European standards. However, there are many peculiarities in every country which lead to differing degrees of lawyers' protection. 



The legal practice does not always comply with the standards prescribed by the law, so there is still work for the legal community to address existing gaps. How can we effectively overcome them? The latest Council of Europe reports offer six recommendations:

  1. Introducing stricter sanctions for violating the procedural rights of lawyers. Even where public officials are aware of said rights, the punishments aren’t severe enough to discourage breaches. 
  2. Training сourt officers to respect the rights of attorneys. Currently, the assistants’, court secretaries’, and bailiffs’ awareness of the latter is not high
  3. Improving the culture of the courts, prosecutors, and other investigative agencies so that their respect to lawyers’ rights doesn’t depend on the preferences of the political party currently in power. This can be addressed through training and appropriate leaders who lead by example.
  4. Detailing procedural guarantees, which currently don’t cover all areas of behaviour. These gaps should be filled by specific provisions that govern all scenarios and penalties for their violation.
  5. Creating clearer requirements regarding the interaction of attorneys and state authorities. As an example, the latter should be obliged to respond to lawyers’ requests, when they are searching for evidence in state registers.
  6. Strengthening the role of bars in ensuring the due legal process. In particular, during authorised search and seizure operations regarding who can be notified and present during the search, which documents can be read by the authorities, etc.

The Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers of the Council of Europe is in the process of elaborating and discussing the European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer. The Convention is expected to be an important tool for providing better conditions for lawyers, improving the administration of justice and strengthening the rule of law.

The website "Regional Cooperation Network of Lawyers In EU Eastern Partnership Countries” provides comprehensive information about European standards and best practices on legal profession, regulatory and legal frameworks on legal activities in the participating countries, as well as a compilation of relevant analytical studies. Besides, the website offers a community forum and a shared point for the users and visitors of the website for the discussions and exchange of relevant documents. 


The recommendations and website are prepared as part of the regional project “Strengthening the profession of lawyer in line with European standards”, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in their Partnership for Good Governance II 2019-2022.