Mission & History

Mission & History

MISSION

• The Kosovo Bar Association has the main purpose of advancing the rule of law in Kosovo, supporting the process of legal reform. It will continue to be on a mission to improve justice.

• The KBA will promote a fuller and equal access to legal representation for all persons regardless of economic and social conditions. These efforts will include especially minorities, women and people with disabilities. The community will benefit from the efforts of the Association to strengthen the administration of justice, expand understanding and respect for the law and legal institutions.

• The Association will engage in raising public awareness and respect for the law, legal procedures and the role of the legal profession in the protection of legal standards. It will increase efforts to preserve, promote and advance the ideals of justice and the dedication of the public service profession.

• The Association will establish high standards of professionalism, competence, trust and ethical behavior for lawyers in Kosovo. It is constantly committed to improving the professional preparation of members, to take care of their equipment with important information on practicing the profession.

• The Association will provide benefits, programs and services that help enhance professionalism and enhance the quality of professional life of its members. It will assist members in communicating with the courts and administration bodies as well as other authorities established in Kosovo, be put in the defense of its members in cases of unjust treatment by the authorities.

• The Association considers permanent commitments to maintaining the independence of the legal profession and judicial power as the foundations of a free and democratic society.

Short story

Kosovo Bar Association (KBA) is a self-governing, democratic advocacy organization that acts as an independent state body. The Kosovo Parliament established the Kosovo Bar Association (hereafter "KBA") after the Law on Advocacy and Other Legal Assistance (promulgated in the Official Newspaper of Kosovo No. 43/73, Amendments 46/77, .1979 GZ 48/79). The first lawyer was registered in 1974. However, the first beginnings of advocacy and legal aid in Kosovo are encountered shortly before the start of the Second World War. At that time with the lawyer's services, the late dead, Hivzi Sylejmani, was also working as well. During War II, in the part of the territory of Kosovo, which was under the Albanian government installed by Italy, in which Prishtina was part, was covered by the court system, established by the same government. During this time the lawyering was practiced by several attorneys from present Albania and another attorney from Tetovo, who worked in Ferizaj (then Tasjan) and professor Sokol Dobroshi was his intern. The first Albanian lawyer registered after the Second War was Zeqë Arni, a doom of Kosovo lawyer. He was enrolled in O. Yugoslavia, as Kosovo had no advocacy organization. Later, after him, Hasan Kryeziu, Mehmet Dushku, Bajram Kelmendi, Latif Krasniqi, all from Prishtina, Adem Bajri, Mikel Marku and Mustafë Radoniqi from Peja, have signed up and started practicing the profession of licensed lawyer. Following the deployment of UNMIK's international administration in June 1999, judicial institutions were re-established in Kosovo (pursuant to UNMIK Regulation 1999/24 On the Applicable Law in Kosovo). International organizations that have been working in Kosovo (OSCE, ABA / CEELI, EAR and Council of Europe) re-established the KBA after the war and its first assembly was held immediately in 1999. In order for a person to practice of the lawyer he / she should be a member of the KBA.

The legal framework

The Legal Framework for the action of the KBA complies with the Law on Advocacy Law no. 04 / L-193 of 31 May 2013, which repeals the Law on Advocacy and Other Legal Aid, Official Newspaper of SAPK, no. 011-69 / 79. This law at the Annual Assembly of KBA held in April 2004 approved the new Law on Advocacy. In August 2004, the Parliament of Kosovo had in principle approved the proposed Law on Advocacy, whereas in autumn of the same year it was sent to the SRSG for signature. Whereas, on 31 May 2013, came into force the Law on Advocacy with Law no. 04 / L-193.

Important Tasks / Mission

A basic Association's mission is specifically defined and subject to the requirements of lawmakers related to its role in the legal system and the mandatory legal membership of lawyers. The Association itself has the primary purpose of advancing the rule of law by supporting the process of legal reform. Its fair mission will make the Association the principal spokesman for legal justice, the legal profession and the rule of law. It will continue to be on a mission to improve justice. The basic role that the KBA has in the functioning of the justice profession places it one of the main goals of the mission - to promote a fuller and equal access to legal representation for all persons regardless of economic and social conditions. These efforts will include especially minorities, women and people with disabilities. The community will benefit from the efforts of the Association to strengthen the administration of justice, expand understanding and respect for the law and legal institutions. The Association will have its permanent aim to increase public recognition and respect for the law, legal procedures and the role of the legal profession in the protection of legal standards. It has a permanent mission and a consolidated standard of efforts to preserve, promote and advance the ideals of justice and the dedication of the legal profession to the public service.

The Association should set high standards of professionalism, competence, trust and ethical behavior. The position of the Association itself as an obligatory professional organization of lawyers places it in reports of the mandatory organization of its members. However, another approach to this is necessary, because the establishment of permanent membership services will eventually bring the Association back to its members. It should improve the professional preparation of member advocates; to take care of their equipment with important information on practicing the profession. The Association will provide benefits, programs and services that help enhance professionalism and enhance the quality of life of its members. It should assist members in communicating with the courts and administration bodies as well as other authorities established in Kosovo; be put in the defense of its members in cases of unjust treatment by the authorities. The Association considers permanent intentions to maintain the independence of the legal profession and judicial power as the foundation of the free and democratic society.

Organizing the KBA

The KBA Statute (with Assembly amendments of 19/09/2009), which is the highest normative act, provides for a full internal self-organization for the Association. According to the Statute, the Association is an independent law firm established by law. The Association represents Kosovo's lawyer. KBA is composed of organs and officials such as: Assembly which is composed of all registered and licensed lawyers; The President, with a two-year term; The Steering Council, which consists of 11 members serving for a two-year term; The Supervisory Council; KBA Assembly Appeals Committee. The Statute builds a wholly independent system of advocate discipline, which consists of bodies assessing responsibility for violations of ethical rules. The Assembly is made up of all lawyers registered in the KBA lawyers' register. The regular meeting of the Assembly of the Association is held once a year and is called by the President of the KBA. The Extraordinary Meeting of the Assembly calls on the Steering Council, on its own initiative, on the request of 1/3 of its members or the request of at least three Regional Branches of Lawyers. The Assembly of the Association approves, amongst other things, the Statute of the Association and the Code of Professional Ethics for Lawyers, elects and dismisses the President and the Vice President; examines all matters pertaining to the conduct of the advocacy activity and the position of advocacy; approves the fee for rewards and compensation of expenses for the work of lawyers, debates, takes positions and decisions regarding the work of the Association, co-operation and membership with other local and international institutions and associations.

The President of the Association signed the decisions and other acts approved by the Assembly. The association has a deputy chairman whose mandate lasts four years. The Board of Directors of the Association consists of the President of the Associaiton, the Vice Chairman, the former Chairman, an external member and 7 members who are also representatives of the Regional Branches. The Steering Council: implements decisions of the Assembly, decides on the registration in the association of Association attorneys, decides on the registration of intern lawyers and their settlement from the register, decides and gives recommendations and proposals of general interest for the exercise of law, conducts financial affairs of the Association takes care of the advancement of the Association's cooperation in other countries and with other professional associations; publishes the Association bulletin. The Council is chaired by the President of the Association, who convenes his meetings. The Steering Council decides by majority vote of the members. The President of the Association: represents and presents the Association, calls and chairs the meetings of the Assembly and the Steering Council. The president answers to the Assembly for it’s work. The mandate of the President of the Association lasts two years, with the right of reelection for one mandate.

Territorial Organization / Regional Branches of the KBA

Regional Branches of Lawyers are forms of territorial organization and activity of the Kosovo Bar Association, which under the conditions established by law are established according to the KBA Statute, Regional Rallies are organized according to regions that correspond to the territorial scope of Courts Fundamental, according to the body of the Kosovo judicial system, respectively the Regional Branch in: Prishtina, Mitrovica, Peja, Prizren, Gjilan, Gjakova and Ferizaj. Regional Branches for Attorneys Resident in Their Regions Protect the Rights and Interests of Attorneys and Practitioners Advocates in Their Region Examine the Issues Related to Exercising Attorney Profession in Their Region Care for Members' Well-Being, Their Needs Assistance and family members as well as employees in advocacy offices when they have faced material and material difficulties, debate, take the position and initiate and make proposals for all matters from the scope of the KBA and its bodies, Branch members Regional are all lawyers who have their headquarters in the region for which the Branch is formed.

Membership / Licensing

The KBA is the only authority for licensing lawyers in Kosovo as an integral part of the justice system. Licensing can be claimed by any citizen of Kosovo, regardless of who has previously obtained the necessary professional qualifications. Although there are no legal restrictions on practicing the profession, the registration in the past consisted in a bureaucratic verification that the candidate fulfills the conditions for registration. This procedure does not include any prior verification of the recognition of rules of ethics and professional preparation. Now the registration process in the KBA lawyers' register is transformed into a process of licensing, which, in addition to formal conditions, a candidate who does not have 3 years of work experience as a lawyer, judge or prosecutor is subject to an Inquiry Test, which verifies his knowledge of the rules ethical and professional knowledge.

Before the armed conflict during 1998-1999, the multiethnic association numbered about 600 members. Upon the arrival of the UN Interim Administration (June 1999), with strong international support, the KBA on April 27, 2001 held the re-establishment Assembly. At that time, KBA counted about 106 members. However, since the reorganization of the jurisprudence exam, which was a condition for entry into the profession, in December 2001, KBA membership increased. In January 2004, 300 lawyers attended the KBA. In March 2007, the Kosovo Bar Association Advocates has counted 453 licensed lawyers in its register, out of which only 44 are women lawyers (10%), 37 (or 8%) are from minority communities (out of 24 lawyers from the Serb community, 7 lawyers from the Bosnian community and 6 lawyers from the Turkish community). Whereas, in September 2011, the Kosovo Bar Association has counted a total of 603 licensed lawyers in its register, of which only 65 of them are women lawyers (11%) 40 (or 7%) are from the other community (of them : 28 lawyers from the Serb community, 2 lawyers from the Bosnian community, 4 lawyers from the Turkish community and 6 foreign lawyers). Under external influences, the Association has been forced to build certain facilities to promote the entry into the profession of certain groups: members of minorities and women.

Discipline system

Since the establishment of the Kosovo Bar Association there was an ethical framework and a system of discipline based on the principles of discipline itself. After the war, the professional ethics system was radically changed and changed accordingly and changed legal environment in Kosovo. The new Code of Professional Ethics established a comprehensive system of ethics rules that sanction mutual attorneys' reports, client advocacy reports, reports with the organization - Association and Courts. The disciplinary system now consists of the Disciplinary Bureau of theAssociation, which consists of the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, the Disciplinary Committee and the Appeals Commission.

The system expands the number of subjects that may initiate disciplinary proceedings against the lawyer, while the implementation of the investigation and disciplinary prosecution is carried out by the Disciplinary Counsel by establishing sufficient guarantees for fair, impartial and effective disciplinary procedures. As designed, the new system seems to be a good setting for cooperative choices and experiences in Kosovo's circumstances. The new practice demonstrates the ability of this system to be effective and ethical. With the implementation of the new disciplinary system, advocacy is promoted as a professional, competent, trustworthy and ethical service.

Activities

In any legal system, lawyers' associations play a fundamental role in the functioning of the legal system by providing significant benefits to membership, profession and the community. Particularly these associations play in protecting and strengthening the administration of justice, extending the understanding and implementation of law and institutions and identifying efforts for the necessary legal changes. Compulsory advocacy organizations everywhere set and apply professional and ethical standards. Membership, legal profession and community are the main circle of the KBA, which represents the circle of action and its activities. Thus, the Association is provided with the community, other law enforcement branches and its membership. Meeting the needs and demands of the beneficiaries from the district, the Association develops the bulk of the activity, fulfills the mission, assures development and affirms itself.

Membership Services

Membership is at the center of the Association's activity. The Association protects the vital interests of the members, develops the conditions for the independent exercise of the activity, cares for their fair treatment in the legal proceedings by engaging in an environment that will enable the members a worthy one. The attorneys themselves are organized and united to the KBA for this purpose - to express and defend their professional interests. The Association has implemented special mentoring and generational training programs.

• Project for Practitioners - Begun on February 1, 2002, with the aim of enabling young lawyers to pursue the legal profession and create the conditions to undergo the jurisprudence examination in order to determine their future profession.

• The Legal Aid Project - the European Agency for Reconstruction and the Kosovo Bar Association on 15 April 2001, cooperated for the realization of a free legal aid program. This contract has continued until June 2004. The purpose of this project is to organize an existing gaps in the existing legal system regarding the provision of Free Legal Aid in the Civil and Administrative Field, and so enable citizens in a special economic situation to benefit from the professional services of lawyers in civil litigation in the courts and administrative affairs of the administration bodies in Kosovo.

• Continuous Legal Education Program (CLE) - It was built in cooperation with Partners to raise the level of professional competence and practical skills of its members. The program aims to expand professional knowledge, develop practical skills and strengthen professional ethics. At the foundations of this project is the aim for continuous improvement of legal services. In 2009 with the entry into force of the new law on the lawyer, respectively with the approval of the Rule on Continuous Legal Education, CLE becomes mandatory for lawyers in Kosovo. For the maintenance of the license, the lawyers are obliged to meet certain credits within the year envisaged by this regulation.

• Ethics and Discipline Programs - The Association, at the beginning of 2003, established the Committee on Ethics and Discipline, with the aim of reforming the Code of Ethics and Discipline of Lawyers and the Disciplinary System as a whole. The Committee, in co-operation with ABA CEEL, continuously reviewing the Code of Ethics and the Disciplinary System has achieved full reform of the ethics framework and the construction of a completely new system of advocacy discipline. Along with these, a whole set of programs, others benefiting members of the association, are implemented by special committees. The needs and requirements of the members represent the main guide of the Association's activities and programs. Now professional ethics occupies 30% of the annual Compulsory Legal Education Program as well as the Attorney's Inquiry Test.

Legal Professionals Services

Being part of the justice system, the Association has almost imposed and it is necessary to communicate with other branches of this system. Furthermore, from the organization and activities of the Association, benefit other legal profession and state administration bodies, the Association has deepened its cooperation, especially the cooperation with the KJA and the KPS in order to promote the ideals of justice, judicial transparency and fair procedures. A solid activity of over a year has been developed by the KBA in cooperation with these associations in combating corruption and corrupt phenomena in the Kosovo justice system.

For the Community

Being an activity of special social interest, from the Association's activities benefit even the broader sections of society, not just its members. The wider community benefits from such an independent professional advocacy organization, like KBA it is. The Association is involved in Free Legal Aid Programs, then community legal awareness programs, clinical learning programs for law students, etc.

Cooperation activities

KBA has implemented cooperation programs and other legal non-governmental organizations, such as: ABA/ROLI ( formerly known as ABA – CEELI), UNDP, European Commission, OSCE- Mission in Kosovo, The Faculty of Law of the University of Prishtina, Center for Human rights of UP, UNICEF, USAID, Twinning Project, Kosovo Legal Center, Legal Aid Commission, etc.

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