A report-election conference will be held soon at the Bar Council of the Kyiv region. Moreover, the number of this council is 1/6 of the lawyers of all Ukraine. But will the situation that happened in the Kyiv Bar Council not repeat itself in the Kyiv region? How will the conference affect leadership elections in other self-governing bodies of the bar? "ZiB" found out about this and other things from the head of the Bar Council of the Kyiv region, Petro BOYK.
Chairman of the Bar Council of the Kyiv Region, Petro Boyko: “As soon as a chief appears in the bar, then this bar is over.”
— Petre Anatoliyovych, the Kyiv Region Bar Council has 10,000 members. What do you associate with such a demand for attorney's certificates in the Kyiv region?
— So that you understand, it is not only the largest, but also the best in Ukraine, so it attracts not only those people who want to get a certificate from us. Due to the fact that it is really the best and provides a comfortable, positive meaning for lawyers, lawyers vote with their feet – they move from Kyiv, and if they come from other regions, they do not register in Kyiv, but show their workplace in the Kyiv region. Therefore, our popularity is related to such factors.
In addition, we, unlike some others, have no conflicts, no superior approach to lawyers. We are focused on only one thing – that we have a lawyer and we need to do everything for him so that he feels comfortable, so that he feels protected and clearly understands that the Bar Council of the Kyiv region on the street. 15 Kyrylivska Street is his home, his family, and he is a worthy member of this family.
In turn, we do everything possible for this. Our secretariat works like clockwork. We provide everything necessary for the activities of our lawyers – with warrants, and forms, and folders, and we very well organize and conduct training activities, as well as other unique projects. Please note: we hold many events exclusively for lawyers.
For example, Advocacy Day is celebrated all over Ukraine, but only in the Kyiv region is a festival like "Golden Carp" held, where lawyers come and during which we find out which of the lawyers is the best fisherman, who is the best at cooking fish soup. This festival has really become a very big holiday for lawyers.
But the most important value of this festival is that not only the lawyer himself can come there, but also his family – wife, children. So we have a really big friendly family, and even members of lawyers' families also feel involved in the legal profession. I think there is no such thing in any region.
— You have headed RAKO for two terms in a row. What has changed in her during this time?
— It is difficult to talk about what has changed. I really stood at the source of this board, we created it from scratch. When I was elected head of the council, there was no room, no money, and there was not even the charter itself. There were only council members. The worst thing is that we had no idea what this structure was supposed to be.
Let's delve a little deeper into the history of the bar to understand the structure of the bar. For example, in tsarist Russia, where such great figures as lawyer Fedir Plevako, lawyers Panas Andrievsky and Volodymyr Zhukovsky were formed, had their own organizational forms. In the period of the Soviet Union, we knew that there were bar associations, presidiums of the associations, and the bar was semi-free, and labor relations also had an ambiguous form. But there were no such forms as self-government bodies of lawyers in our history.
Our council was started with ideas, about the implementation of which we did not yet know anything in practice. It was a common form in the West, but it was a first for us. And that's why we formed the structure, certain moral and ethical standards, and our own tasks from scratch.
From when we had nothing to now, everything has changed drastically. Today, we own premises worth UAH 28 million. on the account. We are a successful organization that stands firmly on its feet. We can undertake any tasks that come before us and the bar, if it concerns any barrister.
"I'm leaving, albeit with sadness, but also with a certain pride"
— Why did you decide to resign from your post and isn't it a shame to leave your brainchild, which you put so much effort into creating?
— I am incredibly sorry to leave this position. But I'm leaving because there is a law that prohibits the head of the self-governing bodies of the bar for more than two terms in a row. That's why I'm leaving, but I'm leaving, albeit with a certain sadness, but also with a certain pride, because I did my job well, I didn't let down the expectations of my colleagues. Any lawyer who was among these 10,000 cannot say that I was unavailable to him, that I did not meet with him, did not listen to him or did not respond to his problems.
But here it is important to emphasize that Petro Boyko alone did not do anything, the team did it. And if it weren't for this great team that believed and continues to believe in advocacy, loves it with all its heart, nothing would have happened. Only the synergy of these people made such a great thing.
— One of the recent draft laws proposes to prohibit civil servants, including judges and prosecutors, from taking a qualifying exam for admission to the bar. Moreover, the ban should apply to those who held such positions less than 3 years ago. Do you think this idea makes sense?
— To be honest, I don't see much sense in this. It is difficult for me to understand such a discriminatory sign just because a person was a prosecutor or a judge. This is not the worst professional level, these are people with some experience in the field of justice, and why exactly they need to create obstacles in the right to practice law – I do not understand.
The most important thing: until now, no one, even from the mass media, has explained the logic of the need for such changes. I understand when there are corruption safeguards or other similar grounds in this, but in this case it is unarguable for me.
— That is, there is nothing wrong with the fact that representatives of such professions look for a "spare airfield" in advance at the bar, don't you see?
– There is nothing wrong with that. If a person is worthy, if he has an education and can pass qualifying exams, then let him work for the benefit of the bar and the citizens of Ukraine.
— But we remember the case in the Volyn region with the same prosecutorial detachment…
– Because it was a prosecutor's landing, and there is nothing like that, except that it was one-time and precisely during the pandemic, when the councils were not working. This in itself was a suspicious procedure.
But if the authors of the bill want to say that if a person leaves the prosecutor's office or the court, and her connections remain there and she will use them, then let them say so directly. Then it is clear that the logic is that it takes 3 years for these connections to be lost.
"We must know the names of those who divide our community"
— What are your expectations from the RAKO reporting and election conference, which is to be held in February? And isn't there a tendency for lawyers to split, as happened with the Kyiv Bar Council?
— As I already said, we really have the best council, all the committees are doing great work. We have the protection of lawyers' rights at the highest level and our lawyers are protected. We have a kind of theater, and we have already staged 3 plays at events dedicated to the Day of Advocacy. This is how we realize the talents of our colleagues. Everything works everywhere.
But it was not even for this reason that lawyers came to us. They came to us because we have no conflicts, and the council is focused on the lawyer and his problems. And, unlike Kyiv, we did not have such tension, but there was attention to everyone.
Today, the situation has changed dramatically. We already have a divide and I think it will only deepen, so we need to know and name those who are dividing our community and why. Today, two candidates intend to run for the position of RAKO chairman, although there may be others. These are Vitaly Naum and Fedir Klapchuk. And the main competition currently takes place precisely between them.
These are completely different people in terms of their character, popularity and actions. But we have to understand who is behind whom and who is starting the split. In my opinion, it is started by V. Naum. I don't know if it was the desire to take on such a big position by any means, even if it means going over heads, or perhaps a character with an excessively inflated ego, was the reason for this. After all, in my opinion, this is a feverish person who is ready to swing a saber from his shoulder at any moment. And logic and arguments are postponed for later.
But the worst: it is seen that this person is vindictive by nature. Therefore, people who oppose V. Naum are afraid that he may come to power and then deal with them. V. Naum really showed himself well as the chairman of the committee on the protection of the rights of lawyers and guarantees of lawyer activity. But such a committee in itself requires a leader with an expressive character.
But when you go to the position of chairman of the bar council, you must be prudent, delicate, because there is a law that clearly states that every lawyer is independent and independent. Instead, as soon as a boss appears in the bar, the bar is over. One lawyer cannot be superior to another. This is unacceptable.
According to my observations, V. Naum positions himself precisely as a boss, and in this situation he can break all years of hard work. Moreover, he actually betrayed the team in which he worked, since he is a member of the council, but spoke against it. And I think that the very idea that the bar should be unified and independent will be destroyed by his actions. And it is very dangerous for the bar of any region when such a person takes a leadership position.
F. Klapchuk is the absolute opposite in character. He is calm, prudent and very correct in relation to his colleagues. He is also valuable for the fact that, together with our team, he built the bar of the Kyiv region from scratch. And all these moral and ethical standards that I spoke about are also his work. If a person looks at the fact that our council is excellent, it does everything possible for the lawyer and meets his wishes, he should understand that F. Klapchuk had a hand in this. He is a member of a stable team, tangential to the overall synergy.
If I had to choose who to vote for, I would cast my vote for F. Klapchuk. Because it is clear to me in advance that the peace we are proud of will be preserved. And if we elect V. Naum, it will be a constant war, enmity, squabbles… And, unfortunately, those people who came to us and voted with their feet, will already vote elsewhere.
— And if we compare your council of lawyers with the state, which political system does each of the candidates propose — totalitarianism or democracy?
– Indeed, it can be figuratively said that in the event that V. Naum comes to power, the council, in my opinion, will turn into a "collective farm named after Lukashenka", which will be given by the barracks through the constant "I said". In such a "collective farm" the personality is completely suppressed.
If the council is headed by F. Klapchuk, then it will be a different format. It will to some extent resemble the Verkhovna Rada, although not so organized. But it will be a real democracy. Be that as it may, the dignity of every lawyer will be ensured, because there will be no contempt.
Why do I say so confidently? Because I saw everyone's actions and deeds for 9 years — both in work and in life. Therefore, I can speak objectively, evaluating everyone.
"Our council is the best, and powerful personalities are connected to it"
— In your opinion, the results of this conference will significantly affect the election process in the leadership of the National Association of Bars of Ukraine in general, given the number of RAKO?
— Undoubtedly, the Kyiv region has always influenced the processes taking place at NAAU. First of all, because this council is the best and powerful personalities are connected to it. From our council, Pavlo Grechkivskyi was a member of the VRP, Olena Lukash was the Minister of Justice, Andrii Portnov was a member of our collegium. That is, we have many representatives and powerful personalities. Therefore, of course, these elections have some influence on NAAU, but I mean a positive influence. Moreover, the formation of delegates and voting always take place openly at the congress.
— You and I have already started talking about changing the leadership of NAAU. Elections are to be held this year, and we can already state the beginning of the struggle for these positions. In your opinion, does the presence of competition in this situation have a negative or positive effect on the legal profession?
— I won't lie to you, but I was so engrossed in the internal problem of the split in our council that I didn't even think about what was happening at the top and who was claiming what there. Therefore, I have no idea about the election process at NAAU today. Unexpected events are taking place in our council, because until recently we had an agreed position on this matter. Therefore, we will monitor the situation together with you.