Bar Association. Protest measures against the change in status are already in place


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Protests in front of the courts, and the sending out of letters and statements of protest by lawyers are just some of the protest measures taken since Thursday by the Ordre des avocats.

As the government has not given in on the changes to the law on proper acts, following the modification of the lawyers’ statutes, the Portuguese Bar Association (OA) will immediately implement a series of measures in protest. These measures, which range from protests before the courts to the sending of letters and even declarations of protest by lawyers, were approved at the Extraordinary General Meeting on June 6.

“Through these measures, OA intends not only to express its vehement opposition to this government proposal, but also to alert public opinion to the danger it represents for the democratic rule of law, for justice and for the defense of the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens and companies”, OA stresses.

In a statement, OA declares that the Ministry of Justice’s refusal to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Clean Acts Act is not accompanied by any “valid” and “reasonable” motivation, “particularly with regard to the defense of citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees”.

On Thursday, the government approved the diploma amending the statutes of 12 professional associations, bringing them into line with what is stipulated in the legal regime for the creation, organization and operation of public professional associations.

The bill, approved by the Council of Ministers, will be submitted to Parliament and amends the statutes of the Order of Dentists, the Order of Doctors, the Order of Engineers, the Order of Notaries, the Order of Nurses, the Order of Economists, the Order of Architects, the Order of Technical Engineers, the Order of Pharmacists, the Order of Lawyers, the Order of Chartered Accountants and the Order of Solicitors and Enforcement Agents.

But what specific measures has OA taken to oppose the government’s decision?
One of these measures is to send an open letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula Van Der Leyen, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Prime Minister, António Costa. The letter is intended to denounce what OA considers to be a “very serious attack on the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens and companies, and an unspeakable attack on Professional Associations”. Any lawyer can subscribe to this letter.

Another of the measures is a demonstration outside the courts on June 19, at 1.30pm, in the Campus de la Justice, for one hour, in the presence of the President of the OA and all lawyers who wish to join. The aim is to delay the start of the procedural stages. Further dates and comarcas will be announced.

Among the protest measures is also the presence of Fernanda de Almeida Pinheiro in the act of distribution of the processes, writing the protest in the minutes.

Each lawyer will also present, in at least five cases in which they are involved, a protest statement asking the judge to write to António Costa, Justice Minister Catarina Sarmento e Castro and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The objective of this action is “respect for the autonomy of OA, as an association of citizen lawyers who do not accept being functionarized by the State”, and “respect for the current legal enumeration of acts specific to lawyers, to the exclusion of lawyers registered with OA, as a form of respect for the defense of citizens and their Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees”.

Finally, they will make full use of the one-hour time limit granted by article 4, no. 4 of administrative rule no. 10/2008, dated 03/01, so that lawyers who are called on appeal only appear before the court at the end of this time limit.

The statutes of the professional associations are currently being revised following the amendment of the law governing these institutions, some of which have already expressed their opposition to the changes, including OA.


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