Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 April / corr. Trend K. Zarbaliyeva/ Though the lawyers have been instructed to wear mantles during legal proceedings last year, they are still not complying with the rules.
The Azerbaijani government has instructed lawyers to wear mantles in 2007. According to the presidential decree to improve material and technical basis of the Bar, funds were allocated from the budget to provide lawyers with special attire.
The Bar stated that the 404 lawyers who were members of the Bar were provided with mantles free of charge, while those who became members of the Bar recently, must pay AZN 70.00.
However, lawyers very rarely wear mantles during legal proceedings.
Lawyer Irada Javadova believes that wearing of mantles by lawyers should be made compulsory. According to her, it is the ethical dress code for every lawyer and should therefore be observed. Lawyers have been obligated to wear the mantles for some time now and those refusing to comply should be punished, she said.
However, according to Javadova, some courtrooms are not appropriate for lawyers to wear the mantles which hinder them from doing so during the proceedings. The lawyers should be required to wear mantles especially in Supreme and Military Courts, in order to distinguish the lawyers from everyone else taking part in the proceedings. It poses a problem for the judges as well. From this standpoint, it is important for lawyers to wear mantles," she said.
Lawyer Elman Osmanov believes that wearing the mantle should be made compulsory until the lawyers become accustomed to wearing them. He described the refusal by lawyers to wear the special attire as irresponsible.
According to lawyer Fuad Agayev, there many problems in the judicial system of Azerbaijan and there is no need to exaggerate this problem. "The wearing of mantles by lawyers in legal proceedings is a tradition formed in a course of hundreds of years. This means that if there is an instruction to wear wigs in the process, we must wear them, mustn't we?" Agayev protested.
According to Isahkhan Ashurov, who is against the wearing of compulsory mantles, lawyers should wear special attire only in courts of higher instance, for example, in the Supreme Court. There is no need to wear mantles in first instance courts or the Court of Appeal," he said. He stated that mantles create problems for lawyers. It is impossible to wear them when it is very hot in summer, therefore mantles should not be compulsory, he said.
According to Farhad Najafov, the deputy head of the Bar, the legislation does not envisage punishment for those taking part in the proceedings without a mantle. As not all lawyers have been provided with mantles, it is impossible to punish those who do not wear mantles, he said. However, once all the lawyers have been provided with mantles, it will be possible to punish those who do not wear their mantles. The judges should insist that lawyers wear the mantles during the proceedings and it will become routine after some time, he said.
The activities of lawyers are regulated by Law on Lawyers and Lawyers' Activities and Charter of the Bar in Azerbaijan. The Bar has 780 members. Azerbaijan is a country with a small number of lawyers compared to European countries.
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