advocate(redirected from advocates)
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See M. Mayer, Lawyers (1967); K. L. Hall, ed., The Legal Profession (1987).
a person who practices the profession of rendering legal assistance. In the USSR, an advocate must be a citizen and must have a higher education in law and no less than two years of experience in legal work. A person who does not have a higher legal education but does have at least five years of experience in legal work may be admitted to a college of advocates (Kollegiia advokatov ) by permission of the council of ministers of an autonomous republic or the executive committee of a regional (territorial) soviet of workers’ deputies. Advocates are subject to the general labor legislation with the specific conditions of their work taken into consideration. Soviet advocates render legal assistance to the population, enterprises, institutions, and organizations in the form of consultation and advice on legal questions, interpretation of and information on legislation, the preparation of complaints, petitions, and other legal documents. Advocates act as defense counsels for persons under indictment or as representatives of civil plaintiffs, defendants, and victims in criminal cases and as representatives of the parties or other participants in civil cases. In some cases, legislation provides for the mandatory participation of an advocate in the proceedings—for instance, in all cases of crimes committed by minors. In cases of crimes of minors or of persons whose physical or mental handicaps prevent them from exercising their right of defense, an advocate may act as defense counsel from the moment the charge is made. In all other cases, he may do so from the moment the defendant has been informed of the completion of the preliminary investigation. The colleges of advocates may conclude agreements with institutions, enterprises, organizations, and kolkhozes on conducting cases for them in courts and arbitration tribunals.
An advocate is obligated to use all the methods and techniques of defense specified by law to bring out the circumstances that might lead to the acquittal of the defendant or to the mitigation of his responsibility and to render all necessary help to the defendant. An advocate does not have the right to withdraw from a case he has assumed or to divulge information that he has received in the process of rendering legal assistance.
In the USSR, advocates’ services are accessible to the population, thanks to a wide network of legal consultation offices and the low fees for services. In many cases, legal assistance is rendered free of charge: in labor cases, in cases on collecting alimony, and in preparing various statements for disabled persons of the first and second groups, for enlisted men, and others. Oral information is also rendered free. The presidium of the college of advocates or the manager of a legal consultation office may also waive the fee for other types of legal aid, depending on the financial situation of the person who has asked for legal help.
In contrast to bourgeois states, there is no private law practice in the USSR and other socialist countries. Every advocate must be a member of the college of advocates, through which he receives all cases or other commissions to render legal assistance. In the USSR, all advocates have equal rights and can plead in any court. There is no division of advocates into higher and lower categories such as existed in prerevolutionary Russia (sworn attorney and private attorney, the latter allowed to plead only in a lower court) or such as still exists in Britain (barrister and solicitor) and in France (avocat and avoué).
T. N. DOBROVOL’SKAIA