Kosovo: Promoting Ethics and Professionalism in the Practice of Law

On January 1, 2014, the new Disciplinary Regulation of the Kosovo Bar Association entered into force, establishing a more efficient and transparent disciplinary system to enforce ethics and standards of conduct among members. Under the new system, complaints for breach of professional ethics by lawyers will be investigated and prosecuted by an independent Disciplinary Prosecutor. To ensure continued public awareness of complaint mechanisms following these changes, the KBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Center for Legal Aid and Regional Development (CLARD) in February and will soon launch a web-based application for electronic complaint filing through the KBA website. NCSC expects that complaints will continue to be filed at increased levels as a result of improved public awareness of ethics rules and complaint mechanisms.

In February 2014, NCSC and the KBA organized a series of professional development events for KBA members and trainers to promote compliance with the new disciplinary system and strengthen discipline and ethics within the legal profession. Legal Ethics Expert Peter Lindau, an attorney with NCSC’s pro bono partner DLA Piper/New Perimeter, conducted a workshop on decision-writing for the members of the KBA’s first and second instance adjudicative bodies for professional discipline to enhance the capacity of the KBA to render fact-based, reasoned decisions on disciplinary complaints. In addition, the Legal Ethics Expert worked with KBA-certified trainers to discuss the development and delivery of interactive, practical training on professional ethics. Recognizing the critical importance of ethics for the public perception of the legal profession, NCSC has continuously encouraged KBA and its trainers to incorporate ethics in all training programs and promote adherence to high standards of professional conduct at all times in all activities performed by practicing lawyers.

NCSC has been working with the KBA to advance ethics and professional discipline through the USAID Kosovo Legal Profession Program since January 2012.

For more information on the Kosovo Legal Profession Program, please visit www.justice-ks.org.