Elections in Sofia Bar - probably next year
Sofia Attorney Bar is likely going to choose its new management body earliest at the end of the year but most probably in January next year together with its General Assembly. This course of event became apparent today at the first Court hearing of the Supreme Court of Cassation related to the Sofia Attorney Bar elections.
The vote for the management body of the Sofia Attorney Bar took place at a General meeting on 24th of January and 1st of February 2015. Lawyer Ivailo Danov was the elected Chairman on a runoff but the election of all management body members was appealed on 20th of February 2015. The Supreme Administrative Court canceled it. Thus the current Chairman Peter Kitanov kept his role even with expired term and new vote is expected to be scheduled in the coming couple of months.
One of the lawyers who submitted the court appeal to the Supreme Attorney Council which led to the cancelation of the vote , lawyer Raina Avramova – Elandzhieva, contests the silence denial of the Supreme Administrative Court to address a key point in her appeal.
She claims that the key grounds for the vote results cancelation which she and Peter Kitanov point out in their mutual appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court is left unaddressed by the Supreme body of the Bar.
“In accordance with article 82 paragraph 5 3A The General Assembly takes the decision that the Bar Council consists of 15 members, a chairman and six back-up members or 22 members in total. The Electoral Commission though states that the vote will be for 14 regular and 6 back-up members. In this way it overrules on its own a decision by the General Assembly.” Claims lawyer Elandzhieva.
She points out in her appeal to the Supreme Court of Cassation that the same mistake was done during the election of the Supervisory Board. ”The General Assembly has taken the decision to increase the number of the Supervisory Board members from 5 to 7 but instead of this the Electoral Commission announced that announced that the vote was fpr 5 regular and 2 back-up members.” Explained lawyer Elandzhieva.
In her view if the Supreme Court of Cassation does not take a stand on this topic there is a risk that the next vote for the management body of the Sofia Attorney Bar to be challenged and the General Assembly’s decision on the number of the members of its bodies not to be respected again.
“The appeal is not an end in itself. If we spend Attorney Bar’s money on elections let it be lawful.” explained lawyer Elandzhieva in “Legal World”.
And lawyer Todor Philipov who represents her in front of the Supreme Court of Cassation added: “We have a great paradox in place here – on the 24th of February the General Assembly of the Sofia Attorney Bar determines with a decision the numbers of the members of its management bodies and then the Electoral Commission does a flagrant violation of the law replacing the vote of the Sofia attorneys and actually rewrites the law itself. In the bulletin it is written that the vote is for 5 regular and 2 back-up members while in the Attorney Act does not provision at all the appointment of back-up members in the Supervisory Board.”
Today the hearing in the Supreme Court of Cassation with a chairman Stoil Sotirov and members Vesselka Ilieva, and Zoiya Atanasova had to be postponed. Lawyer Elandzhieva and lawyer Philipov insisted that the Court obligates the Supreme Administrative Court to provide an officially certified copy of the protocols of the General Assembly meeting on 24th of February. The protocol is need in order to validate the number of the members of the management bodies of the Attorney Bar which was voted.
The Court respected this request and the chairman Stoil Sotirov suggested the next hearing to be scheduled for 15th of June. Lawyer Elandzhieva though stated that she should travel abroad and has some health issues and so a second date was fixed – 14th of September and 15th of September was left as aback-up date in case the Supreme Administrative Court provides the protocols by then the parties can attend a hearing.
At the hearing though it became apparent that the case will be most probably revisited on the 14th of September. If the hearing takes place and is sufficient for a decision to be taken it will be issued earliest in October or November. The new election must be schedule in two months’ time after the Court’s decision is announced. The Attorney Act (article 109) does not allow a bigger delay. According some lawyers though it will be inappropriate the Bar to be called in December in order to vote for management bodies and then to be called again at the end of January 2016 in order to vote for a new General Assembly.
On today’s hearing the chairman of the Supreme Bar Council did not show up.