Major changes in the field of advocateship
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Major changes in the field of advocateship

Major changes in the field of advocateship

LEGAL DIGEST \ 13.12.2019

From March 2020, major changes in the field of advocateship come into force. Now in the contract for the provision of legal assistance, it will be possible to include a condition for the contingency fee, as well as there will be a new reason for the suspension of the status of a lawyer. In addition, an out-of-court order of appeal of the decision to terminate the status of a lawyer will be introduced. A requirement to establish a lawyer’s office and a college of advocates will be eased.

Contingency fee

The Law on advocateship will stipulate the possibility of including the condition of the so called “contingency fee” in the contract for the provision of legal services. It is a contractual provision according to which the amount of remuneration, paid by the mandator of the lawyer, depends on the result of the services provided. The Council of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers (FCL) will establish the rules for including this condition in the agreement. Please note that in considering criminal cases and cases concerning administrative offences, the condition of the contingency fee for legal services is impossible to be provided.

Let us recall that in 2007, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation negatively assessed the practice of including the condition of the contingency fee in the contract of legal services rendered. At the same time, the Constitutional Court allowed to make related amendments to the legislation. Since then, lawyers have mostly failed to recover unpaid contingency fees.

Suspension of the status of a lawyer

It will be possible to send in an application for suspension of the status for personal reasons in the Council of the Chamber of Lawyers. It will be allowed to resume also upon application, but not earlier than within a year and not later than 10 years after the suspension. Now there is no such reason for the suspension of the status.

Despite the reason for which the status will be suspended, the lawyer will be subject to the provisions of the Professional code of conduct.

Establishment of a lawyer’s office and a college of advocates

In order to establish a lawyer’s office or a college of advocates, it will be required to have at least three years of experience in advocacy activity. Now it is required to have at least five years of such experience.

Appeal of the decision of termination of the status

The decision to terminate the status of a lawyer may be put in issue or may be litigated in the FCL. There will be a month to make a complaint to the FCL as from the date when the applicant found out or should have found out about such a decision. Within a month from the date of receipt of the complaint to the FCL, the ethics and standards committee will admit it to examination or reasonably refuse to it. The committee will also be given a month for the consideration.

As a result, the Council of the FCL will be able to:

– leave the decision without alteration;

– change it;

– cancel it and make a new decision.

Now the decision of the Chamber of Lawyers to terminate the status may be appealed only in court.

The adopted changes testify that Russia is increasingly adopting the practice of foreign countries (mainly – the experience of Europe and the USA) in the field of provision of services to business and the public. It is possible that the condition of the “contingency fee” will cause a price increase for the services of lawyers.

Acsour lawyers have all the necessary knowledge and qualifications to provide legal services at a high level.