On May 29-30, 2014 the Commission’s regular meeting took place. It was chaired by Valentyn Zagariya, who returned to his duties since April 30, 2014, as was announced on the Commission’s official website.
As a result, out of 49 issues on agenda, 37 decisions were made, while consideration of 6 complaints was postponed until the next Commission’s meeting, and on 6 issues protocol decisions were taken.
The meeting’s agenda included a range of important issues regarding advocates’ disciplinary liability, due to the breach of duty as a member of attorney’s self-governance bodies.
Specifically, according to the decision of the disciplinary chamber of the Kharkiv Regional Qualification and Disciplinary Bar Commission dated on December 24, 2013, was held liable the head of the disciplinary chamber of a regional Qualification and Disciplinary Bar Commission. A disciplinary sanction was implemented – two months of suspension of the right to practice law for one-time violation of the article 12 of the Code of Advocate’s Ethics. By this decision, the Kharkiv Regional Commission specified that the head of the disciplinary chamber of other regional Commission (hereinafter – PERSON_1) conducted individual inspection of the facts provided in complaint regarding attorney’s disciplinary offence (hereinafter – PERSON_2) and did not identified PERSON_2 status (during the complaint consideration PERSON_2 was a member of the regional Revision Bar Commission), that resulted in non-compliance with item 4.4 of the regional Commission’s Rules of procedure and thereafter breaking article 12 of the Code of advocate’s ethics. In his explanations PERSON_1 provided chronology of examining complaint materials regarding PERSON_2, having mentioned that there were no grounds for commencing a disciplinary case. Also he was aware of PERSON_2’s affiliation with attorney’s self-governance bodies. Also, he did not participate in the voting on the decision.
During discussions, the Commission’s members concluded that the Kharkiv Regional Commission’s decision dated on December 24, 2013 should be canceled and disciplinary case closed, as PERSON_1 has commenced the violations acting as an official of attorney’s self-governance bodies which cannot be the basis for holding him liable as attorney for breaking the Code of advocate’s ethics.
Besides, during the Commission’s meeting two complaints from colleagues Commission were considered. Mr. Udovychenko and Ms. Levchuk appealed regional Commission’s decisions regarding their non-participation in the Commission’s several meetings.
By decision of Zakarpattya regional Commission attorney Mr. Udovychenko was held liable to disciplinary responsibility. The Commission applied to him disciplinary sanction in the form of six months of suspension of the right to practice law. The reason for holding him liable to disciplinary responsibility was the fact of Mr. Udovychenko’s non-participation in the Commission’s meetings that took place in November and December 2012. After listening to speaker in this case as well as Mr. Udovychenko, the Commission made a new decision which closed procedure in disciplinary case regarding attorney Mr. Udovychenko, as materials of the disciplinary case did not include trustworthy facts that confirmed notification of attorney regarding the meeting. Immediately after the decision was announced, Mr. Udovychenko joined the Commission’s meeting as a member and representative of the Rivne region.
The Commission also canceled decision of the disciplinary chamber of the Kyiv Qualification and Disciplinary Bar Commission regarding commencement of disciplinary case and closed procedure regarding attorney Ms. Levchuk, representative of Zhytomyr region in the Commission.
Kyiv Qualification and Disciplinary Bar Commission specified that Commission’s member Ms. Levchuk had not participated in the meetings that took place in November, December 2012 as well as in January and March 2013. Based on this fact, the regional Commission concluded that Ms. Levchuk had breached the article 63 of the Code of advocate’s ethics (2012) as well as item 3.10.2 of Commission’s Rules of procedure. The Commission specified that in the complaint on Ms. Levchuk’s actions, which was the matter of consideration during the meeting of the disciplinary chamber of regional Commission, there is information regarding her absence at the meetings only in November and December 2012. Instead, during the facts examination regarding attorney’s disciplinary offence, the regional Commission investigated circumstances regarding Ms. Levchuk’s absence in December and March 2013 as well. Thus the Commission exceeded its authority, as it was supposed to consider complaint on attorney’s actions within the arguments. Moreover, the Commission concluded that materials of this disciplinary case did not contain trustworthy facts of informing Ms. Levchuk about the Commission’s meetings that took place in November and December 2012.
At the end of the meeting Valentyn Zagariya noted: “With all tumultuous events in Ukraine in general and attorney’s community in particular, the Commission should initiate restoration of stability in attorney’s activity and do its best to ensure that attorneys feel protected”.
Next public meeting of the Commission will be held in late June 2014. Exact date of the event will be published on the Commission’s official website.