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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Is Klakočar Zupančič, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Involved in Illegal Business Practices?

By: Andrej Žitnik / Nova24tv

The new Speaker of the National Assembly has barely started with her work, but accusations of her being involved in illegal business practices have already surfaced. The parliamentary question of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) MP Jelka Godec reveals a serious suspicion that Urška Klakočar Zupančič is involved in business practices which are explicitly prohibited by law. Namely, this is a matter of practising the legal profession by persons who do not have a regulated lawyer status, meaning that they do not have the necessary qualifications. The prohibition of this practice “protects the clients from the adverse consequences that the procedural actions of their unqualified attorneys may have for them,” according to the judgment with the reference number Ips 33582/2012.

A while ago, investigative journalist Bojan Požar revealed that the current Speaker of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič, and her business partner, Maja Jenstrle, who will soon be appointed head of the cabinet of the Speaker of the National Assembly, jointly founded the company Ipsilaw, registered for publishing books and newspapers, other publishing and informing, other legal activities, other business and management consultancy activities, education, advanced training, auxiliary activities for education, artistic performance, accompanying activities for artistic performance, and artistic creation, while the main activity of the company in question is evident from Article 2 of the statute of the company, published on the website of the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services, and it is the so-called “other legal activities.”

But according to journalist Bojan Požar, the registered activates are just a disguise for their actual practice of law. According to media reports, the company Ipsilaw offers legal representation in courts, legal preparation of written submissions in court proceedings, and representation in hearings (sometimes referred to as illegal legal aid). According to the media, there are several proceedings currently taking place at the District Court in Ljubljana, in which the company of the Speaker of the National Assembly represents its clients.

What will the government do about this?
This is why the leader of the SDS parliamentary group, Jelka Godec, addressed fie questions to the government, which require the government or other competent bodies to clarify its position when it comes to such practices.

  1. Are the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Spatial Planning aware of the described disputed operations of the company Ipsilaw, which offers legal and business advice, suspected of being against the law?
  2. Is it the basic rule of justice that only lawyers can represent their clients in court for a fee, as defined by Article 2 of the Law on Advocacy?
  3. Does the disputed business break the basic rule of companies, which stipulates that companies may only carry out the economic activity within limits stipulated in Article 6 of the Companies Act?
  4. Is the described disputed business actually engaged in illegal work, as follows from Article 3 of the Prevention of Undeclared Work and Employment Act and Article 22 of the Attorneys Act?
  5. How will the government of the Republic of Slovenia or the competent authorities act in the event of found irregularities in the described case of the disputed business?
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