The Warsaw Bar Association is a member of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), and the activities and plans of the organization are extremely important to us. CCBE has issued a brief report on its plans for the upcoming years, identifying four of the organization’s main goals.
The first is maintaining the independence of the judicial authorities in countries receiving financial assistance due to the economic crisis (known collectively as “PIIGS”). CCBE publicly opposes involuntary economic reforms imposed in states receiving aid from international financial organizations, with concern for the independence of lawyers and the negative consequences this can have on maintaining the rule of law and democratic processes in these countries. CCBE appeals to the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank to abandon such reforms.
Another goal of CCBE for the upcoming years is to seek introduction of high standards for citizens’ access to professional counsel and to repeal regulations violating these standards which were introduced following the events of 11 September 2001. CCBE appeals to all EU member states to support the November 2011 proposal of the Council of the European Union to define minimum procedural guarantees for suspects and the accused in light of the rights set forth in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
CCBE participates in the development of IT law and electronic tools for the judicial system, and encourages support for initiatives such as e-CODEX (a project seeking to consolidate the electronic resources of judicial systems across EU member states), Find-A-Lawyer (a database for locating a lawyer abroad in cases extending beyond a single jurisdiction), and the Charter of Rights of the Accused accessible online.
It is also CCBE’s goal to promote the rule of law and to support measures for protection of human rights and lawyers fighting for human rights, particularly in Eastern Europe, countries that are candidates for EU membership, and countries affected by the Arab Spring.
Other issues CCBE is handling include maintaining attorney-client privilege in cases involving financial abuses, encouraging lawyers to participate in training and other forms of continuing legal education, tracking the effects of introduction of the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications, promoting uniformity of legal regulations in Europe, and tracking legal changes in the EU and member states, including in the area of data protection and alternative dispute resolution.