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Artak Zeynalyan. "Issues of the profession of advocates and their solutions are in the reform agenda of the Ministry of Justice.

23/04/2019

Today, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Artak Zeynalyan participated in a solemn opening ceremony of the first exhibition of law firms entitled "ARMLEGAL EXPO 2019".

The Minister considered the contribution made by advocates as human rights community in the establishment and development of democratic values in our country indisputable. "The advocates greatly boosted the improvement of the quality of judicial acts; they developed the scientific and professional potential of employees of preliminary investigation bodies. It is impossible not to record it and I call it an academic "conflict" which mutually developed each other," — Artak Zeynalyan noted and added that he came to that conclusion due to his own human rights advocacy activities to which he devoted most part of his professional work. As a member of the Government and a person responsible for the policy in the sector, the Minister assured that the issues of the profession of advocates and their solutions have always been and still remain in the centre of attention of the Ministry of Justice and within the reform agenda, as it is difficult to imagine the comprehensive and complex progress in the judicial and legal sector without qualitative reforms in the field of the profession of advocates.

Attaching importance to the fact of stipulating the safeguards of the profession of advocates at the constitutional level, Minister Zeynalyan noted that this was a definition of a new and extremely high benchmark for appreciating the mission of an advocate, a benchmark for the regular and even higher raise of which is responsible everyone — the Government, the Chamber of Advocates, each advocate — as those personifying it.

Within this context, the Minister touched upon the draft elaborated by the Ministry of Justice, whereby the regular reform will be implemented in the Bar. The definition of the new alternative regulation of the free legal aid, expansion of the scope of persons having the right to free legal aid, regulation of the issue of admission of lawyers having foreign state diploma to the School of Advocates of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the approach of the Government within another draft, whereby it is envisaged to amend the regulation of imposition of a fine as a disciplinary sanction against advocates by courts were separated from it. According to the Minister, other regulations will be envisaged, reflecting the independence of advocates and the enhancement of the role of the Chamber of Advocates as a self-government body.

Speaking of the reforms in the sector, Arak Zeynalyan noted that he cannot but touch upon the concerns he has with regard to manifestation of dissemination of hate speech against advocates. "Today we have a situation, when some groups of the society label and even threaten advocates for providing legal aid to this or that person. Unfortunately, being a defender of human rights, the advocate himself has sometimes to rely on others, including on the protection by law-enforcement bodies. In this respect, I think that we still have much to do in order to enhance the legal consciousness of the society and to develop a more tolerant attitude," — the Minister noted, at the same time calling the advocates not to identify themselves with their clients and to show respectful attitude towards the advocate of the adversary parties, the court. According to Artak Zeynalyan, this academic attitude towards each other, as well as peaceful and quiet co-existence in the community of advocates after the court process must already become a tradition. According to Minister Zeynalyan, examples of the cases when the "losing" advocate appreciates the judicial act which recorded the loss of his or her client should be more, as this makes our judiciary stronger, this makes the protection of the right valuable.

After the opening speech, the Minister, together with Chairperson of the Chamber of Advocates Ara Zohrabyan, had a tour in the pavilions of the Public Defender's Office, School of Advocates, Notarial Chamber of the Republic of Armenia, Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Artsakh, as well as the law firms and institutions providing public services represented in the exhibition.

During the event, Artak Zeynalyan also met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Republic of Armenia Jonathan Lacôte and the members of the Paris Bar Association.

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