Rule of Law Institute
  Law — in Action

document of conference of lawyers and legal advisors, members of the Rule of Law Institute

Laws have nothing to do with people, and real lawpractice has nothing to do with laws. This fact is known by each practicing lawyer and any person facing our legal system. All rule of law principles exist in textbooks, films and slogans. Deprived of an opportunity to influence in full the situation with respect of human rights and freedoms in our country, practicing lawyers offer the measures to resist the system of dominating corporate, absolutely corrupted law. We understand that working directly in courts, in process of investigation and other bodies and rendering assistance to our clients, we can improve the developed system, instead of becoming cogs in a penal machine, so called “runners”, whose role is simple transfer of bribes.

We assume carrying out following particular actions as our basic measures:

- replacement of corporate formal territory-based bars by informal inter-regional associations of lawyers and legal advisors. A lawyer, having potential clients only from several particular courts and investigatory departments, becomes willing or not dependent on judges and investigators. And we see a cynical rule in action: “Clients come and leave, but judges and investigators stay”. Such a situation makes real defense of client’s interests simply impossible. On the other hand, the majority of lawyers are not ready to leave officially their lawyers associations as they are dependent on mutual interests with colleagues, place of work, common accountancy, etc. Informal (not registered as a lawyer association) organization of lawyers and legal advisors from various regions ready to real defense of their clients in practice will allow to avoid full slavish dependence on potential sources of income. Moreover, such organization will not demand from lawyers and legal advisors any organizational efforts and secession from the associations they work in.

- creation of united network of lawyers and legal advisors for pleading cases in cooperation or passing them to each other considering specialization and interests of each participant. A situation when despite the wish it is impossible to render qualified legal aid to a client as a lawyer’s specialization does not allow to use every opportunity to protect his/her interests turns to be a major problem. The same problem appears with cases having to be continued in other regions or requiring legal support from the capital. Many lawyers and legal advisors already keep regular informal contacts and coordinate their efforts to carry out joint actions; however there is still no united network of highly skilled defenders working in different structures, in different regions, benefiting efficiently from mutual support. Existing associations and bars cannot play this role as lawyers become their members voluntarily, and not basing on common work principles.

- rendering support in case of infringement of lawyers’ rights and their oppression, and training of new qualified lawyers. Lawyers and legal advisors having private practice are exposed to pressure more frequently. Usually they have to face on their own arbitrariness of the officials, infringement of the rights by law-enforcement bodies or direct pressure to make lawyers resign the claims. Official lawyer associations and legal aid agencies are interested in steady activity and not always eager to do their best to protect the colleague. Informal inter-regional associations will render, to the best of their abilities, efficient legal aid and information support in case of illegal oppression of any of their members. Such a structure is interested in its members, but not just in stability and sound position among lawyers associations.

Similar problems concern also training new qualified lawyers. Lawyers graduating from even the best universities possess solely theoretical store of knowledge not suitable for implementing it in real legal practice. Neither seminar, nor conference, nor training programme can bring up a good practicing lawyer. Informal association of practicing lawyers and legal advisors gives a young specialist opportunity to deal with real cases and to put knowledge into practice under control of experienced colleagues.

Taking these initial simple measures will allow creating minimal necessary work conditions for those who really wishes to protect citizens’ rights and in future will duly influence legal situation in our country.

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