Mission & History

Mission

  • The Chamber's main purpose is the promotion of the rule of law by supporting the reform process. She is the chief legal spokesman of legal profession and rule of law. She continually would be in mission of justice improvement.
  • KCA will promote a more comprehensive approach and equal legal representation for all persons regardless of economic and social conditions. Those efforts will include particularly minorities,omen and disabled persons. The community will benefit from efforts of KCA for strengthening the administration of justice, expansion of understanding and respect for law and legal institutions.
  • The Chamber will have its own order for the permanent increase public recognition and respect for law, legal procedures and the role of the legal profession in protecting legal standards. She will increase efforts to preserve, promote and advance the ideals of justice and dedication the public service and legal profession.
  • The Chamber will set high standards of professionalism, competence, trust and ethical conduct. She was constantly engaged to the professional preparation of advocate’s members; to take care of their equipment with information relevant to the exercise of the profession.
  • The Chamber will provide benefits, programs and services which assist the establishment and growth of the professional quality of professional life of their members. She will help members in communication with courts and administrative bodies and other authorities located in Kosovo; to put the protection of its members in cases of unfair treatment by authorities.
  • The Chamber considers the goals of permanent commitments to preserving the independence of the legal profession and judicial power as fundaments of free and democratic society.
  • This mission presents the guide and goal of a permanent leading structure of KCA. He as such should know from any members of the Chamber and to become known by community. The Chamber activities should be conducted in accordance with its mission.

(I) A brief history

Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA) is a democratic self-governed organisation of Kosovar lawyers functioning independently from state bodies. The Parliament of Kosovo established Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA), following adoption of the Law on Advocacy and Other Legal Assistance (published in the Official Gazette of Kosovo no. 43/73, amendments OG. 46/77, clear text 19.12.1979 OG. 48/79). The first lawyer was registered in 1974. But the first activities and legal aid in Kosovo were recorded before the Second World War. At that time, the late Hivzi Sylejmani conducted advocacy services. During the World War II, in the area of Kosovo territory which was under Albanian governance installed by Italy, and where Prishtina was included, the court system was functional, established by the same above mentioned government. Over this period of time advocacy was exercised by some lawyers from Albania as well as one lawyer from Tetova, who was working in Ferizaj (at that time known as Tasjan) and his apprentice was professor Sokol Dobroshi. The first registered Albanian lawyer after World War II was Zeqë Arni, a promoter of Kosovar advocacy. He was registered in the Chamber of Advocates of Yugoslavia, since Kosovo did not have its’ own organisation of advocates. Other lawyers were registered in the meantime, and they exercised the profession of licensed lawyers including Hasan Kryeziu, Mehmet Dushku, Bajram Kelmendi, Latif Krasniqi, all of them from Prishtina, Adem Bajri, Mikel Marku and Mustafë Radoniqi, from Peja, etc. Following the settlement of international administration of UNMIK in June 1999, the judicial institutions were re-established in Kosovo (in accordance with the Regulation 1999/24 On the Applicable Law in Kosovo). International organisations which had been operating in Kosovo (OSCE, ABA/CEELI, AER and Council of Europe) re-established KCA after the war, and its first meeting was held in 1999. In order for a person to perform the profession of a lawyer, he/she has to be a member of KCA.

(II) Legal Framework

The legal framework for KCA activities constitutes the Law on Advocacy No. 03/ L-117 dated 12th February 2009, which repeals the Law on Advocacy and Other Legal Aid, Official Gazette of SAPK, no. 011-69/79. In the Annual Assembly of KCA held in April 2004, this law was adopted from the new draft law on Advocacy. In August 2004 Kosovo Parliament had also approved in principle the proposed Law on Advocacy, whereas in autumn of the same year it was submitted to the SRSG for signature. The Law on Advocacy has not met the best standards, and bearing a range of weaknesses following a 5 years period of waiting for SRSG to sign, it was announced by the Decision from the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo, no. 03-V-085, dated 12th February 2009.

(III) Important tasks / Mission

The core mission of KCA has been determined in particular manner and is also subject to requests from lawmakers.  It is also related with its role to the legal system and to the legal mandatory membership of the lawyers. The Chamber itself aims as its main goal the advancement of the rule of law by supporting the process of legal reforms. Its fair mission is going to make the Chamber as the main spokesperson of the lawful justice, legal profession and the rule of law. It will continuously be in the mission of justice enhancement. The main role which KCA has in the functioning of the justice profession, brings forward to it one of the main goals of the mission to encourage a comprehensive and equal approach to legal representation for all people regardless of the economic and social conditions. These efforts will particularly cover minorities, women and persons with disabilities. The community is going to benefit from the efforts of the Chamber in strengthening justice administration, broadening the meaning and compliance with the law and legal institutions. The Chamber will maintain its permanent goal towards increasing the public awareness and respect for law, legal procedures and the role of the legal profession towards the protection of legal standards. It has an enduring mission and consolidated standards for the efforts of maintaining, promoting and enhancing the justice ideals and the commitment of the legal profession to the public service.

The Chamber must set high standards of professionalism, competency, trust and ethical behaviour. The position of the Chamber itself as a professionally obliged lawyers’ organisation, sets it into a situation of mandatory organisation of its members. However, a different approach related to this is necessary because the setting up of permanent services for the membership of the Chamber would finally direct it towards its members. It must improve the professional preparation of member lawyers; it must be in charge of providing them with important information in order to perform their profession. The Chamber will acquire benefits, programs and services which are going to support the professional capacity building and to increase the quality of its members’ lifestyles. It must assist the members in their communication with the courts and administrative bodies and other authorities established in Kosovo; it must stand for protection of its members in cases of unjust treatment by the authorities. The Chamber considers as its permanent aim its engagements for the protection of independence of the legal profession and the judiciary system as foundations of free and democratic society.

(IV) Organisation of KCA

KCA statute (as amended by the Assembly on 19/09/2009) being a normative act of the highest level, ensures a full internal self-organisation of the Chamber. According to the Statute, the Chamber is an independent organisation of advocates established in compliance with the law. The Chamber represents the advocacy in Kosovo. KCA consists of its bodies and officials as follows: The Assembly consists of all registered and licensed lawyers; the President, with a two year mandate; the Steering Board, which consists of 11 members serving a three year mandate; the Supervisory Board; the Complaint Committee within KCA Assembly. The Statute builds an entirely independent system for lawyers’ disciplining, consisting of bodies which evaluate the accountability of the violation of ethics’ rules. The assembly consists of all registered KCA lawyers. The regular meeting of the Chamber Assembly is held once a year and is convened by the KCA President. Extraordinary meetings of the Assembly are organised by the Steering Board, with its initiative, based on the request of 1/3 of its members or following the request of at least three regional Branches of lawyers. Chamber Assembly, besides other matters, approves the Statute of the Chamber and the Code of Professional Ethics of the lawyers, appoints and dismisses the President and Deputy President; reviews all matters related to carrying out the activity and position of advocacy; approves award and compensation tariffs of expenditures for the work of the lawyers, debates, makes decisions and sets positions related to work progress of the Chamber, the cooperation with the members and other local and international institutions and associations.

The President of the Chamber signs decisions and other acts adopted by the Assembly. The Chamber also consists of its deputy Presidents whose mandate lasts for four years. The Chamber Steering Board consists of the President of the Chamber, deputy President, previous President, an external member and 7 representative members of the regional Branches. The Steering Board implements decisions rendered by the Assembly, decides in relation to the registration in the registry of advocates of the Chamber, decides on the registration of advocate interns and their removal from the registry, decides on and makes recommendations and proposals of general interest for advocacy performance, directs the financial business of the Chamber and promotes the progress of the Chamber’s cooperation with other countries and professional associations; publishes the bulletin of the Chamber. The Steering Board is led by the President of the Chamber who convenes the meetings of this body. The Steering Board decides based on its members’ majority votes. The President of the Chamber represents the Chamber, convenes and chairs the Assembly and Steering Board’s meetings. He reports to the Assembly about his work performance. The mandate of the President of the Chamber lasts for two years with the possibility of re-appointment for one more additional mandate.

Territorial Organisation / KCA Regional Branches

Regional branches of advocates are forms of territorial and activity organisation of Kosovo Chamber of Advocates, which are established in compliance with the Statute of KCA under conditions foreseen by law. Regional meetings are organised by the regions which correspond to the territorial extension of District Courts, as per the organisation of Kosovo judicial system, respectively the regional branches; Prishtina, Mitrovica, Peja, Prizren, Gjilan , Gjakova and Ferizaj. Regional branches for advocates with their main offices in their regions protect the rights and interests of the lawyers and interns in their region, review the problems related to performing the profession of advocacy in their respective regions, they promote their members’ wellbeing, their own and their family members’ required assistance, as well as the employees in the lawyers’ offices, in cases when they face up with material and living difficulties, they debate, take decisions on initiatives and raise proposals for all matters under the scope of KCA and its bodies. Regional Branch members are all lawyers with their main offices in the regions where the Branch has been established.

(V) Membership / Licensing

KCA is the only lawyers’ licence authority in Kosovo as an integral part of the justice system. Licensing may be alleged by any Kosovo citizen, without any distinction, by previously having acquired all necessary professional qualifications. Although there are no legal limitations at performing the profession, in the past the registration was subject to a bureaucratic verification requiring the candidate to meet the registration conditions. This procedure does not involve any prior verification of knowing the rules of ethics and professional qualification. Now the process of registering lawyers in KCA is converted into a Licensing process which involves an Admission Test for all applicants who do not have a 3 years working experience as lawyers, judges or prosecutors; thus the knowledge of the candidate regarding the rules of ethics and professional knowledge is verified.

Prior to the armed conflict in the period of 1998-1999 the multiethnic Chamber listed around 600 members. Following the arrival of UN interim administration (June 1999), with a powerful international support, on 27th April 200, KCA held its re-establishment assembly. At that time KCA counted around 106 members. KCA membership has marked an increase since December 2001 with the reorganisation of Bar exam, which is assessed as the condition for entering into this profession. 300 lawyers were registered in KCA in January 2004. In March 2007 Kosovo Chamber of Advocates counted 453 licensed lawyers in total in its registry; out of this number only 44 lawyers are females (10%),  37 (or 8%) are from minority communities (24 lawyers are of Serbian nationality, 7 lawyers are of Bosnian community and 6 lawyers are of Turkish community). However, in September 2011 Kosovo Chamber of Advocates counted 603 licensed lawyers in total in its registry; out of this number only 65 lawyers are females (11%), 40 (or 7%) are from other communities (28 lawyers are of Serbian nationality, 2 lawyers are of Bosnian community, 4 lawyers are of Turkish community and 6 are foreign lawyers). Due to the external influence, the Chamber necessarily had to provide a range of facilities for encouraging certain groups of people (members of minorities and women) to join into this career.

(VI) System of discipline

There is an ethical framework and a discipline system embedded in the principles of disciplining from the constitution of KCA.  After the war the system of professional ethics improved and underwent tremendous modifications in accordance with the circumstances and the legal environment as modified in Kosovo. Although the New Code of Professional Ethics set up an entire system of rules of ethics sanctioning mutual relations of lawyers,  and then continuing with the relations of the lawyer with the client, relations with the organisation – the Chamber and with the courts, yet the system of discipline continued to be maintained the same. Although the Chamber on one hand approved one Code of Ethics which ensures satisfactory ethical standards, it did not manage to set up a system which would efficiently supervise and follow up an adherence to these standards. Now the new system of discipline consists of the Disciplinary Office of the Chamber consisting of the Investigation Disciplinary Commission, Disciplinary Review Committee and the Complaints Commission, whose members are appointed by the KCA Assembly upon the KCA Steering Board proposal. The mandate of disciplinary office lasts for three years with a possibility of re-appointment. The new system expands the number of entities which can institute a disciplinary procedure against a lawyer, also setting the required guarantee for fair, unbiased and effective disciplinary procedures. It seems that the new system, as it has been designed, is quite adaptable to choices and cooperative experiences in Kosovo circumstances. New practice explains the ability of this system to manipulate with new rules of ethics. By implementing the new disciplinary system, the chances for the advocacy to be finally promoted as a professional, competent, trustful and ethical service are becoming realistic.

(VII) Activities

In every legal system, lawyer associations play a significant role in functioning of the legal system by providing important benefits for the membership, profession and for the community. These associations play a special role in protection and strengthening of the justice administration, expanding understanding and law enforcement in the institutions, by identifying various necessary legal efforts. No matter where obligatory lawyer organisations set and implement professional and ethical standards. Membership, legal profession and the community is the key KCA environment which also represents its scope of action and activities. So the Chamber gets closer to the community, other branches of law enforcement and its membership. The Chamber carries out its major part of activities, fulfils the mission, ensures development and promotes itself by meeting the needs and requirements of beneficiaries around.

a. Membership services

Membership is in the centre of Chamber’s activity. The Chamber protects the substantial interests of its members, develops conditions for independent performance of activities, it promotes their fair treatment in legal procedures by engaging itself for an environment which would enable its members a proper treatment. In KCA the lawyers are organised and united for this purpose – to express and at the same time to protect their professional interests. The Chamber has implemented special programs for mentoring and building capacities of new generations.

  • Interns Project – Commenced its implementation on 1st February 2002 aiming the training of new jurists for performing the legal profession, and creating conditions to sit the Bar exam in order for them to be determined in performing their profession in the future.
  • Legal Assistance Project – On 15th April 2001 European Agency for Reconstruction and Kosovo Chamber of Advocates cooperated in the development of legal aid program at no cost. This contract continued until June 2004. The aim of implementing this project was to properly cover the existing gaps in the legal system at that time, mainly focused on the provision of Free Legal Aid in the Civil and Administrative field as well, and thus enabling citizens with specific economic conditions to benefit from the lawyers’ professional services in civil disputes in the courts and in administrative issues with administrative bodies in Kosovo.
  • Continuous Legal Education Program (CLEP) – Has been built in cooperation with the Partners for the increase of professional competence level and practical skills of its members. The program aims at broadening the professional knowledge, development of practical skills and strengthening the professional ethics. In the foundations of this Project lays the aim for continuous improvement of legal services. In 2009, with the new law on advocacy entering into force, respectively following the adoption of the Regulation on Continuous Legal Education - CLE becomes mandatory for the lawyers in Kosovo. They are obliged to take a certain number of credits within a year foreseen by this regulation in order to be able to maintain the lawyer’s licence.
  • Ethics and Discipline Programs – At the beginning of 2003 the Chamber founded the Ethics and Discipline Committee, aiming at reforming the Code of Ethics and Discipline of the lawyers and the Disciplinary System in general. The Committee in cooperation with ABA CEEL have continuously reviewed the Code of Ethics and the disciplinary system thus achieving a full reform of the ethics framework and building an entirely new disciplining system for the lawyers. Along with it, a series of other programs have been developed for the benefit of Chamber members implemented by specific Committees. Needs and requests of the members introduce the main roadmap of activities and programs of the Chamber. Now the professional ethics occupies 30% of the annual program for Continuous Mandatory Legal Education and the Admission Test for the lawyers.

b. Services for legal profession

The Chamber, being a part of the justice system, is almost obliged to and deems necessary the communication with other branches of this system. Furthermore, other state administrative bodies of legal profession benefit from the organisation and activities of the Chamber. The Chamber has advanced its cooperation especially with KJA and KPA with the aim of promoting justice ideals, judicial transparency and fair procedures. Compressed several month activities were developed by KCA in cooperation with these associations in combating the corruption and corruptive occurrences in Kosovo justice system.

c. For the community

The activity of the Chamber, being an activity particularly of a social interest, offers benefits to the wider segments of the society and not only its members. The wide community benefits from an independent professional organisation of advocates such as KCA. The Chamber is involved in Free Legal Aid Programs, followed by community legal awareness programs, clinical study programs for law students etc.

d. Cooperation activities

KCA has implemented cooperation programs with other organisations and associations and non-governmental organisations in the legal profession, like: ABA/ROLI (earlier known as ABA-CEELI), UNDP, NCSC, Council of Europe, European Commission, OSCE – Mission in Kosovo, Faculty of Law in Prishtina University, Human Rights Centre in PU, UNICEF, USAID, Twinning Project, Kosovo Law Centre, Legal Assistance Commission etc.

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