Startup for Free Legal Advice in Trouble

Total Croatia News

Bar Association says: “Not so fast.”

The Advocator company has emerged recently on the Croatian market offering online legal services. The project’s primary goal is not profit but social entrepreneurship. They explained that was a free service that allows fast solution to the legal problems online, linking the questions from the users with the database of lawyers, reports on April 27, 2016.

“Web service is not a provider or middle-man in the provision of legal services because it simply does not offer any services; it forwards the communication that is going on between an interested person and a lawyer. On the other hand, Advocator is also not the provider of services because it is free – it does not charge provision nor does it promise the procurement of services. It does not advertise legal services because the responses by lawyers are not public; they are visible only to the person who has submitted the question”, said Advocator representatives.

They added that the Advocator was modelled based on similar services that exist in the United States, but bearing in mind the rules by the Croatian Bar Association (HOK). “It was to be expected that the initial reaction of HOK would be negative, but we hope that they will consider all the elements of this project, as well as its advantages for citizens and lawyers”, the representatives of the startup said.

Meanwhile, HOK confirmed that they are familiar with the project, but they warned that it was not in accordance with the Law on the Legal Profession, the Statute of the Croatian Bar Association and the Code of Professional Ethics of Lawyers. The final assessment will be given by the Bas Association’s Assembly.

“The Code of Professional Ethics of Lawyers bans lawyers from finding clients through offers, middle-man or advertisements. Although they claim that this is an online service that connects potential interested parties and lawyers, and that this is therefore not a mediation, it is obvious that this is not accurate, as the service is a connection between the potential interested parties and lawyers”, HOK said. Although they are not entirely familiar with the details of the Advocator’s work, they suspect that this could be the case of making distance contracts.


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