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The advocates’ demands

This autumn, the experts’ community will discuss the amendments to the law on advocacy within the framework of the “Justice” program that was approved by the Government of Russia in April of 2013. One of the program’s purposes is introduction of the advocate’s monopoly in the Russian sphere of legal services. Yury Pilipenko, Managing Partner of the Law Firm "YUST", First Vice President of the Federal Chamber of Advocates, shared his expert’s views on the current situation with Inna Lukianova of the “Direct Investments” magazine.

– The decision acknowledging the necessity of the advocate’s monopoly gave rise to many arguments. Most citizens are concerned that they will now have to purchase all legal services from advocates, and that nobody but advocates will be able to represent their interests in courts.

– This belief is wrong. The main idea of the reform is introduction of the advocate’s monopoly on the most complicated and laborious categories of cases that require guarantees of the professional level of the attorney.

Such may include, for example, the cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Higher Court of Arbitration (including tax disputes) and of the Supreme Court; insolvency and bankruptcy cases; the most complicated corporate disputes; disputes involving depositary activities; cases on protection of business reputation in the sphere of entrepreneurial and economic activity; disputes involving the amount of the claim exceeding a certain amount (the lower and the higher limits of the amount are a product of the legislative work, which requires studies of the marker as well as of certain cases).

We also purport the advocate’s monopoly for civil matters, but complexity of such should be the criterion. For example, inheritance cases; copyright cases; cases to be considered by the collective composition of the court. The reform will not limit the citizens’ right to protect their own interests in court – nor the legal entities’. Their in-house counsel will be able to act as attorneys in all cases of general jurisdiction and of arbitration, except for criminal cases and the cases falling within any of the above-mentioned categories. Therefore, the advocate’s monopoly will not be absolute and will not create the situation, when the citizens are forced to come to advocates for all cases without exception.

– Will the reform also affect the court representation on criminal cases or everything will remain as it is?

– The advocate’s monopoly has long since been in effect in the criminal proceedings. Nobody but advocates may represent the parties’ interests during a trial in this sphere. The interests of those accused who cannot afford an advocate will remain protected: the appointed advocates stay (defense by appointment – when the State appoints the advocate and pays for his services – Editor).

Another matter is that one day in court until recently was worth 290 roubles, while 70% of all advocates in the country were winning their daybread – to be frank, literally - by working on criminal proceedings. We have achieved the single small raise of the court day rate: now the advocate’s fee will be of 550 roubles. Still, it is the state that bears the burden, and not the client. Compare this with 100 euros paid for 1 hour in court in Europe.

– Many people are also concerned that the implementation of the advocate’s monopoly will provoke the rise of the prices for the advocates’ services.

– There is one reason why there will be no rise. <…>

Continued in the printed version of the “Direct Investments” magazine No. 9, 2013.

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