Obtaining information at a lawyer’s request is one of the key tools in every lawyer’s activity. However, authorities and other organizations sometimes ignore the requirements of the law when considering and responding to a lawyer’s request, notes the National Association of Lawyers of Ukraine.
The project of Law No. 9356 “On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and the Law of Ukraine “On Advocacy and Advocacy” on Improving Liability for Violation of Consideration of a Lawyer’s Request” is intended to correct the situation.
The authors of the legislative initiative were a group of people’s deputies under the leadership of Serhii Ionushas, head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Law Enforcement.
NAAU informed that the document proposed:
1) strengthen administrative responsibility for wrongful refusal to provide information at a lawyer’s request and other violations of its consideration. For this, the sanction of Article 212-3 (Violation of the right to information and the right to appeal) of the Code of Administrative Offenses is increased – from fifty to one hundred tax-free minimum incomes of citizens (today – from twenty-five to fifty));
2) to add to the circle of subjects to whom the lawyer can address a request. It is proposed to add natural persons – entrepreneurs to the existing list (art. 20, 24 of the Law on Advocacy and Advocacy );
3) establish the possibility to take copies of documents and materials during the exercise of the right to familiarize themselves with them at enterprises, institutions, organizations (clause 3, part 1, article 20 of the Law);
4) abolish the need to attach a certified copy of the certificate of the right to practice as a lawyer to the lawyer’s request (paragraph two, part 1, article 24 of the Law);
5) to make an exception regarding the provision of explanations and consultation upon request, when this is the duty of the state authority to which the lawyer’s request is addressed. Today there is a restriction that the request cannot refer to the provision of consultations and clarifications of the provisions of the law (paragraph three, part 1, article 24 of the Law);
6) specify the mechanism for providing confidential information, namely: in the event that a lawyer’s request involves obtaining such information that, according to the law, can be provided to a person represented by a lawyer, the specified information is provided at a lawyer’s request with the written permission of such a person (para. 2, Article 24 of the Law);
7) reduce (from twenty to fifteen days) the extension of the term of consideration of a lawyer’s request, which concerns the provision of a significant amount of information or requires the search for information among a significant amount of data.
“Many people’s deputies who have the status of a lawyer were included in the team of authors of the draft law. They best understand the needs of our profession and today protect the interests of lawyers. We are grateful to them for this initiative and such an approach, – noted the head of NAAU, RAU Lidia Izovitova. – The adoption of the law in the version of its draft No. 9356 will strengthen the effectiveness of the use of a lawyer’s request during the provision of professional legal assistance. Ultimately, such changes will work to protect the rights of citizens in Ukraine.”