On 14 June 2016 a second successful expert discussion took place in Odessa involving the National Lawyers’ Association of Ukraine (NAAU) and the German Federal Bar Association dealing with the issues “access to law” and “free legal assistance”. The first expert discussion which was held in partnership with the IRZ in April this year had covered the issues “regulation of the legal advice market in Germany and Ukraine“ and “professional liability insurance“.

The Federal Bar Association was represented at both expert discussions by lawyer and notary Dr. Ulrich Wessels, Vice-President of the Federal Bar Association and member of the IRZ’s board of trustees, who gave a lecture on the regulation of the legal advice market and the access to law.

Furthermore, the lawyer Bertin Chab and the lawyer and notary Dagmar Beck-Bever, chairwoman of the lawyer’s fees committee of the Federal Bar Association and Vice-President of the Bar Association in Celle gave presentations on lawyer’s policy issues. The Bar Association of Ukraine was represented at the expert discussions by the lawyer Lidiia Izovitova, NAAU President, and her deputy, lawyer Valentyn Gvozdiy.

Both events were financed by the “promoting the rule of law in Ukraine“ project of the Federal Foreign Office and have met with great interest from the Ukrainian side. This is particularly the case as the “part relating to the judiciary” of the draft amendment to the Constitution adopted by Verhovna Rada in early June of this year also envisages a gradual introduction of the lawyer’s monopoly. Even though this development constitutes a major step in the right direction, there are still many problems in Ukraine as regards the legal profession and its self-administration which have not been finally regulated yet.

The issue of a (professional liability) insurance for the services of lawyers is not sufficiently regulated from the German point of view and also meets with scepticism among Ukrainian lawyers. The present regulations on free assistance are moreover in some parts too complex and do not take the Ukrainian reality adequately into consideration. And for that very reason, the professional exchange of the two bar associations on this and other topics, supported by the IRZ, is particularly important to contribute to further reforms in this area and hence to support the legal profession in Ukraine.