December 2012
Georgia Bar Association Adopts Landmark Ethics Code Amendments

On December 8, the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) held its annual General Assembly. By the end of the meeting, the Assembly had adopted long awaited amendments to the Professional Ethics Code of Lawyers and the GBA’s Disciplinary Responsibility By-laws. These amendments were drafted over the course of last year by a working group of GBA members and with the technical assistance of EWMI’s Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project (JILEP) and its experts, Professor James Moliterno of Washington and Lee University School of Law, USA, and Mr. Jim McCauley of the Virginia State Bar. The General Assembly discussion on the amendments lasted for nearly three hours; they ultimately adopted the amendments by a 234 to 5 vote.

During the Assembly, Georgia’s new Prosecutor General (and former GBA Ethics Committee member) Archil Kbilashvili, spoke to the membership about the need to reform the plea bargaining system, and forms of possible cooperation between his office and the GBA. He indicated his interest in giving GBA members access to the library of the General Prosecutor’s Office and signing some type of memorandum of cooperation with the GBA. Also during the meeting, Eka Gasitashvili, Chairman of Ethics Committee, and Zviad Kordzadze, Chairman of CLE Committee, reported on their committees’ work and mentioned their appreciation for assistance received from JILEP.