More than two-thirds of Montenegrin citizens do not know to whom they can complain to in case of malpractice of lawyers

Research on the results of the use of the system of disciplinary responsibility of lawyers showed that in recent years has been the dominant principle of non-confrontation colleagues, whether in relation to court presidents to the lawyers, either within the Bar Association.

“It jeopardized the principle of the establishment of professional responsibility and public trust in the work of the Bar Association and lawyers,” said Executive Director of Human Rights Action (HRA) Tea Gorjanc Prelevic at panel discussion on “Advocacy in Montenegro in the context of the reform of the judiciary.”

She pointed out that more than two thirds of Montenegrin citizens dont know who to complain in case of conscienceless work of  lawyers, why would the Bar Association of Montenegro should on its website publish instructions for submission of applications.

Gorjanc Prelevic, said that the organization, in cooperation with CeMI conducted research that involved 1,016 citizens of which was found to be 157 of them used the services of a lawyer.

“Of the 157 humans, 56.4 percent were completely or mostly satisfied with quality of legal services, 20 percent were not satisfied or mostly not satisfied, while 16.5 per cent and is not satisfied,” said  Gorjanc Prelevic in PR center.

“What is most disturbing in the study is that, even 69 percent of respondents, more than two-thirds of the total number of citizens who were questioned, said they did not know who to complain in case of
negligent work of  lawyers. We think that the Bar Association should do more to on your web page publish guidance to citizens how to write a report, what to name it, and in which period shall not stand, “said Gorjanc Prelevic.

As she stated, in the period from 2014, 2015 and 2016, there were cases that the court in 18 cases resolved duty counsel because of negligent performance of duty.

“In Bar Association told us that they are not informed about any such case. On the other hand, the Code of Criminal Procedure obliges the president of the court that on each relief of duty notices Bar Association. The Judicial Reform Strategy, which was adopted at the beginning of 2014, states that no cases by this date Bar Association did not establish any liability of lawyers, “said Gorjanc Prelevic.

She said that the disciplinary bodies of the Bar Association in the last five years resolved total 214 applications.

“Of these 214 applications, the disciplinary court found liability in only four cases, which is less than two percent. A large number of applications, 63.5 percent were discarded due to obsolescence. Such statistics indicates that citizens and clients were not informed of the time frame in which I can apply, as well as to the time limit of six months for submission of applications is too short, “said Gorjanc Prelevic.

As she specified, out of 214 applications, only 14 has led to the fact that implements the procedure of determining responsibility. “Every year at least one such procedure is completed the suspension due to obsolescence.”

“In the proceedings in which it was found that the disciplinary responsibility of the three of lawyers, at four were laid down the responsibilities handed down three fines and one measure of temporary removal from the directory of lawyers for a period of one year,” said Gorjanc Prelevic.

She said that the amounts of fines, which are sentenced, ranging from 500 to a maximum of 1,250 euros, noting that these penalties are not sufficient for general prevention, discouraging violations of norms, “especially bearing in mind that decisions on determining responsibility do not publish publicly “.

“We think that is obvious in recent years was the dominant principle of non-confrontation colleagues, either by the court presidents lawyers, either within the Bar Association. On the other hand, we think that it jeopardizes the principle of the establishment of professional responsibility and public trust in the work of the Bar Association and of lawyers “, said Gorjanc Prelevic.

President of the Bar Association of Montenegro, Zdravko Begovic said that he “doesn’t remember” that a law functioned in a better way than the law on free legal aid, stating that about 80 percent of lawyers succeeded in disputes with free legal aid.

“And then at the end it turns out that there are 18 solutions in which lawyers are dismissed due to malpractice. I believe that this is minor. There is no resolution that we got for defense lawyers ex officio, or for defense counsel in cases of legal aid. It may be a matter of the court who believes that we do not need to be notified or it is a matter of personal disinterest, “said Begovic.

He is speaking about the new tariff law and that the Bar Association formed a working group that will, as announced, submit the new tariff proposal to all the country’s lawyers in a few days.

“The essence of the new fee scale is focused on No. 11, concerning the representation of more than one person. Also, according to the applicable tax legislation, the obligations of young lawyers are very large and will take over the Ministry of Finance to offer suggestions to young lawyers an easier way they could define their tax obligations, “said Begovic.

Disciplinary Prosecutor of the Bar Association, Sava Popović said that when the parties and lawyers are confronted for the first time it has an effect.

“Especially when a lawyer is presented with a fact and confronted with it, he concludes what needs to be done to remedy this situation,” said Popovic.

The panel discussion was organized by the Human Rights Action (HRA) and the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), in the framework of the project “Towards effective justice system – improving the development of the profession in the function of the Montenegrin judiciary”, funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.






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