A discussion about the nature of an attorney’s activity — whether it’s services or assistance — can be attributed to the eternal. So, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, am attorney-at-law acts to provide professional legal assistance and is the contract on providing such assistance significantly different from the contract for the provision of services under civil law?
The professional community has been discussing that a lot, but no single solution has been found yet. As both sides of the debate make tentative arguments, and everyone stays with his or her own opinion, there is little meaning in the debate itself.
According to the opinion of our senior associate Tetiana Romanchenko the transformation of the essence of advocacy from assistance as “help”, “support in something” to “legal services” has no practical meaning for the client — the person to whom such assistance or services are provided.
This means that the legislator did not respect the terminological unity while adopting the laws of Ukraine, which leads to problems during the practical implementation of these provisions.
Advocacy is an independent professional activity conducted by an attorney-at-law, aimed at defense, representation and other legal support to a client according to the Law of Ukraine “On the Bar and Practice of Law.” Thus, an attorney-at-law doesn’t provide services under the meaning of, for example, the Law of Ukraine “On Consumer Rights Protection”, but performs advocacy activities, the list of which is specified in the aforementioned specific law of Ukraine. At the same time, the Constitution of Ukraine provides that everyone has the right for legal aid, and in some cases, this assistance is provided free of charge.
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that legal assistance by its nature is a guarantee provided by the Constitution of Ukraine, not a service in its common meaning.
Tatiana Romanchenko, senior associate, exclusively for “Ukrainskyi advocat“