Veselá-Samková: A legal eagle who knocks smug justice off its perch

Think of a typical lawyer and you will probably
picture a precise, suave person showing scarce emotion who will delve
into the required facts, but nothing more. Klára Veselá-Samková is,
however, everything but this kind of attorney. Known for her
wide-ranging legal battles for human rights, she says advocacy is an
adrenaline sport and even a gambling addiction that should be cured.

Tomislav Šimeček is chairman of the
Association of Homeowners (OSMD), an organization Veselá-Samková, 44,
is a member of and provides legal services to. In attempting to further
characterize Veselá-Samková, Šimeček said she is the kind of person one
cannot easily categorize. “A lawyer is typically a cautious, strictly
logical type, which she is not at all,” he said. “She’s a spontaneous,
adventurous type who chooses nonstandard proceedings,” Šimeček said,
adding that her exceptionality is evidenced by her former political
ambitions and her marriage to Romany activist Ivan Veselý, with the
attitudes she has toward minorities and human rights stemming from her
own experiences.

Though, as Šimeček said, not all OSMD’s
members agree with Veselá-Samková’s legal tactics, she continues to
represent more than 4,500 homeowners in the association at the European
Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) complaining about
discrimination caused by rent regulation.


Who is Klára Veselá-Samková


Born: March 23, 1963, Brno

1986, doctorate, Law Faculty of Charles University, Prague; 1982
master’s degree, Law Faculty of University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně,

Work History:
Since 1994, attorney and founder of law practice AK JUDr. Klára
Veselá-Samková; 1992–94, independent attorney of commercial law;
1990–92, deputy of Federal Assembly of the Czech and Slovak Federal
Republic; 1988–89, attorney, Národní výbor of the City of Prague (now
called Prague City Hall); 1987–88, attorney, Národní výbor of Prague 1

The court might
even be thought of as her favorite battlefield. All in all,
Veselá-Samková has been involved in some 30 cases at the ECHR,
including those of fathers claiming their rights to raise their
children after a divorce. Of the cases, 10 have ended in a victory and
10 are subject to further negotiation, while the court refused to hear
the remainder.

‘Most successful in Strasbourg’

am the most successful attorney in the Czech Republic when it comes to
Strasbourg,” Veselá-Samková said, adding that much of what she’s
learned regarding the ECHR agenda is credited to Anthony Paul Lester,
also known as Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat), a British
politician and member of the House of Lords who has also represented
clients before the ECHR.

It seems that whenever human rights
are involved, Veselá-Samková is around. Most recently, she chose to
represent one of the most talked about secretaries in the Czech
Republic—Marcela Urbanová, who hit the headlines when she accused
Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Čunek (Christian Democrat, KDU-ČSL) of
corrupt practices.

Scientologists have also been clients of
Veselá-Samková. Explaining why she took on their case, she said that it
was not through affiliation to their controversial beliefs but because
freedom of religion must always be respected as a human right. “In
addition, what I always say is that it is not so much about the nature
of human rights and the individual cases. It’s rather about the fact
that if there is or if there is not respect for human rights is a test
of whether the legal system in a country is working or not,”
Veselá-Samková said, stressing that the weaker the client, the more
visible is the malfunctioning of the system that they are subject to.

Respect of her adversaries

can surprise one and to a certain extent I am pleased that it is her
who represents homeowners at Strasbourg,” Vít Schorm, the attorney who
is preparing the Czech state’s defense against ECHR, said in an e-mail,
without further explanation of how exactly he meant the sentence.
Veselá-Samková said she was sure Schorm was pleased as she is a strong
adversary, meaning he would face a challenge rather than be in a “fight
with an oaf.”

Another of her frequent opponents, Stanislav
Křeček, an attorney who represents the Tenants Association of the Czech
Republic (SON), said that all her complaints were always “very
inspiring” but that her legal arguments rather referred to the
potential future legal system than the current one.

Paroubek, chairman of the Social Democrats (ČSSD), has also encountered
Veselá-Samková on several occasions, mainly when he was minister of
regional development and subsequently prime minister, and thus needed
to discuss the regulated rents case. He said that although the two of
them represented different sides they were always able to agree on main
principles. “She’s a very hard adversary. The one who hires her makes a
good decision,” Paroubek said.

Veselá-Samková, who as a Civic
Forum (Občanské Forum) deputy between 1990–92 in the Federal Assembly
of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic made representations on behalf
of a Romany citizens initiative, currently has to struggle very hard to
combine her roles as a mother of an

9-year-old girl and a
female lawyer, something which she said is particularly hard in the
Czech Republic. “Another difficulty is getting the big deals, that is
always a problem,” she said, adding that the large cases always go to
male attorneys, who only turn to her when they are really desperate.
“That is why I always get the most difficult cases,” she said.

her legal career, Veselá-Samková is also involved in a civic
association project called Škola dětem (Schooling for the Children),
which has created a school for children with special talents. But
should she still find herself with too much time on her hands, then
there is always the doctorate on the protection of human rights to
finish for the Law Faculty of Masaryk University (MU) in Brno, South
Moravia. A professor somewhere must be looking forward to a rather
rousing read.


orignal text can be found at the CBW web page