National and international bar associations called for action in support of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. The call for action was signed by several European organisations, including the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), Lawyers for Lawyers and the Netherlands Bar. The call for action was submitted it to the United Nations member states on July 3, 2020, on the occasion of the 44th session of the Human Rights Council.
In the call the associations
note with great concern the increasing frequency, globally, of attacks and interferences both on the independence of the legal profession, and against lawyers individually, including threats, intimidation, retaliation, harassment and interference in the discharge of lawyers’ professional functions. Lawyers are exposed to arbitrary sanctions, including arrest, prosecution or deprivation of licence to practice law, and/or to situations in which governments fail to safeguard lawyers adequately where their security is threatened as a result of engaging in their profession.
The associations remind of the important principles, like the principle of independence, the lawyer-client privilege and lawyers’ rights to freedom of opinion and expression, that should be respected in their role as critics of the administration of justice.
This is also relevant in the western world, with its pretensions in regard of rule of law and human rights.
The number European arrest warrants you find below show the importance of adequate legal defence. Note that numbers 1, 2 and 3 on the list are the UK, Spain and the Netherlands.
How many persons were arrested under #EuropeanArrestWarrant in your country in 2018?
— EU Justice (@EU_Justice) July 2, 2020
- Call for action: page International Bar Association (IBA) on the call for action.
- Call for action: the English version of the document signed by the bar associations.
- European think tank EPRS: article, report.
- CCBE website.
- CCBE article: The CCBE sounds the alarm bell for justice in Europe – The CCBE calls to overcome urgently the current paralysis of judicial systems, 20 May 2020.
— CCBE (@CCBEinfo) July 3, 2020