Faculty welcomes Ukrainian lawyers
THE Faculty of Advocates hosted a reception last night to celebrate the work of Scottish lawyers who are supporting their Ukrainian colleagues seeking refuge from the war in their homeland. The Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop KC, welcomed Ukrainian lawyers and many members of the Scottish legal community who have worked with them to the event held at the Advocates Library.
During his welcome address Mr Dunlop extended the Faculty’s sympathies to the Ukrainian legal profession for the situation they had found themselves in due to the conflict in Ukraine. “Collegiality has and always will be a watchword for the Bar,” he said, and this was now being extended to the Ukrainian legal community in Scotland. He added that a continued strong legal profession as a ‘bulwark against oppression’ was of fundamental importance to the future of that country. The Faculty, along with Bar associations all over the world, unequivocally condemned the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in early 2022. Since then, the Scottish legal community has stepped up in various ways to support Ukrainian lawyers who have come to Scotland to escape the war.
In his response Alexandr Chernykh, the representative to the UK for the Ukrainian National Bar Association, said he was “deeply thankful for all British, Scottish people, the Government and the legal community for the chance to renew our spirit of democracy, legal thinking, our understanding of the rule of law and the position of law in real life.” He presented The Award of the Ukrainian National Bar Association to Mr Dunlop, Advocate Kenneth Young, coordinator of the Faculty's work shadowing programme for Ukrainian lawyers, and Rob Marrs, Head of Education at the Law Society of Scotland.
Advocates, solicitors and legal academics have all been spending time with Ukrainian lawyers to help them adjust to life in Scotland and to learn about the Scottish legal system. This support has included the Law Society of Scotland waiving re-qualification fees for lawyers arriving here from areas of political instability. A series of introductory lectures to Scots law is being given by legal experts including Professor Hector MacQueen, Yvonne Evans, and Sir David Edward KC. The Law Society of Scotland has also brokered free online English classes for Ukrainian lawyers. Major legal libraries, including those of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen and the Society of Writers to HM Signet, have generously welcomed Ukrainian lawyers seeking to re-qualify to use their spaces and resources.
The Faculty has organised a work shadowing scheme. Around a dozen Ukrainian lawyers have spent time “mini-devilling” in the Advocates Library or at court with a member of Faculty who shares their legal interests. Faculty coordinator Kenneth Young said: “This scheme is really about playing our part by offering the most appropriate kind of support that we can provide to our Ukrainian colleagues. The whole legal community in Scotland has rallied around, and solicitors and academics have been contributing in similar ways.”