Monopoly of the Bar in Russia: Perspective and Support of Ordinary Members

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Seminarsaal 20 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Ekaterina KHODZHAEVA, European University at Saint Petersburg, Russia
In the Post-Soviet period the legal assistance in Russia became much more liberated and free. A lot of legal professionals created their own business or acted as individual entrepreneurs in different levels of growing Russian legal market. New status of the Bar (in Russia it is associations of criminal defenders, recognized by the state) was officially established again in earlier 2000-s as a non-governmental and civil part of the Russian legal profession. There is no strong institutional hierarchy: bar's members (“advocates” in Russian) had to join to one of the regional chambers, which are, in their turn, associated with the “umbrella” organization – Federal Chamber of the Bar. Regional chambers' members enjoy their monopoly as criminal defenders. But the civil and administrative litigation remains open for all professionals, working without any membership in professional associations. This internal heterogeneity of Russian legal market is officially considered as problem of legal profession: there are no general standards, neither an institution to implement and control them. Since 2010, debates on professional monopoly have became more intensive, and Federal Chamber of the Bar plays an important role in these discussions pretending to voice of all legal professionals.

This paper is focused on the discourse of Bar's monopoly in Russia and based on public documents and expert interviews. It also presents the results of the mass survey of members of 35 regional chambers of the Bar (3317 respondents): the majority (more than 90%) supports the idea of monopoly, considering non-equal competition with non-organized lawyers. But there is also an opponent view: some lawyers did not trust the chambers’ leaders and insist that monopoly would not decide the problem of professional standards and ethics. The paper considers this Russian case in the context of problem of globalization and unification of legal field around the world.