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The legal profession threatened in Georgia

11.01.2011
A delegation of the International Observatory for Lawyers went to Georgia from the 22nd to the 25th November 2010 to assess the difficulties encountered by Georgian lawyers in the exercise of their profession. The mandated lawyers have met the President of the national Bar Association, Georgian colleagues, organisations of lawyers, NGOs, the representative of the Public Defender’s Office and diplomatic representatives.

The report of the mission highlights an important destabilization of the legal profession in Georgia as well as violations in its daily practice. The lawyers function is weakened by the reality of the power being held by the Prosecutor and by the systematic and widespread use of plea bargaining. It is not only the whole profession which is hampered but also the basis of the due process right.

Lawyers attempting to exercise their profession freely and independently or intervening in sensitive cases are subjected to threats, sometimes leading to heavy prison sentences. Disputes between lawyers and their clients, especially concerning fees, are regularly used against the lawyers themselves as a ground to prosecute them for fraud. The case of the lawyer Mariana Ivelahsvili, sentenced to 5 years and 9 months of imprisonment for having allegedly received 170 euros from clients without having provided adequate services in return, sadly illustrates this practice.

This report highlights how urgent it is to reconsider the lawyer’s function in Georgia and gives the appropriate recommendations.

For further information please visit:
www.observatoire-avocats.org/en/urgent-actions/georgia/

Contact :
Coordinator of the IOL : Charlotte Benoit

oia@observatoire-avocats.org
*<oia@observatoire-avocats.org>
Tel : 00.33.5.34.31.78.79 – Fax : 00.33.5.34.31.17.84
www.observatoire-avocats.org/en/*<http://www.observatoire-avocats.org/en/>

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