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THE 1999 LITHUANIAN CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS FOR LAWYERS: AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT CONSISTENT WITH EUROPEAN UNION STANDARDS

A Report On the March 6, 2000 Session of the Meetings of the Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic and the Committee of the Representatives of the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc.

Patricia A. Streeter

 INTRODUCTION

   The ten-member Joint Commission of Seimas and the Lithuanian American Community, Inc. (LAC) conducted hearings during the week of March 6, 2000. The Joint Commission is comprised of five members of Seimas, each a party leader, and five members of the LAC. There are two co-chairs of the Joint Commission, Feliksas Palubinskas and Liuda Rugieniene. The purpose of the hearings during this week was to discuss various issues and to propose areas for legislation. On March 6, 2000, representatives of the Lithuanian American Bar Association, Inc. (LABAS) were invited to participate. The topic of discussion for this session was attorney ethics among the Lithuanian Bar, entitled "Law, Justice and Legal Ethics In Lithuania."

   For the LABAS presentation on March 6, 2000, U.S. attorney Patricia Streeter compared the 1999 Lithuanian Code of Professional Ethics for Lawyers (the Lithuanian Code) to the legal code of ethics used in the European Union (EU) for cross-border transactions (the CCBE). Ten areas of concern were discussed, including areas in which the Lithuanian code is silent or other ethical concerns that should otherwise be addressed, including that attorney fees should be reasonably related to the work that is performed, and that a client should be advised of the basis for the fee. Also mentioned is the absence of any public information about the enforcement of attorney ethics.

Present and responding to these remarks were various legal dignitaries. The Chairman of the Supreme Court, Vytautas Greicius, discussed Lithuania's Court reforms since independence. Prominent Lithuanian Attorney, Kazimieras Motieka, indicated that he was not familiar with the CCBE (EU code) and offered criticism to the comparisons given. Also, in response to questions, Mr. Motieka indicated that Lithuanians do not need to know what their lawyers' ethics are, as they already know what to expect from them. The Minister of Justice, Gintaras Balčiūnas, commented on the importance of citizens' trust in the State's ability to assure a just and safe legal system and the mutual relationship between morals and the law.

   A comment about the transcript that is represented below. Although the official proceedings were in Lithuanian, some comments not included or not properly attributed. As often happens when working with language translations involving technical information by interpreters not familiar with the terminology, the preliminay English translation of the original Lithuanian record was not clear in many respects. For this reason, the author has made some further editing for purposes of this report. Those wishing to further pursue any of the matters raised by these comments should, of course, consult the official record. The session went as follows.

R. NARUŠIENE. The subject of law, justice and legal ethics in Lithuania is very broad. It would take a week or two to cover it and by then it would be necessary to revise it in a few months, because it is impossible to provide a good discussion in a short period of time. Therefore we narrowed this subject to the ethics of lawyers and how the ethical rules of Lithuanian lawyers meet the requirements and standards of the European Union. Our committee has invited Pat Streeter to present this comparison and subject. Her roots and relatives are from Lithuania and she visits Lithuania at least once a year since the restoration of Lithuanian independence. She is an attorney who has a license in Michigan and Illinois, in the United States. She has been an attorney for twenty years and she has acquired the specialty in the field of the Law of International Business and Trade. She is now the vice-president the Lithuanian American Bar Association and she will become its president in April. This Society was established at the time of independence in order to help and support the lawyers in Lithuania. She took part in the Second Congress of the World Lithuanian Lawyers in Vilnius in 1996, and has given lectures at the Vytautas Magnus University Law School.

* * *

CHAIRMAN.Thank you. I would also like to introduce other participants in this discussion. They are the Chairman of the Supreme Court V. Greičius, the Minister of Justice G. Balčiūnas, Attorney K. Motieka and the representative of the General prosecuting magistracy Kovarskas. Thank you very much. Pat Streeter, you can deliver your speech now.

P. STREETER. Thank you. . . In 1991 Lithuania inherited what was essentially the Soviet legal system, in which attorneys often received their instructions. They did not exercise independent judgment and did not regulate their own conduct. As a result, they were not respected and did not develop their own code of ethical conduct.

For a long time, attorneys in the United States and the European Union have regulated their own profession by rules of ethical behavior. If these rules are violated, a complaint may be made to the Bar by a member of the public, another attorney, or a judge. The Bar will then review the complaint by various procedures. If the attorney is found to have violated the rules of ethics, he or she is punished. They could be given a warning, a fine, or suspended from the practice of law for some time.

Knowing that ethical standards are in place and are enforced is important information for lawyers from other countries who seek to do business with Lithuanian lawyers. It is often the lawyers representing transnational companies who handle foreign investments. To avoid being disciplined themselves for working with an attorney who has acted unethically, foreign lawyers must have confidence that the Lithuanian lawyers they are working with are acting in an ethical manner, that they are subject to the same ethical standards, and that violations of those standards will be addressed by the Lithuanian Bar.

In 1977 the EU adopted the CCBE, a code of ethics that incorporates the fundamental principals of professional conduct for lawyers throughout the European Community. These rules apply to cross-border transactions and to any EU attorney while in another EU country not his or her own. Because Lithuania is near to becoming a member of the EU, this means that the CCBE will soon apply to lawyers in Lithuania. It is important for Lithuanians to know that their current attorney ethics are lacking in several areas when compared to the CCBE. Correcting these missing areas will generate public confidence in the legal system and promote foreign investment. These corrections will assist Lithuanian lawyers in their business dealings with lawyers from other countries.

The 1999 Lithuanian Code is an improvement over the 1996 version, by adding some actions that will result in discipline, but it still provides no clear process for taking action against an attorney for ethics violations. There is no indication as to who may make a complaint, who will review the complaint and decide whether there has been an ethics violation, or who will decide and enforce any disciplinary action. It may be that such a complaint process would be placed in another regulation, but it should be provided for somewhere so that the public would have access to it.

To gain public trust in the justice system, an attorney should be open to review on ethics violations by anyone. Here are several areas in which the Lithuanian Code does not address areas covered by the CCBE and a few other areas that are important to address.

First, who is covered? There are many job titles in the area of law in Lithuania, juriconsultants, prosecutors, advokats, judges, and house counsel. Each of these professions must be bound by some ethical rules and these rules must be enforced in order that there be public trust. It is not clear which legal professions are covered by the Lithuanian Code.

Second is independence. The EU code requires that a lawyer must be free from all outside influence, especially from personal interests or external pressure. The Lithuanian Code provides only for independence from state institutions and administrative bodies and officials, thus missing important areas of influence. The Lithuanian Code does not include important aspects of influence that might come from personal sources or private parties.

Third is confidentiality. The Lithuanian Code provides that a lawyer may not disclose information regarding the legal assignment without the consent of the person who provided it. As written, this provision seems to create a right of confidentiality in persons other than the client or the lawyer. This conflicts with the European Union concept of confidentiality, in which maintaining confidentiality is the primary and fundamental right and duty of the lawyer, and also extends to the lawyer's associates and staff.

Fourth is client funds. The Lithuanian Code does not address how a client's money should be handled by the lawyers. Under the CCBE, client funds must be held in a separate account according to special rules. Client funds must not be co-mingled with the lawyer's own personal or other business funds.

The fifth item is professional liability insurance. This subject is not addressed by the Lithuanian Code at all. In the EU, attorneys are required to maintain professional liability insurance. Making this an ethical requirement will certainly increase pubic confidence and trust in Lithuanian lawyers.

Sixth is reasonable fees. This is another subject area that is absent from the Lithuanian Code. Under the CCBE, attorney fees must be fully disclosed, fair and reasonable.

I would like to stress here that these missing areas are not a statement that all Lithuanian lawyers act unethically. Adding these provisions is simply one way to document for the general public how lawyers are expected to behave ethically.

The seventh item is relations with the courts. Also absent from the Lithuanian Code are provisions that prohibit an attorney from providing false or misleading information to the Court, and prohibiting ex parte (one-sided) contact with the Court. This means that any time a lawyer wishes to communicate with or talk to the judge in a case, the party on the other side must be informed and be present.

The eighth item is competence. Under the current Lithuanian Code, an attorney must refuse to accept a case if the case is complex and the attorney realizes that he or she will not be able to perform the assignment properly. Under the CCBE, an attorney may associate with other experienced counsel and thus remain competent to handle a matter.

The ninth item is the unauthorized practice of law. As the legal system now functions in Lithuania, there are common irregularities in the functions of the jurists and house counsel, and there are no provisions that allow for foreign lawyers to operate in Lithuania as registered foreign legal consultants. The codes do not mention this concern, but it is important that Lithuania regulate its legal professionals so that foreign lawyers can be certain that they are working with qualified and experienced legal professionals. For example, a lawyer from France or Germany must be confident that when they work with a Lithuanian legal professional, that person is properly trained and licensed for the work that is needed to be done. As to foreign legal consultants, many countries allow lawyers from other countries to give advice under certain conditions. This is yet another area that, in my opinion, should be considered by Lithuania as a means to attract more foreign direct investment.

Finally, the tenth item is fidelity and loyalty to the client. Absent from the Lithuanian Code is the lawyer's specific duty to the client. According to the CCBE rules, a lawyer must always act in the best interest of his or her client, and must put those interests before the lawyer's own interests or those of fellow members of the legal profession. It should be clear to every Lithuanian that for every person who wants to hire a lawyer, that lawyer must have a total loyalty to the client. They should be assured that there is a guarantee that the lawyer will not take information from the client and use it in a way that would be given or sold to a third party for the lawyer's personal benefit. While I am not suggesting that Lithuanian lawyers are in the practice of doing this, making the duty to the client a clear ethical duty, and making that duty written public information, will act to develop public confidence in the legal system.

 

In conclusion, it is very important for these ethical concepts to be considered by the Lithuanian Government. Doing so will increase public confidence in the legal system and will create what is called "transparency" in the law and will thus promote foreign investment. If I, as an American lawyer seek the advice of a Lithuanian lawyer, I need to know that I am working with an experienced, skilled and licensed professional. I must be sure that the lawyer will act ethically and follow the ethical principles, so that the information that I provide is not used improperly against my client. I must know that if the Lithuanian lawyer acts improperly, that some action will be taken by the Lithuanian Bar. Thank you very much for your attention.

CHAIRMAN. Thank you for the report. Would you like to add anything? Go ahead, please.

[Unidentified Speaker]:… I have had the honor to observe how the profession of Lithuanian lawyers has developed over the last six years. I would like to make some remarks in addition to what my colleague has already said. I would like to suggest how to implement these ideas.

One of more important aspects of this profession as Pat Streeter has already explained to us is the idea of self – control, or self – control itself. According to the experience of many countries, though there are obvious differences between particular legal standards and practical methods in different counties, one of the most important elements of the lawyer's profession is that all lawyers have to understand their rules and standards, follow them without any exception, and make some obligations. For example, those countries that have suffered for improper behavior have to understand that there is a certain mechanism according to which lawyers are obliged to work. Notaries and lawyers themselves have to grasp those rules and in what way this understanding can be developed. It is obvious that the rules must be prepared very carefully, they have to be known to all lawyers and they should be very well investigated and analyzed. First of all this is essential in the matter of legal ethics. We should understand that every day a lawyer faces many tangled situations and has to make decisions relying only on his or her own perception with respect to the circumstances which he or she faces. Thus it is a process of reasoning and perception, therefore it is necessary to talk about education and training. It is important that students of Law and young lawyers had an opportunity to study Legal Ethics and to acquire experience from the experienced people who have been working in that area for quite a long time. In this way they could think over and consider particular situations and particular problems. This can be done in a variety of means. Many universities provide with their scholarships, various opportunities for students to work with a practitioner lawyer, not necessarily full–time. There are several requirements for this. Students must take examinations and attend special courses. For example, in the United States we have requirements for continuous legal education. I have had this pleasure. Every time I go back to the United States, I must attend such courses. I would rather visit my family and friends, however there is that very strict requirement that I take a course in Ethics every year for at least twelve hours. Only because I do is my license renewed. I think this could be done in Lithuania as well.

What do I mean by this? In order for the legal ethics to become a more vital and real principle, people should understand that these standards and rules should be applied every day, every time a lawyer makes a telephone call, gives legal advice or even during lunch-time when a client approaches a lawyer and says, "I have a question, could you refer me to a certain law?" Thus these rules must be implemented. Lawyers and students of law must understand how to apply this in practice and how to resolve technical problems arising every day by employing these rules. Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you. It would be useful for you to deliver a speech for Lithuanian lawyers, I guess. Would anyone like to start? Please, welcome the Chairman of the Supreme Court, Mr. V. Greičius.

* * *

V. GREICIUS. Dear guests, dear ladies, dear gentlemen. First of all let me greet you and thank you for identifying the problem and finding time to discuss it.

Law, justice and legal ethics in any aspect of a country is indeed worth discussing. Therefore by understanding that this event is only an introductory review that permits us to improve Lithuanian problems. I will briefly remind you of some facts of our country and peculiarities of its legal system. I would like to speak about problems in courts and the peculiarities of the development of courts. I think I will not go far away from today's subject, because the main subject is law, justice and legal ethics in Lithuania. I guess, everything that is related to ethics, and the behavior of lawyers and procurators in the process, as well as out of the process, will be discussed by Mr. K. Motieka. I believe that Mr. Kovarskas will speak from the point of view of a procurator.

As I have already mentioned, I will speak about court affairs. I think it is possible to distinguish some ethical problems of judges. The new courts system, adopted in 1995 in Lithuania, has been operating for a little more than five years. The adoption of new appeals courts is an important event in any country, for it is a new guarantee in the case of protection of personal rights and legal interests. The more legal guarantees and the more legal opportunities, the more justice and legality for everyone. I will not make a mistake saying that the arrangement of courts, particularly of new district courts, and the determination of the competence of the Appeal Court and of the reformed Supreme Court was one of the indices showing the maturity of the Lithuanian Republic, its claims and determination to become a truly European country.

As I have already mentioned, two new circuits have been operating in our court system for five years. They are the appeal court and five district courts. The penetration of two new circuits into the Soviet court system, that had been in operation by 1995, is significant not only in the institutional point of view, but for the distribution of competence among the courts and for the new opportunities to verify the decisions of lower courts. This, of course, is very important.

* * *

It is worth recalling that the very first attempts to reform the Soviet system were made earlier than in 1995. By then the Constitution of the Lithuanian Republic had been adopted by referendum on October 25, 1992, establishing the Lithuanian legal system, a component of which is the organization of institutions as well as the court system. Actually, there was not much success in the detailing of the constitutional regulations in the 1992 Law on Courts, which, although it recreated the pre-1940 system and their competence, still a big part of their regulations were not realized. That resulted from several circumstances that were not given enough attention at that time.

It was not noted that in order to gain social benefit, all of the legal components of the system needed to be developed continuously – the institutional system as well as the legal system. There were no priorities determined for this work. The coordination of the reform performed by the Ministry of Justice was ineffective. Moreover, none of the distribution of the new state administration was based on which court reforms had to be performed. . . It is also obvious that there was too little attention paid to financial and personnel aspects.

Although I agree that the court reform in Lithuania was delayed, still I want to say that it was in no way performed spontaneously, even if its conception is not yet complete. . . Essentially, the reorganization of court system has been going on for three years. The constitutional court system began its operation, as I have already mentioned, only in 1995. The court system, consisting of four circuits … [the system], even though based on the continuity of the inter-war Lithuanian legal system and on the proven correct in practice … of Western countries, is distinctive for its institutions, therefore, I dare to claim that it is unique. I am glad that the system of new courts in operation, as I have already mentioned for more than five years, currently, in my opinion, has to overcome certain challenges… It is a fine achievement that has succeeded owing to bid efforts, brightness, tolerance and ability to foresee a perspective. I should only remind you that Lithuania is going to make a new step – to implement the institution of constitutional claim. The guests probably do not know what I mean by this. Today our ordinary citizens do not have a right to appeal to the Constitutional Court. I see this as a big disadvantage. Personal application of a constitutional claim would be an effective guarantee of justice, confirmed also by Lithuanian people who are bringing a suit. It can be obviously seen by the opinion of the people who are bringing a suit and by the experience of other countries, I guess.

The five–year period during which the new court system has been operating, is not a long period. However, it is sufficient to understand that national reform of the court system is not solely the institution, but it is also reform of the field of law. . .

* * *

I want to say that on the initiative of the Supreme Court a working group has been formed and they have prepared… a new project on the Law on the Courts. I think that in the near future the Supreme Court will present this project either to the President or to the Seimas itself. Unfortunately, in addition to the new problems, we still have the old ones. Insufficient quality of case trials, their delay and some other problems, which the new court system could not affect and which do not make honor to us.

Consequently, we should mention certain questions about the ethics of judges. Lithuanian judges have their own Ethical Code, that is, a mechanism of disciplinary liability that is regulated by the regulations of the Law on Courts and of the Court of Honor. It has been regulated and implemented under the control of the administrative activity and the Court of Honor of Judges. It has been operating for a while…

 However, ethics cannot be assured only by standards. It is very important . . .let us say, the internal morals of a judge just as proper conditions. For example, financial considerations that would assure following ethical regulations. Briefly, in this area today we are faced with subjective and objective factors, and it would be difficult to say which ones are more significant. I think it is possible now to emphasize the objective factors. In particular, big working charges and lack of court premises. These premises are not sufficient also for the Supreme Court, and we cannot solve this problem. A poor financial basis of courts has a great effect on the opportunity to assure the so-called adequate process of law. How is it possible to speak about the ethics of any judge, while the judge is forced to try a case in his or her office and many of case participants are waiting outside, and when because of large case overflow reporting the court decision is delayed? These are, of course, big shortcomings, however, I would not be right if I did not also notice the contrary. Our country is soon going to celebrate the 10–year anniversary of the restoration of its independence. There are also significant changes in the field of the objective factors, which I have mentioned. Those guests, who did not see the courts ten years ago, if they were able to see and to compare them with the present situation, that is, I would say, a tremendous difference.

Certainly, we cannot see inadequate behavior of the judges themselves. In this point of view I am a bit critical and I am trying to be as principled as possible. There can be seen scandalous affairs in the behavior of judges from our country as well. There are less harmful misdemeanors, which are no way tolerated. I am certain that judges feel all of this in practice through the suing of a disciplinary case for improper behavior of judges in the process of the court session or at out-of-working hours, for the case delays and so on.

All I want to say is that there was everything in the process of the reform: big misunderstandings as well as principal mistakes, which in turn are related to the institutional competence, financial basis and with the selection of staff. However, as it is said, everything is fine that ends fine. Positive processes and rational decisions being in the process overcome the former difficulties and they allow thinking that the system operates without big troubles. I hope that the improved Law on Courts and the new codes of the court procedure, that are going to be adopted without any delay, will allow further improvement of our activities and pretty soon we will have an opportunity to make stronger summaries.

In conclusion, I would like to say that without any doubt at the present moment just as in the future it will be interesting and useful to find out interpretations of some of the problems. To become convinced that we are going in the right or wrong direction. It is definitely clear that the institutions which were discussed, and I hope, those which we will hear about later, are very well known to all the countries going toward democracy, including Lithuania.

Another question is whether all countries perceive their content equally, and if they are effective and sufficient. I want to assure you that we are looking for the answer to these questions. I have finished. Any questions are welcome. Thank you for your attention.

CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. K. Motieka is willing to speak now.

K. MOTIEKA. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak and first of all I would like to thank the Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic and the Community of the American Lithuanians for this meeting that has been planned for a long time. We were expecting such a meeting first of all, I think, from the European countries. However we are happy that the initiative was shown from the American lawyers.

Here indeed were discussed very important and actual issues. However after I have listened attentively the former speaker's considerations about our laws and our ethical regulations, I found some intangibles and saving precious time I would like to speak about them immediately. At first the earlier speaker was talking about the minimal ethical rules, created by the representatives of the European Union in 1977. I do not know if it is right evaluation. It would be great if we could get acquainted with such rules, if they were written in black on a white sheet of paper. In that case it would be possible to look for more details in these differences and to speak in more detail about what should be done in Lithuania in order to achieve more similar or at least approximate laws to those of the European Union. I think it is very important. I am not saying that it is difficult to obtain these rules, however, when preparing for this meeting, in my opinion, it should be emphasized.

I am not also very clear about what sources the former speaker relied on. From some statements I could understand that it was spoken about the Law on Lithuanian legal profession, from the other I could see that it was spoken about the rules of the ethics of the Lithuanian legal profession. These are two very distinct points and I would not agree that they be interpreted in the same manner. For example, the earlier speaker raised a question that it is not known who can appeal against a lawyer's actions and it is not known who must decide whether a lawyer has violated the regulations or not. These questions are regulated in the Law of Lithuanian legal profession. We have our own statute, our own ethical rules, and we follow them very well. On the other hand, we do not know what to do in order to make our regulations so they do not differ from the European Union ones.

That's one point. Now we speak about the fact that lawyers' independence should be considered in these rules. The European Union requires that lawyers not be influenced. I would like to point out that our lawyers are in favor of this regulation, and we are in a constant fight for this. Still, I cannot quite understand how we could hope to remain unhurt, when the speaker suggests that such ethical rules for lawyers have to be determined by the Lithuanian Government. As I see all this, speaking about lawyers' professional ethics, first of all we should save the autonomy of the legal profession and its independence in order to make the lawyers solve these problems themselves. I cannot quite understand all of this. Perhaps there are some other regulations.

I do not want to put myself into the court activities, however, these days one of our major problems is to achieve that courts became the third constitutional power. They are not quite independent from the Government and from the executive powers, still these problems are being solved and, in my opinion, with the help of the European Union this process will be much quicker.

Money was mentioned and the importance that a lawyer not mix his own money with that of a client. This is such an elementary rule that, in my opinion, it is not worth our attention in this meeting. Especially as these questions are regulated not only by the law but, as I have already mention, also by our ethical rules, and we watch strictly that this is not done. Lawyers pay taxes, and they have the opportunity to determine their own fees, and I think everything has been clear in this field so far. Especially when all of this is under strict control.

Further, it was mentioned that all lawyers must be insured, and that this is one of the shortcomings in Lithuania. Speaking about the Law on Lithuanian legal profession and its 1999 edition, then this law indicates that lawyers definitely have to be insured. This insurance of lawyers' professional activity is essential. Therefore I am not quite sure what sources the speaker relied on. I do not really want to contradict her and so on, I just want to draw your attention once more to the fact that it would be great if we could know for sure what is good and what is bad with us. And later on we were able to correct these problems.

On behalf of Lithuanian legal profession I would like to the organizers of this event thank one more time. I think this will be very beneficial and it is the first step, and it will further go on. Thank you for your attention.

CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Now I would like to invite the Minister of justice G.Balciunas.

G. BALCIUNAS. Good afternoon, my dear colleagues and guests. I am very glad to have an opportunity to discuss lawyers' ethics and the public influence on the legal system. Nowadays it is an actual problem and it is being discussed widely in Lithuania. A few days ago we finished a conference that took place in the Ministry of Justice. It was an international conference "The influence of the lawyers' ethics and the public opinion on the legal system". It was organized by the Eastern and Middle European legal program of the American Lawyers' Association (…) and by Vilnius University, the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, as well as by the Center of Legal and Democratic Development in Lithuania. We are really glad that this conference saw a great number of the Seimas members, lawyers, politicians, Government representatives and other persons concerned.

It was already mentioned that the Lithuanian Republic announced the restoration of its independence and began the reorganization of all the fields of life only ten years ago. Soon we will celebrate the Day of March 11th. In the process of reorganization, lawyers had an especially difficult mission, because the arrangement of the legal system is one of the basic State foundations. Only a country of laws has a real chance to protect its rights and freedoms. Only in a legal country can respect for laws be met and the unconditional execution of its laws. In my opinion, during these ten years we have significantly moved forward. Lawyers and the entire legal system had to adjust to the constantly changing situation in order to accomplish adequately their duties and to maintain public confidence. And not only laws but also legal institutions, in particular courts, which were mentioned by the Chairman, were and still are in the center of global interest and concern. Today it is of particular importance for us not only to adopt and adjust the laws according to the European Union standards, but also to establish adequate legal institutions and other elements of the legal system, in order to make all the presumptions and opportunities for the citizens to protect their violated rights and interests, that are protected by the law.

[The European] Convention is open to non-EU states as well, however the basic requirement to join is that the legal system of the country that wishes to join meet the standards of justice and effectiveness. Citizens must trust in the state's ability to assure a just and safe legal system that is implemented by honest, competent and independent lawyers who execute the present laws. Only such a legal system can develop and maintain the life of the State.

With respect to morals, the lawyer's profession is distinctive, and lawyers must respect legal norms and execute justice loyal to their given vow. The characteristics of the lawyers', and first of all of the judges', professional features comes from the close mutual relation between the morals and law. Moreover, it is always preferred that they behaved irreproachably, wherever they were -- at work or not. There is always something like a rule that a person who executes the justice has to be self-controlled, moderate, polite, tactful, ambitious, able to act in adequate and right manner in any situation however difficult it would be. Usually public opinion is formed on the basis of real cases and certain activities of judges, lawyers and notaries, and this is natural, I guess. At the moment, mass media and the public pay more attention to the activity of such institutions.

I would like to say, as it was already said, that the guides of the legal system reform were confirmed in the dimensions of the legal system reform and we have developed the second edition. As I have already mentioned, they point out the basic issues of the reorganization of the legal system. We are now ready to overlook once more the entire legal system and to hold four conferences, to be more precise, one conference consisting of four parts. The first part, we have already agreed upon, will take place on April 20 in the Seimas, House III. It would be a conference about the promulgation of legal acts and about one of the major elements of the legal system. In June we might have a conference about the reform of legal institutions, because as I have mentioned the development here is rapid as well and the reformed institutions are developing and changing very rapidly. We will have two conferences by this autumn. They will include other parts of the legal system, that is: practice in the courts, lawyers' ethics, lawyers' education, doctrine and other questions.

Speaking about different lawyer professions, I would like to say, as the former speakers have already mentioned, that courts have been chosen as the major part of the legal system institutions. At the moment, the court system shows the greatest progress in the point of view of its reform. I think, the newly prepared Law on Courts will finish this reform and courts will definitely become an independent and separate power from others.

I want to say that courts, as it has been mentioned, also have their own code of honor and court of honor. It was of course the operation of the court of honor, when there was established a separate court for five hundred judges that operated directly rather than publicly, that made a basis for such an interesting situation. Despite this, the court was sometimes not so overloaded and it executed other activities, including the summary of cases, statistical collection and others, however we think that such court will not be necessary in the future. This work can be done by judges themselves, meeting once or twice a week whenever necessary. I think, the ethical norms of judges are formed enough in the Law on Courts as well as in the rules of judges' ethics together with practical experience of the judges of the court.

As to the legal profession, I would like to note that it is controlled just as a legal institution, not solely by the Ethical code of lawyers. First of all there is the Law on legal profession, next comes the Ethical code of lawyers, there are also approved recommendations about the payment for the lawyers' activity. Speaking about any of these systems, we probably should overlook all these standard documents that control that legal system at the moment. It has already been mentioned that it is not worth talking about insurance, for an uninsured lawyer does not have a right to take up a legal practice, just the same as he does not have such right when not meeting all requirements established by the Law on legal practice.

I want to say that the notary system is also formed well enough and at the moment it is controlled by the Law on Notarial profession together with a large number of post-law documents. There are also the Code of the notary ethics and the court of honor of notaries that in the same way solve their professional problems.

Perhaps at the moment there are no sample rules of the professional behavior of lawyers in Lithuania, that would be common to every lawyer. I think, this situation can be easily improved. We have the Society of Lawyers that operates well enough. The Ministry has signed a memorandum of cooperation with this institution that comprises all lawyers. I think, in the next meeting of the Society of Lawyers, these questions can be easily raised, more as these questions have begun to rise naturally, and it can adopt typical exemplary rules. These rules might actively be considered by the public, because, as I have already mentioned, lawyers work for the society and with the society.

Thus I am very grateful for being invited to this meeting. I heard indeed a great vastness of reasonable suggestions and wishes. I wish you all success in your work. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Minister.

Is there anyone else who wants to speak about this, ask a question or make a comment? First of all, of course, we will allow the members of the Committee to speak. Please, welcome Mr. V. Maciunas.

V.MACIUNAS. As I understood from his remarks, there is much else what was thought to be done and what was explained not so clearly. Nevertheless, I am raising such a question. Do you think that the Lithuanian society perceives the adherence to principle of lawyers' rules and takes in the basic concepts of these rules? Do the society itself and its ordinary man also feel and understand what guarantees the rules of the ethics of legal profession (ethics of lawyers) can give?

G.ŠVEDAS.. Because of all this, I am speaking in the form of question, if I can say this. Speaking about the Law on the Lithuanian legal profession, the laws are announced publicly, and they are very well known to everyone. Speaking about the rules of the lawyers' professional ethics, this is the internal matter of the legal profession and we have published these rules neither in the "Valstybes Žinios", nor anywhere else. Frankly it is not significant whether they are actually published or not. It is we who determine these things, nevertheless, if Lithuanians consult a lawyer, they know very well what to expect from him. Nowadays we do not have such problems, because when they come to a lawyer and do not know what will be done and what to expect from lawyers. I emphasize that we do not face such problems.

V.MACIUNAS. I am not a lawyer and my experience… Being an American citizen I can understand these ethical rules without being a lawyer. I wonder if you work with Lithuanian citizens, it can be obviously seen that Lithuanian citizens have a deep notion of the ethics of lawyers.

G.ŠVEDAS. It is a very subjective point of view. Some people can understand all this, others who are not so intelligent may not understand. And I am saying that when a person consults a lawyer we do not have such problems. It is not due to the fact that we are hiding something, it is because of normal relations between a lawyer and a client. There are several exceptions when our court of honor also has some work to do when the Board of Lawyers has to consider the unethical behavior of lawyers and so forth. Still there are no such cases when people are not informed or do not take in this matter. Similarly, when people come to the waiting - room of a judge, they are welcomed there. In this case, can we say that they do not know about the ethics of judges and how the judge can treat them? Then they apply to the Public Prosecutor's Department and later to the police. They know where they are applying to and what they are applying for. If they apply to the wrong institution they get an explanation where to apply.

CHAIRMAN. The minister G. Balciunas.

G. BALCIUNAS. I would like to add something. Perhaps some problem still remain about the announcement of legal acts, because here in Lithuania acts are announced only in the case when they are confirmed by the State institutions. It can be formulated like this: the Law on Legal Profession is necessarily announced because it is a law; the regulations on legal profession is also announced in the "Valstybes Žinios", because they are adopted in the meeting of lawyers and confirmed by the Minister of Justice. Recommendations about work payment are also announced, for they are approved by the Minister of Justice with regard to the Board of Lawyers. However the ethical rules, though being adopted by the Board of Lawyers itself, have not been announced, as I remember. Though you have mentioned another much bigger problem, that is, the problem about the global legal education.

Legal education is one of the components of the legal system. Unfortunately, in the dimensions of the Legal reform, if you look at them (what was prepared in 1993 and 1998), there is not much said about legal education. If you take a look at our budget and how it is formed, you will not find anything about the money spent for the legal education. We encounter here a huge problem when we ask for money for legal education and when we do not get it, and in our case we do not have many chances without the money. For example, today I am meeting the "11 K" television channel. We are going to make a lawyer show about legal education, nevertheless I do not really know how we are going to set up this television program without any money. Therefore these problems are very actual nowadays, especially problems with legal education. Very important.

CHAIRMAN. Mrs. R. Narušiene..

R. NARUŠIENE. First of all I would like to thank the Chairman of the Supreme Court Mr. V. Greičius for his splendid explanation. You have defined the present legal system very precisely, I guess. We can really congratulate ourselves that the court system has made great progress since the independence of Lithuania. We can therefore congratulate ourselves and boast about this. I agree completely that the system is already operating, though its execution has to be improved a little bit. Thus if we can serve you here as the Committee, please do not be shy, we will try to do our best to help you.

Now I would like to draw your attention to some questions that were raised by Mr. K.Motieka. I am holding now in my hands the Code of the European Union, related to the behavior of lawyers in the European Community. Thus if you are interested and if we could find where copies can be made, I have 11 pages telling us what the European Union requires from other countries that are willing to join the Union. This document really exists. We will, of course, be very pleased to hand you this document in English in order to compare it with your present code. Furthermore, I would like to make some remarks.

I want to make use of your code that was adopted in the meeting of lawyers on May 21, 1999. [Ms. Streeter] has compared the adoption of that code with those requirements of the European Union in order to give you an answer. In addition, I have a copy of the Code of Lawyers in English, if anyone wants it, because we have translated it into English as well. Can I give you a question in order to become more acquainted myself? The Code of lawyers and the Code of their behavior is adopted by the lawyers themselves, as I can see it. They determine their own standards and ethics. Whenever they make a violation, the Society of Lawyers and Advocates has its own court of honor that makes all these decisions. Am I right?

G. BALCIUNAS. In Lithuania we have two different concepts of a 'lawyer' and an 'advocate'.

R.NARUŠIENE. Yes, I can see this.

G. BALCIUNAS. All the lawyers are lawyers and judges, besides, there are determined certain requirements for advocates in order to put them onto the list of advocates. So I did not understand if you were talking about the Society of Advocates or Lawyers?

R. NARUŠIENE. We are talking about advocates. But for me it is important now in the case when someone makes a violation, for example one of advocates, what is the procedure?

K. MOTIEKA. The Board of Advocates considers whether to sue him a case of honor or not. If the case is tried, it is tried in the Court of Honor of Lithuanian Advocates.

R. NARUŠIENE. And what then, if the advocate is not content with that decision? Where does he appeal?

K. MOTIEKA. He appeals to the court.

R. NARUŠIENE. What court? To the Supreme Court?

K. MOTIEKA. Not to the Supreme Court, to the Court of the first instance.

R. NARUŠIENE. Maybe the Chairman of the Supreme Court is willing to answer this question?

V. GREICIUS. What else can I add to the words of Mr. K. Motieka? Every citizen in our country, as well as any advocate that disagrees with a penalty, can appeal to courts of general competence. That is, of course, to the court of general competence, to the court of the first instance, as Mr. K Motieka has described, meaning the court of the lowest level, to the court of regional district and there the problem is solved. If he is not content, please, he can seek further appeal. . .

R. NARUŠIENE. Then he must go through all the courts.

V. GREICIUS. Yes, he must. The same is applied to the violations of judges. If judges are determined to make a violation in their professional activity, or to humiliate the name of judge, or to be careless in work, they are sued in disciplinary cases. By the way, such a disciplinary case can be brought against a judge in our country only by the Chairman of the Supreme Court at the moment. There are some amendments meaning that there will be more officials who will be able to bring a disciplinary case against a judge. Thus a judge in the case of a disagreement with the decision of the Court of Honor -- judges have been an exception in this case so far -- can appeal against this decision to the Senate of the Supreme Court. After deep considerations in this field the Senate of the Supreme Court makes a decision about this problem. Thank you.

R. NARUŠIENE. Can I have one more second? I want to ask about those rules of behavior and the ethical standards. I understand that advocates themselves and the Society determine those rules and ethical standards. Does anyone look over them and confirm them, for example, a court or the Ministry of Justice, or only advocates themselves determine and execute these rules?

K. MOTIEKA. When considering ethical rules, advocates rely on the Law of Lithuanian Legal Profession. It is impossible that these rules did not meet the requirements of the law. These ethical rules pay more attention to the behavior of advocates and so on. However, we do not make more rules out of the scope of our legal profession. And we do not need anyone for their approval. In that case we would lose our self – dependence, which we had been fighting so much for.

R. NARUŠIENE. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN. Further we have Mrs. L. Rugienienė, later on the member of the Seimas N. Ambrazaitytė, and then Mr. Sijo.

L. RUGIENIENE. I will speak very briefly. Since we have here the Chairman of the Supreme Court, I have a question which has always been very important to me, besides, you have already talked about it a little.

In the West they often criticize courts in the post–soviet countries. One of the main reproaches. My question would be, not comparing with the West, where the courts had so much time to develop, for example, if compared with Poland, that has recently been accepted to the European Union and NATO, or with the Czeck Republic, though it has been very criticized lately, or maybe with Hungary, what position the Lithuanian courts rank, in your opinion?

V. GREICIUS. First of all I have to thank you for a great question. I have had the honor to take part and meet with lawyers and colleagues from different countries, most often I have to communicate with the European lawyers, European judges, judges of Supreme Courts, and chairmen of Supreme Courts. The last meeting was last year, in October. In Liubliana, Slovenia there was the fifth conference of the chairmen of Supreme Courts. It was a conference of all the European countries. I took part in all the five conferences. These conferences were during the period when legal systems were in the process of creation, to find out what new and good we could give our court system. What democratic, European, and new systems could we bring to our court system? For, as you already know, we have to break up this Soviet mechanism and structure. It is now being broken up and the law is being created. That is, the Civil Code and the Code of Procedure, the Criminal Code and other codes.

Communicating with my colleagues I also meet representatives of the Supreme Court itself. We have recently welcomed a delegation of German judges together with the officials from the American Democracy Center. During the conversation I discovered an interesting thing. I would say that our country has a unique opportunity to create an advanced court system. A very advanced court system, because the mechanism is being broken up and a new one is being created. Actually, we have brought to our courts what is best in Europe. Of course, by maintaining our originality, which I have mentioned, we have made use of the post – war experience and inter – war experience of Lithuania.

How do they look at us? Talking with Germans, French people and with representatives of the so-called old democratic countries, I could say they look at us with some jealousy. Since we actually are in a unique situation and are able to create an exemplary court system, which has essentially already been done. Moreover, the competence of separate links is arranged as well. I told representatives of the Western countries that your mechanisms and your machine have become old because of conservatism. In Germany for example, or in other countries where this has been in use for a while. They recognize it completely and they speak not accidentally about the reorganization of the French court system as well, as Germany and Great Britain, etc. They now need to repair their machine while we will soon finish our machine.

We lawyers and sometimes politicians argue too much within our country and because of this very often we do not notice what good we have already created. As I have already mentioned, we have indeed created a good system.

L. RUGIENIENE. Thank you very much. We are not able to set up the entire Europe, even if we tried.

CHAIRMAN. Please, welcome the member of the Seimas, N. Ambrazaitytė.

N. AMBRAZAITYTE. I would like to ask a question perhaps to the Honorable G.Balčiūnas, for there were remarks and I think foreigners and foreign lawyers are not quite sure the status in Lithuania and how everything is done. That's the first question. I would like to ask once more. Do Lithuanian judges and advocates have an opportunity to improve, and how this happens? How do they improve, do they go to any lectures, do they communicate with international legal organizations? Are there such relations? Although you have already told us something about legal education. That would be one.

I would like to direct my other question to honorable advocate K. Motieka. At this moment, as we all know, a law has already been approved and signed by the President. The main point is that the procedure can be carried out without presence of the accused in the case of health problems. What do the advocates think of this, because the USA does not have this, or maybe I am mistaken?

G. BALCIUNAS. Thank you for the question. In 1997 the Judge's Educational Center was established. The major part of the premises are in the Supreme Court and part are in the Molėtai district court. As I know, one organization has terminated its work now and another has begun its activity. With help of the invested capital of the United States' government, there was established a computer room having 11 computers where lessons can be constantly carried out. The premises are not bad, the education of judges goes on periodically and all the judges generally take part in this education.

We hold a variety of international conferences, we get a great help from the Fund of German Cooperation Stieftung. With help from this fund we hold international conferences also for neighboring countries, because it is very convenient and they really show a big interest in this. As I have already mentioned, we also organize another conferences. I must say that we have a close relationship with various funds, because the money for the education of judges and other lawyers is not sufficient. We get a great help from the Program of the Development of the United Nations, as I have mentioned . . . and from the Open Lithuanian Fund. Basically all of these donors assure that we are able to educate our judges. What is more, a great number of judges are able to continue their studies in Germany or somewhere else. So there is not a big problem with this.

 

As I understood, the other side of the question was about the private activity of foreign lawyers in Lithuania. This situation is not covered completely. We have already talked to the Board of Advocates and proposed some people to the working group and we are going to try to create a new law on legal profession or to make amendments. We are not eager to create these laws every year and to change the system often. Unfortunately, the country is at such a level that everything is changing very rapidly. The present law does not provide with perfect accounting of direct work in the legal profession. Now we have the Office of Advocates, which leads to a two-fold situation when taxes are calculated to every advocate personally. The Office of Advocates is like a subject, however it does not exist for accountability of taxes and this causes severe problems. Other things also were discussed after the implementation of a new Law on Legal Profession on April 1, 1998. I say 'new', nevertheless, it causes some problems as well. All the lawyers who had a license… And the previous structure was that lawyers who wanted to take up commercial and business law usually had a license and could serve companies. There was a so-called organization of juriconsults. Unfortunately it has been discontinued and actually only the new Law on Legal Profession and its amendments grants an opportunity for those juriconsults who had a license to become an advocate on favorable terms,. Since then, there have been over 300 sworn in as advocates and licensed lawyers who have become advocates. The civil procedure, with certain exceptions, does not need a representative who is not necessarily an advocate in the court, except for the Supreme Court, and the courts of appeal. Unfortunately, according to present rules of business licensing, in order to take up the practice of law, one does not need to have a license or other permission. Despite this, it is not a good and completely established thing.

K. MOTIEKA. May I? Following the theme of the honorable minister I would like to remind you that in 1990 Lithuanian legal profession was accepted in the International Association of Lawyers. For this we should thank the French legal profession. Speaking of present days, at the end of March of this year, a big conference is being organized by Scandinavian advocates, just on the topic of ethical problems. This conference will be held in Stockholm and later on in Helsinki, Finland. We are going to take part. We are not apart from the activity of the European legal profession, we try to involve ourselves more and more, and we want to achieve greater experience.

Now let's move on to the question that you gave me. By all means I am in favor of this law, nevertheless, I am not satisfied with it at the moment, because this law has been adopted despite the fact that according to it an innocent man cannot get his honor back in a case where there has been a wrong accusation. . . Nevertheless, the decision has been adopted but not yet implemented. It means that if a person is innocent, he, by means of this accusation, is humiliated and cannot get his honor back. . . You see, this is a tremendous problem.

You say that the United States does not have such a law. I can completely understand this, nevertheless, let's not forget that Americans have not survived the genocide and that they have completely different conditions. How can such a law exist there? Of course, it would be awful, but still we cannot transfer all this mechanically to those countries that have seen the genocide and the culprits have to be prosecuted. I can see a severe problem in this, I have stated my remarks in written form, I want such a law implemented according to the law, and finally recognized as a law or similarly. If a person cannot take part in a meeting of a court, this is no way an exception. A mental patient, for example, does not take part as well, but in that case cases are tried and compulsory treatment is assigned. It is not necessary for him to take part. There are also some other cases. I think it is not so big problem. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN. Mr. V. Greičius.

V. GREICIUS. I will speak briefly about the education of judges. In my opinion, we should work more in this field. First of all the education of judges is so spontaneous, unplanned, and non-systematic. I think that after graduating from the university it is still too early to become a judge. I think, after the graduation they should take up general concentrated studies, in relation with the future job of a judge.

My second comment is that in order to improve legal education, the mistakes of judges should be analyzed. Some judges make one mistake and others make quite different ones. Thus they do not have the same knowledge about the laws irrespective of whether they are administrative or procedural laws. After the analysis of the mistakes has been made, these judges should be invited and educated in these fields where they make most mistakes.

The third comment is that education must be improved. As I have mentioned, Lithuania now has four levels of court: District, Regional District, Appeal, and Supreme Court. I would say that there is a large basis that does not need any money. The future judges ought to finish their studies by getting more experience and to make use of all the levels in order to see how a case is tried in the first instance and how it is finished in the Supreme Court It would be very useful. At the moment, the Law on Courts only touches on the theme of candidates for judge. It assumes candidates for judgeships for a certain period. Judges usually learn, improve and get prepared for the future job of a judge only in the lowest level. I am not quite in favor of this. I would like to repeat myself once more, this must be worked out more.

CHAIRMAN. Now please welcome . . .

G. BALCIUNAS. … As I have already mentioned, the Educational Center of Judges was established in 1997. Here are the six organizers: the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Association of Judges and three funds. I think in the future this organization will have to be reorganized, since its control with such a number of organizers is becoming impossible. This is one thing.

The other thing is, perhaps we will need… We insist and in any case the Government and the Seimas will have to place in the budget a separate line for the education of judges in order not to go with bags as beggars and not to ask for money that has to be assumed in advance. These programs are made for a year, more precisely they are made by the Educational Center for a year in advance. Of course, later they must be made longer, for some questions arise. In this manner I would say that the Educational Center does good work. Now the only problem is that the Director of the Center is gone His responsibilities have been temporarily given to his assistant, despite this, the Center does work. I personally checked their work last week and know that this week in Molėtai… especially in the computer room. They have registered some people also from Kaunas… As we are informed, nine more judges are coming to learn. They started the educational program on Monday. That's all, I guess. As I see it, we have a huge perspective… However, this organization should be controlled by two separate institutions: the first should be the Ministry of Justice and the other could be either the Supreme Court or the Board of Judges, in other words a legal institution.

CHAIRMAN. Since we are short of time, I will not add any new names to the list. Now please welcome Mr. V. Maciūnas.

V. MACIUNAS. I would like to come back again and to get some explanations… about the ethical rules. If I have understood it right, the ethical rules… and announce, still I have also understood that moving on to… we will need to compare them in order for these rules to be set up. The advocates will announce and give the copies to the Committees of the European Union, nevertheless, the Lithuanian citizens do not have a right to get them. Am I right or not? Why? I am not making comparisons, even if so, why… our… have ethical rules that are the foundation in getting a license for practical activity in our own country. They should be announced in public. I also do not understand that loss of self-dependence, which you have mentioned.

K. MOTIEKA. You see, you have only the rules, but you probably do not have the law. You do not have the Law on Engineers when we have the Law on Legal Profession. The law has been announced and then we created the ethical rules on our own. Without any doubts, if the European Union requires that they were announced we are not hiding them. We can put them on the walls in our offices, in the newspapers, etc., however it does not mean that we keep them in secret.

I would like to add. Sometimes it is confusing. In Lithuania there is a Law on the Validity and Announcement of Legal Acts. All I want to say is that, according to the law institutional post-law documents of the legal profession and standard documents that control the legal activity do not have to be necessarily announced in the "Valstybės Žinios". If they are confirmed by the order of the Minister or somewhere else, then are they announced according to the compulsory order, however by no means they are kept in secret and it is definitely possible to take a look at them. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that the legal activity is controlled by the Law on Legal Profession, as well as by the regulations on Legal Profession, ethical rules of advocates, procedural codes and by other documents. We cannot take separately ethical rules of advocates and look only at them, do you understand? This is the whole system of legal acts and you have to look at it whether these things are controlled or not.

CHAIRMAN. Member of the Seimas, S. Daubaraite.

S. DAUBARAITE. I just wanted to remark about what Mrs. N. Ambrazaitytė was asking – about the adopted law when the accused does not take part in the procedures of the trial. There is such a law, which cannot be found not only in other countries, but in the whole of Europe. Mr. K. Motieka states that there are different conditions. Europe has seen the same things for sure, and these problems have been solved without such a law. This law does not suit the 21st century, especially when a person accused of severe crimes cannot take part in the trial.

K. MOTIEKA. I am sorry. If I may, I will be brief. I completely agree that it is not quite suitable, however, we have to choose the best out of two bad things: the genocide or this law. I think, there cannot be any comparison between the genocide and this law, still we have to do something against criminals. There cannot be an obstacle for this such as prescription or any others. Everyone has to pay for the crime committed. Unlike the European countries that had an opportunity to solve many cases much earlier, we did not have such an opportunity. Today we are delayed only because of the fact that we do not have such a law. This delay is not in favor of the democracy. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Now the last chance for Mrs. R. Narušienė.

R. NARUŠIENE. It is always a pleasure to say the last word. Here again I would like to support the Chairman of the Supreme Court saying that you are right about the fact that Lithuania has an opportunity to create a great legal system, and it is trying to do this now. I congratulate you one more time.

Also I would like to confess that the United States, system is old and requires some reform. Unfortunately, it is sometimes more difficult to carry out this reform under our conditions than under yours, because you have just restored your independence and such an opportunity appeared. Congratulations that you are making use of this opportunity. Now speaking about the ethical rules of advocates, we, that is advocates from other countries encounter a big problem. When our clients in America apply to us and ask us to represent them, we answer that we do not have competence to make this representation in Lithuania and therefore we are willing to hire an advocate from Lithuania. However, when we are not able to find out what your ethical rules are, our cooperation becomes impossible. I had been trying to get these Lithuanian rules of ethics myself for half a year and succeeded in obtaining a copy from the United States Embassy. You know such work is too hard for us. Those rules could be -- as every country has, I think -- written down in a book and not only in Lithuanian, but also in English, German, French, etc., in order to carry on international business and cooperation with foreign lawyers. Otherwise there will not be any business here.

CHAIRMAN. Please, go on.

K. MOTIEKA. You see, if in your opinion it is possible to cooperate on the basis of the ethical rules then I am afraid you are mistaken. Because first of all our foreign colleagues and we should rely on the Law on the Legal Profession of the Lithuanian Republic rather than on the ethical rules. This law controls all the questions, in particular relations with clients as well as among the lawyers or any other institutions, that is, everything. You will get all the answers there. In the ethical rules, on the contrary, there will be written: if an advocate was drunk or if he came to the meeting having a hangover he will be punished in a certain way. So can you decide that if, for example, the punishment is stricter, we will use it and if it is softer we will not?

CHAIRMAN. I think we will finish on this. In my opinion today we have seen that different experience can also influence our reasoning. We see different things differently, I guess. The American Lithuanians, for example, think that if we do something good and prepare the rules that will make us better, we will announce them to the whole world. Here in Lithuania, if the law does not require a certain point we are not so eager to accomplish it. We Lithuanians have scattered throughout the world and have various experience, thus it is useful, I think, to come together, talk a little bit and find out what is being done elsewhere, what is thought about these problems elsewhere, and we could also make use of reasonable points here in Lithuania as well. When we make these things better, as the Chairman of the Supreme Court has told, only then will others be able to learn from us. And it happens surprisingly often, especially when they discover that there are useful things worthy of attention in Lithuania as well. So I would like to end our discussion optimistically, saying that there is always something in all the fields where we can learn and accomplish by cooperating with others. Thank you very much.

 

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