13 December 2018

Olena Drozdova specifies three issues arising from the ECHR decision imposing penalties on a Ukrainian advocate

Everyone understands that violations committed by the advocate and found by the ECHR are inadmissible for any lawyer in any country. However, according to the ECHR itself, there are some formal procedural aspects that should be complied with.

This is how Drozdova & Partners Law Firm Director Olena Drozdova commented the ECHR’s press-release about denial of the Ukrainian advocate’s rights to represent the interests of applicants in Strasbourg for ECHR.Ukrainian Aspect.

It is our reminder that the Court issued that decision because the advocate submitted false information and abused her right to file applications with the Court. In particular, she enclosed apparently forged documents with certain applications filed with the ECHR. In other cases, she filed applications on behalf of deceased persons concealing from the Court the fact of their death.

The expert noted that the Court’s decision does not entirely satisfy the requirements set forth at paragraph 4 (b) of Rule 36 of the Court. The court relied on that paragraph as a legal basis for its decision.

According to the Rules, in exceptional circumstances the President of the Chamber may direct that an advocate engaged in proceedings be replaced. However, it follows from the press release that the ECHR banned the advocate from representing any applicants. It means that rather than just issuing a procedural decision replacing the advocate in the proceedings, the court imposed a sort of disciplinary penalty on the advocate.

‘The legal community perceived this ECHR’s decision ambivalently,’ Ms Drozdova points out. On the one hand, everyone understands that violations found by the Court are inadmissible for any lawyer in any country. However, there are some formal procedural aspects that should be complied with according to the ECHR decisions, on the other. Therefore, the information disseminated by the Court gives rise to at least three key issues: 1) is the ECHR authorised to ban an advocate from representing applicants before the Court ‘forever?’ 2) Is it possible to appeal against this decision? and 3) is the ‘penalty’ imposed in line with the right to fair trial as guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms?