Lawyers commented on the idea of mandatory legal education for representatives in courts

02 October 2017

Pavel Krasheninnikov introduced a bill that sparked a heated discussion among lawyers and sharp criticism of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers. The deputy proposes to allow the representation in courts only for those lawyers who have a higher legal education and a special accreditation of the relevant authorities.

Dmitry Shniger, a lawyer at Khrenov & Partners commented on the bill.

Dmitry is convinced the bill is a failure in general, including rules about education and requirement of the accreditation in the Russian Lawyers Association. "The proposed means seem simply disastrous from the point of human rights protection, and the reasoning of the bill raises strong objections," he says. Dmitry supports his position with the following arguments:

First, the main motive of introducing educational qualifications for judicial representatives proclaimed to protect citizens from legal assistance of a poor quality. However, how the introduction of such a limit will affect those who are cannot afford to hire a professional advisor? In Russia there is no system of free legal assistance that would meet the needs of such citizens. The bill submitted to the Duma does not seem to be solving this problem.

Secondly, the proposed system is unfair. Frankly speaking, legal education is not required when it comes to charging a penalty or considering the dismissal illegal. Common sense, life experience, and the ability to use the Internet is enough for that. Is it fair to force a person who can defend himself in court to hire a paid representative who shall not have no further liability for the quality of provided services?

Thirdly, the initiative will misbalance the existing order in legal practice. The bill proposes to provide all persons with a “lawyer” qualification the exclusive right to conduct the matters in courts. In the meantime, these lawyers will have no responsibilities and no penalties in case they neglect the credibility the state expressed to them.

Dmitry also says it is mistake to think that the fact of having a legal education determines the quality of legal representation. The mere existence of diploma and permission of any of the authorities does not make representation professional.

The lawyer believes it’s more important to have legal education for those who is doing the work long before the lawyer appears on the stage. The issue here is about a specialist who draws up a hideous contract, a dispute of which even the best lawyer cannot solve; or about an inspector, who conducts inspections with violations and mistakes.

Dmitry thinks the proposed changes would be harmful and the law would hardly be adopted. "The initiative involves the same problems that are associated with legal monopoly and which for many years impeded its introduction, and offers no solutions", – the expert concludes.