The version of the amendment to the Law on the Bar adopted by Parliament retains greater guarantees for lawyers compared to what is provided by the legislation of European countries. It includes guarantees at the search stage, with provisions that prohibit apprehension and searching of lawyers, except for corruption offenses. This was stated by MP Olesea Stamate, chair of Parliament’s legal commission.
The amendment in question strikes out Art. 2(5), which said that “lawyers may not be apprehended, brought by force, arrested or searched without the prior consent of the Council of the Lawyers’ Union, except when caught in the act of committing a criminal offense”.
Following discussions with the lawyers’ community this week, a compromise was reached, says Stamate, adding that the selected version includes enough guarantees for the lawyers.
The safeguards include limitations on searching, apprehension and arrest, except for acts of bribery or in flagrante delicto. Also, considering that professional secrecy is a fundamental principle for the Bar, an additional guarantee has been introduced which states that searches at a lawyer’s office are only possible in the presence of the president of the respective bar association, or of a counsel of his or her choice.
The amendment was adopted on Friday as the lawyers’ community protested outside the Parliament building. Stamate said she will invite the lawyers to work together to improve the legislation and introduce further safeguards in the Code of Criminal Procedure.