Communication in exceptional circumstances
Exceptional circumstances affect all of us and our work
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has escalated into a crisis causing immense human suffering. The Finnish Bar Association stands with other European bar organisations, and as a member of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the International Bar Association (IBA) seeks to promote discussions on the rule of law in order to support Ukraine and justice in the context of human rights. Here you can find topical content related to the rule of law and the actions of the legal bar during the crisis.
Attorneys’ Day May 6, 2022
The themes of the Attorneys’ Day were rule of law, accountability and leadership. Check out the presentations of a few of the event’s keynote speakers below:
- Speech by Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson on the Ministry of Justice website (in Finnish).
- Speech by Róbert Ragnar Spanó, President of the European Court of Human Rights
- Presentation by Tuija Brax, Director of the Rule of Law Centre at the University of Helsinki (in Finnish)
Our Press Releases on Attorneys’ Day:
- Oikeusvaltiossa yksilö saa suojan – myös valtion toimilta (in Finnish)
- Asianajajan asema on tunnustettava perustuslaissa (in Finnish)
More information on the event page: www.asianajajapäivä.fi
The Ukraine special issue of Defensor Legis was released on 28 April 2022
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, which started on 24 February 2022, has stopped many legal scholars to consider the legal rules of war: what are the actual legal means of interfering in the situation, what are the obligations and rules applicable to the situation, what are the competent forums for dealing with issues, and where do the limits of jurisdiction of different instances go? The Finnish Bar Association has published the Ukraine special issue of the law journal Defensor Legis, in which these topics are discussed.
All articles can be read free of charge at www.edilex.fi/defensor_legis/100061. Articles will also be published in English during May.
Attorneys-at-law in the media
MTV Uutisaamu, 29 March 2022:
Many companies are currently considering whether to stay or leave Russia. Attorney-at-law Heikki Huhtamäki visited MTV Uutisaamu on 29 March. He explained how a company can move forward if Russia nationalizes the company’s assets as a result of leaving the country. Watch the interview here (from 1:05:40).
MTV Uutisaamu, 23 March 2022:
Jussi Sarvikivi, attorney-at-law and Chair of our expert team in criminal process law, visited MTV Uutisaamu on 23 March to explain the concept of war crimes and to present an assessment on who could be prosecuted in the Russia-Ukraine War and on what charges. Watch the interview here (from 1:06:20).
MTV Uutisaamu, 17 March 2022:
Ville Punto, attorney-at-law and Chair of our expert team in administrative law, visited MTV Uutisaamu on 17 March to discuss Ukrainian refugees and the judicial questions related to their situation. Watch the interview here (from 1:07:34).
Nordic bar associations in the media
• Rule of law put to the test – statement by the Nordic Secretary Generals on the situation in Ukraine (11 March 2022)
• Svenska Dagbladet 12 March 2022: ”Invasionen av Ukraina måste prövas rättsligt”
• Jyllands-Posten 15 March 2022: Retsstatens principper skal stå deres prøve: Invasionen af Ukraine skal prøves i retten
The Finnish Bar Association’s messages to its members
22 March 2022:
How attorneys-at-law can support their Ukrainian colleagues
Representatives of the Finnish Bar Association had a meeting with the representatives of the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) and discussed cooperation possibilities between the two organisations. The attendees came up with several ways in which Finnish attorneys-at-law can support their Ukrainian colleagues during the war.
The meeting focussed especially on the present threats to security experienced by the attorneys-at-law, and the role of attorneys as defenders of the independent rule of law. The Ukrainian National Bar Association has 70,000 members, most of whom are at the moment unable to carry out their profession. Courts in Ukraine are still operating and attorneys-at-law focussing on ensuring fair trials even in the midst of war. Some have fled abroad, some are trying to survive by hiding, and some are defending their country. Those fleeing the country are mostly women and children.
War is not waged only with weapons, but also with information. Hence, every signal of support counts. The meeting identified five ways in which the Finnish Bar Association and its members can support their Ukrainian colleagues:
1. Direct donations to the UNBA
The Finnish Bar Association has donated 10,000 euros to the UNBA to support Ukrainian attorneys-at-law. In addition, the association encourages its members to make personal donations with the following information:
• Company Name: Ukrainian National Bar Association
• IBAN: UA673052990000026006006220665
• Bank name: JSC CB “PRIVATBANK”, 1D HRUSHEVSKOHO STR., KYIV, 01001, UKRAINE
• Bank SWIFT Code: PBANUA2X
• Company address: UA 04070 м Київ вул Борисоглiбська б.3
Correspondent bank’s details
• Account in the correspondent bank: 400886700401
• SWIFT Code of the correspondent bank: COBADEFF
• Correspondent bank: Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2. Accommodation for Ukrainian women and children in Finland
The Association encourages its members to participate, if possible, in accommodating Ukrainian attorneys-at-law who have fled to Finland. Those interested can have their contact details forwarded to the UNBA. The Finnish Bar Association will not reply to enquiries concerning accommodation or issue any guidelines or instructions on the topic. If you are interested in offering accommodation, please contact email@example.com.
3. Larger law firms, in particular, have been sent a request to offer temporary apprenticeships and job opportunities to Ukrainian attorneys-at-law.
4. The Association has initiated discussions with the immigration authorities on providing legal counselling to Ukrainians.
5. The Association will issue a written statement to the UNBA in support of Ukrainian attorneys-at-law in the midst of information war.
10 March 2022:
Hanna Räihä-Mäntyharju: to the defenders of the rule of law
The Russian acts of war in Ukraine have shocked us as they have shocked everyone else. Attorneys-at-law have taken action by making use of the means available to us. All European CCBE bar associations issued a joint statement in which we strongly condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and demanded an international criminal investigation. The Finnish Bar Association has donated 20,000 euros to the Red Cross and UNICEF to support their efforts to help civilians and families. Our members and local chapters have organised fundraisers and, to date, law firms and private attorneys have donated over 70,000 euros through those channels. In addition, many law firms have made their own – and often quite generous – donations to those in need. Our Pääkäsittelyssä podcast ran a Ukraine extra to discuss the situation from the rule of law perspective, and a blog on the same topic was published yesterday.
The measures described above have been imperative, absolutely necessary, and the least we can do. At the same time, attorneys-at-law and law firms must fulfil their fundamental mission, the essence of our profession: safeguarding the rule of law in all situations. That means vigorous defending and respecting of human and civil rights, and professional conduct regardless of the identity or nationality of the client. An attorney-at-law may refuse a case solely on the grounds and in the manner described in sections 5.8–5.9 of our Code of Conduct. The nationality of the client or opinions expressed by other clients do not constitute a sufficient reason for refusal. We must see to the legal protection of our clients pursuant to our basic values and the obligations of professional conduct even when it is difficult or there is a lot of outside pressure. It is in moments such as this when the rule of law and our clients’ legal protection needs defending the most.
We have published related information on our website and keep an eye on interesting updates, content and ways of cooperating. Please also see Viestintää poikkeusoloissa (Communication under exceptional circumstances) published on our website.
4 March 2022:
Attorneys-at-law are helping Ukraine. You can do the same!
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a week ago sparked a great willingness to help among law firms – large and small – and private attorneys-at-law. The Bar Association has been contacted by numerous members with ideas to initiate pro bono projects, collections or co-operation.
For example, attorneys-at-law in Vantaa organised a meeting last weekend to discuss this important topic and came up with ideas for local campaigns: Attorneys-at-law and lawyers in support of Ukraine’s legal battle. Donations are being collected for the Finnish Red Cross. The result is outstanding: in less than a week, more than 40,500 euros have been raised in these local campaigns, which is 10% of the funds raised nationally.
Watch Secretary General Niko Jakobsson’s topical video on our YouTube channel.
Voice your support and encourage your colleagues!
We are immensely glad and proud of the number of law firms that have made substantial donations to relief organisations helping Ukraine. For example, Roschier has donated 500,000 euros, Hannes Snellman 130,000 euros and Avance 50,000 euros.
On this site we will publish information about law firms’ financial contributions to official humanitarian organisations. If you wish to share information on your organisation’s donation, please send us the name of the relief fund (e.g. Red Cross) and the sum by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Note! Donations with no exact sum or known recipient, and unspecified pro bono work will not be shared. The examples aim to encourage all our members to get involved in helping Ukraine, and the information is in principle intended only for members. Reliable humanitarian organisations:
• Finnish Red Cross, Disaster Relief Fund
• Unicef, Help Protect Children in Ukraine
• UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
• Save the Children (Pelastakaa Lapset ry), donation for Ukraine
• Finn Church Aid, Ukraine campaign
Attorneys-at-law donate 20,000 euros to help Ukraine
The Finnish Bar Association has donated 20,000 euros to relief work in Ukraine through the Finnish Red Cross and UNICEF. According to Secretary General Niko Jakobsson, the Association is also thinking of other ways to help and support Ukraine in the midst of the crisis.
Niko Jakobsson’s blog: War against Ukraine is also war against the rule of law
In his blog, Niko Jakobsson, Secretary General of the Finnish Bar Association, writes the following: “The crisis in Ukraine, an EU neighbour and potential candidate country, has raised grave concerns relating to international law and the rule of law that also affect the EU Member States.”
Read Jakobsson’s blog published on 24 February 2022 by clicking this link.
All current blog posts are available at
The Finnish Bar Association supports the statement by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) regarding the crisis in Ukraine
We, together with the more than 1 million lawyers represented by the CCBE, offer our full support to Ukraine, and join the CCBE in its statement.
Attorneys-at-law during exceptional circumstances
The Finnish Bar Association provides training and coordinates the work of its members also under exceptional circumstances. We maintain our readiness in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces by organising regular training.
AIJA is looking for lawyers for its volunteer programme
The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) has launched a volunteer campaign to assist Ukrainian colleagues and their families as well as other civilians during the war. The programme is looking for volunteer advocates.
7 March 2022:
This extra Pääkäsittelyssä podcast revolves around one theme: Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Visitors include Markku Fredman, an experienced attorney-at-law, Doctor of Laws and Docent in Process Law, who is a specialist in criminal and process law, and Ville Punto, who has handled issues related to immigration for over 20 years. Listen to the episode by clicking this link.