Law Soc urges EC to action on Poland

The European Commission has been urged by the Law Society to take “urgent action at the highest possible level” to prevent the Polish government from enacting a law to effectively bar foreign lawyers from practising.

A letter urging the Commission to act was sent from the society's Brussels office by its representative, Patrick Oliver.

“We believe this draft legislation is contrary to Poland's treaty obligations under the Poland-EU Association Agreement,” it said, adding that if the proposal did become law it “would damage Poland's EU membership aspirations”.

The legislation, currently under consideration by the Polish government, is expected to contain measures preventing foreign-owned firms from practising domestic law or hiring domestic lawyers.

Stephen Denyer, Allen & Overy's head in Warsaw, said that the Polish government was caught between pressure from the international community and members of its own domestic Bar.

“The fact they are still thinking about the draft before it goes to a vote is moderately encouraging,” he added.