In Kazakhstan, the legal profession has reached a high level of organisation, professionalism and independence. The Republican Collegium of Advocates of Kazakhstan participated to the Platform National workshop supporting the judicial reform of Kazakhstan (Astana, 27 June 2014) and the Fourth Ministerial Conference (Astana, 14-15 October 2014). On 26 June 2014, Mr. Anuar Tugel, Chairman of the Republican Collegium of Lawyers, President of the Union of Lawyers of Kazakhstan, Member of the High Judicial Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, presented an award to the team leader of the Rule of Law Platform “for active work on justice, judicial and legal reform development in the Republic of Kazakhstan which contributed to strengthen the status of the advocateship and the prestige of the advocacy”.
Since the start of the project, the City Collegium of advocates of Almaty (the “Almaty City Bar”) has been a close partner to the Platform. Several member of the board of the Almaty City Bar, Mr. Daniyar Kanafin and Mr. Iskander Alimbaev in particular, participated as researchers and speakers to a large number of project activities. In cooperation with the Training Center of the Almaty City Bar, the Platform holds regular round-tables for members of the Almaty City Bar. The Almaty City Bar is one of the most developed bars in the Central Asian region. It actively provides support to the bars of the other Central Asian countries and lobbies in support of the independence of the legal profession in Kazakhstan. By inviting French lawyers and drawing from the pedagogical experience of the Training School of the Paris Bar, the Platform, on several occasions, established and developed contacts between the Paris and the Almaty Bars.
Owing to the strong interest and ground for beneficial exchanges on both sides, the Platform initiated contacts aiming at formalising a Cooperation Agreement between the two bars. On the sides of the Fourth Ministerial Conference on rule of law (Astana, 14-15 October 2014), a Cooperation Agreement was signed by the Chairman of the Almaty City Bar Mr. Kenzhegali Karchegenov and the President of the Paris Bar Mr. Pierre-Olivier Sûr. The objective of this Cooperation Agreemennt was to promote exchanges between the two bars, and to facilitate legal and judicial cooperation among the bar members. The Cooperation Agreement also aims at facilitating the exchange of information on legal practice between Kazakhstan and France, especially as concerns ethical issues, further professional training, and to better understand the laws, the legal and judicial systems of Kazakhstan, France, and the European Union.
Following the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between the Paris and the Almaty Bars, two members of the Almaty Bar were invited by the President of the Paris Bar to participate to the “Rentrée du Barreau de Paris 2014”, an annual celebration of democracy and defence rights in France, taking place in Paris, from 10-13 December 2014, punctuating the Platform Phase I Training Programme. This four-day celebration was comprised of conferences including meetings with the French Ministry of Justice and with the French Ministry of Economy, a moot court competition, speeches, round-tables and individual meetings. Lawyers from the Paris Bar but also from the bars of about 100 countries, participated to this unique event, exchanged experience on best practices, the protection of human rights, defence rights, etc. This constituted a priviledged opportunity for high-level representatives of the Almaty City Bar to have exposure to the latest developments affecting the profession of lawyer and to meet and exchange with the international community of lawyers. Private meetings were organised with the President of the Paris Bar, with Members of the International Committee and various other committees of the Paris Bar, and with the Training Center of the Paris Bar. Other meetings were held with representatives of the Ministry of justice (International Cooperation Bureau) and the French Foreign Office (Sub-Director for Caucasus and Central Asia). The French community of lawyers learned about important aspects of the legal practice and the status of lawyers in Kazakhstan. The two Kazakh lawyers learned about the organisation of the profession of lawyers, the structure, functions and finances of the Paris Bar, the training programme of a French candidate to the legal profession, and ongoing training obligations of French lawyers. They conveyed the information received to their fellow lawyers exercised influence to increase the independence of the legal profession in Kazakhstan and to lobby legislation to distil more elements of the fair trial in the Kazakh procedural legislation.
Further steps for develop the cooperation on the basis of the Cooperation Agreement were understaken since, especially in the area of further professional training of lawyers. In December 2015, the President of the Paris Bar reiterated his commitment to cooperation with the Central Asian Bars.