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Discussing lawyers’ rights in Georgia

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, June 21
President Giorgi Margvelashvili has publicly declared his support for lawyers of Georgia both in a personal and institutional sense. The statement was made at a conference on 20-21 June.

“The legal profession is very important in our country. If we want to build a real democratic country, legal rights defenders should be highly qualified and given the opportunity to work in a free environment,” stated Margvelashvili.

Approximately 30 representatives of the Georgian and international bar associations get together at the conference and discussed an independent, qualified and ethical exercise of the lawyer’s profession.

“The Constitution grants certain rights to every resident of the country in everyday life. On an individual level, lawyers are the people who help defend the rights granted by the constitution. The work is hard, because sometimes lawyers have to defend even the guilty. However, every individual has the right to a legal defence,” stated Margvelashvili.

The conference was organized by the Georgian Bar Association with assistance from the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and in cooperation with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

The event was attended by the Georgian Bar Association's Chair Zaza Khatiashvili, the head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Cristian Urse, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of Operations Section of the European Union Delegation to Georgia Stephen Stork, and Irakli Burduli, Dean of Faculty of Law of TSU.

The Conference participants discussed common challenges faced by lawyers and examined the best practices in different countries. At the end of the Conference on 21 June, they will present a joint working document that will be published as a reference and guidance for professional associations of lawyers. Improving the quality of the legal profession will in turn ensure the efficiency and fair administration of justice for the citizens of the countries concerned.

“We have a very hard situation overall. Even over the last weeks, several lawyers were insulted while fulfilling their duties. I raised the issue in Strasburg not long ago and I will keep fighting to defend the rights of lawyers,” said Khatiashvili.