New Amendments, Now Related to Attorney’s Fee

Resolution of the Council of the Belarusian Republican Bar Association No. 05/08 of 27.07.2022 approved new Methodological recommendations on the fee for legal assistance provided by attorneys to citizens.

In particular, clause 3.14 was added, extending a mandate of the Head of legal advice office regarding the control of attorneys’ fees. Thus, under the new rules, the head of the legal consultation carries out constant monitoring of attorneys’ compliance with the Rules of Professional Ethics when determining the amount of the fee. And "when circumstances are revealed indicating that legal assistance fee does not correspond to the volume, complexity and quality of work", the head of the legal consultation does not approve the report on the legal aid provided. They transmit the documents and information about the attorney to the council of the territorial bar association, where the decision is to be made whether the attorney's actions constitute a violation of the Rules of professional Ethics.

This mandate of the head of legal advice office clearly contradicts the principle of attorney-client privilege, since such control is impossible without disclosing the client's personal data, the nature of the assistance provided to the client and related information. One can assume the nature of the preconditions for such amendments: in addition to the ability to control attorney’s maximum income limit, most likely, the introduction of such amendments was influenced by the activities of lawyers during and after the 2020 elections, when the practice of providing legal assistance for 1 rouble or for a minimum price to victims of repression and violence during the days of protests was frequent.

It should be noted that the idea of pressure on attorneys through the establishment of minimum and maximum fees is not new: a similar one was applied in the early 80s of the last century in Poland in the "Solidarity" times. You can find more information about the functioning of the Polish bar at that time in our material (written in Russian).

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