Big competition for Bucharest Bar Remus Borza: "Romania is still a police state"

Aug 22, 2012, Source
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On May 21, at the Sala Palatului, Bucharest attorneys will choose their leadership, the Dean, the Council, the Disciplinary Committee and the Audit Commission for the next four years.

Stake of this election is extremely important not only because it's about the biggest bar in the country in number of lawyers (about 10,000), but also by the fact that the profession feels the need for change more than ever.

At the elections of 21 May, 9 lawyers have applied for the post of dean of the Bucharest Bar, and 79 lawyers for 14 seats Bar councils.

To find out more from backstage of these elections to the Bucharest Bar, talked with one of the most famous lawyers Bucharest, Remus Borza, candidate to the dignity of the Bar Council advisor. Mr Remus Borza you are running three successful law firms. Which are the reasons that led you to want to get involved in management activities of the Bucharest Bar?

Remus Borza: If things were going well in terms of public perception of the profession, or the collective representation of the legal profession, obviously it would not be profitable for a lawyer who runs three successful legal entity (as an aside, one of my companies came last year in the first twenty law firms in Romania, by revenue) to be involved in the management and organization of the Bucharest Bar.

You are a lawyer for nearly 17 years, Mr. Borza. How you see after all this time the legal services market in Romania?

R.B: From a financial standpoint, was undeniably a success. If law market in 1990 meant one or two million dollars, now, in 2011, it represents more than 400 million euro. Other problems are painful for Romanian legal profession. We have much to do in terms of internal organization, of public perception and of legitimacy as a profession-pylon of a democratic society.

Law has been modernized enough? It managed to overcome successfully the transition period?

R.B.: When I entered in the law profession, 17 years ago, I was kind of 700-th lawyer in the Bucharest Bar, while now, after all these years, the number of lawyers in Bucharest Bar reached nearly 10,000 lawyers, which is obviously far too large for the needs of a market for legal services, even for a big city as it is the capital of Romania. For sure the huge number of lawyers in Bucharest Bar is not at all a plus on modernizing Romanian legal profession. Here, in my opinion, the greatest blame is on Education, which  for twenty-one years now effectively has no control of what today seems to become a real industry in university degree. But, well, that's another discussion already.

Another matter which hold in place this profession is the average age, and I am not referring to the average age of lawyers in bar - this decreased significantly, from 50-60 years in the mid 90s to 30-40 years now in 2011, but that, in the management of the Bucharest Bar Association, the average age continues to be all around the age of 55-60 years.

What are the main problems of the Romanian legal system?

R.B.: We are talking primarily about too many miscarriages of justice - caused attention, not necessarily of poor preparation executor legal act, but too many cases and legal instability and unpredictability. Another thorny issue of justice in Romania refers to somewhat damaging our way of being, which reflects in our guild including lawyers and judges.

And then, it's somehow normal for the watchdogs in Brussels to say: “Well, yes, sir, it is clear that these Romanians are corrupt lawyers, prosecutors and judges. Don’t you see how they talk about each other?” On the other hand it is true, that the law and the judiciary, as in other fields - in politics, business and culture, and legal area, this rough transition brought at the forefront non-values​​, kitsch and grotesque .

Talking about the flaws of the justice system in Romania,  how you see the avalanche which lasts for six years, of transcripts, and evidences from the files?

R.B.: It is undeniable proof that Romania is still a police state, police essentially, a state which unfortunately Stalinist habits are far from forgotten.

What are the problems faced by Romanian lawyer? What is the Romanian public perception of the profession?

R.B.: Since lawyers are the most visible, most vocal, by the very nature of their profession, it is clear that we are more stigmatized, more anathematized, easily turned into guilty of service.

Already was created a habit of pointing at lawyers who are guilty for all the problems of the justice system in Romania. It has become a sort of fad thing: "Lawyers are the main culprits for all that goes wrong in the Romanian judicial system."

Mr. Remus Borza, why do you think the legislative and executive avoids consult with those in your profession whenever important decisions are taken on the amendment of legislation on legal?

R.B.: Unfortunately, politicians are the ones who try to stigmatize the lawyers. Although more than a third of parliamentarians are lawyers. So they can influence directly and immediately legislative process. Would be ideal that half at least from  the parliamentary to have legal training. But we talking about solid legal education, and not those lawyers made ​​ from the Institute of Oil and Gas or who knows what obscure private university in a small town. In this way, the lawyer may manifest as a social moderator and model - as unfortunately there are many of parliamentarians, lawyers in Romania. Vocation of a lawyer should be - without ignore the guardian of the law role - the defender of citizens against abuse of state, that of integrating and balancing factor and lack of involvement between the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.

Speaking of politicians-lawyers, current Minister of Justice, before taking up this dignitary had a successful career in law. From this perspective, you as a lawyer consider that the minister Catalin Predoiu did something or helped in any way the profession from which he came?

R.B.: No, nothing of the kind! And you know why?! Because Mr. Predoiu, as another of his predecessor - esteemed Valerică Stoica - and all these gentlemens quickly forget that once there were lawyers and focuses exclusively on satisfying personal ambitions and fulfill their political objectives.

Which are the main objectives that  it proposes lawyer Remus Borza, in  the mandate of four years Bucharest Bar councils?

R.B.: First I intend to contribute in a potentiation size of public benefit profession of advocacy. Lack of transparency and poor communication with civil society, poor relations with other institutions called upon to perform or to legislate justice, such as the Ministry of Justice, SCM, Prosecutor General, Parliament, have greatly contributed to the negative image of the legal profession. Criminal deviations of several colleagues not sanctioned by the Bar or Union have increased the deficit picture. Bitterness of colleagues cling to a to dignity at the Bar or the Union for over 20 years without ever confirming, threw even more in the derisory profession and especially its organs of representation. Sure, we are dealing with a collective guilt that we must uphold. Lack of involvement and interest of most lawyers in Bucharest Bar for election and candidates made possible applications subsequently validated in dignity more than dull, lacking consistency and value. Therefore, I hope one especially large law firms to be more responsible in the elector process to give the vote only for those candidates who have confirmed and demonstrated true professional managerial skills. Because, ultimately, that is resume to the Council and Bar mandate: to management.

Because you remembered management, have you identified other points where Bucharest Bar management was deficient?

R.B.: Law was and is one of the most capitalized professions. In Union accounts in 1990, were several dozen million lei, which were devoured by the huge inflation in the mid 90s. Instead of learning from the mistakes of history we repeat them. Even today Cash from Bar and Insurance House Lawyers are held in interest-bearing deposits which barely covers inflation, instead of being invested in modern and secure financial products that provide maximum efficiency. Because of this managerial incapacity the Bucharest Bar today has its headquarters in a building almost wrecked, which is about to fall. Because of the managerial act of amateurs, we have oversized administrative staff and the the hostile to that who finances -  the lawyer. To support this army of officials, to mask the managerial act inefficiency, every year, the Bar Council and House Insurance increases fees for attorneys, that is income tax on entry and completion in the profession, for open offices or companies etc. Because we have leaders who have a problem of legitimacy and representativeness, today we are the profession most taxed, at a last step to pay unemployment contributions, in total contradiction with liberal advocacy professional status and incompatibility between the quality of attorney and the employee.

You are part of a class of Bucharest Law School graduates who gave, among other top lawyers and magistrates, and some names of the lawyer- politicians (Victor Ponta, Dan Sova, Mircea Andrei, Titus Corlăţean). The lawyer Remus Borza has ever been tempted to get involved in politics?

R.B.: First things first. Never say never!

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