Tajikistan: the ICJ recommends measures to ensure the independence of the legal profession

“The reform of the legal profession in the Republic of Tajikistan is in deadlock and requires urgent measures to secure an independent profession,” the ICJ said today as it published its recommendations on the reform of the legal profession in the country.

The ICJ found that the current situation risks depriving the legal profession of its independence and reduce significantly the number of practicing lawyers.

Following an ICJ round table discussion held in Dushanbe in December 2015, the ICJ was requested by the participants to provide an analysis of the state of the reform and present its recommendations.

The ICJ recommended amongst other things that:

  • The authorities abstain from interference with the free election of office-holders of the self-regulating profession;
  • Amendments to the Law on Advokatura enacted in November 2015 that impede the independence of the legal profession be repealed or replaced;
  • The independence of the Qualification Commission from the executive be ensured in particular by making it a body of the Union of Lawyers;
  • The requirement that already-qualified lawyers re-apply for qualification or lose their right to practice be repealed; and
  • No discrimination, direct or indirect, should be permitted as regards entry into the profession.

These and other recommendations aim to facilitate a rapid way out of a stalemate which has emerged in Tajikistan where an independently elected Chair of the Union of Lawyers is refused his status as a lawyer as a result of problematic legislative amendments.

The recommendations follow a round table discussion organized by the ICJ in December 2015, where the principles and practice of the independence and self-governance of bar associations, as well as other issues of significance for the independence of lawyers, including the qualification process and disciplinary action, were discussed.

These discussions as well as the analysis of the legislation served as a foundation for the present recommendations based on international law and standards on the role of lawyers.

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