August 12, 2019
Next week bar association presidents from Canada and the other G7 nations will jointly urge their countries’ political leaders to legally protect lawyers and the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship, as well as to ensure that the emerging use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in legal decision making doesn’t harm human dignity, fundamental rights and access to justice.
Canadian Bar Association president Ray Adlington, and his G7 bar association counterparts, met July 11 and 12 in Paris, where they finalized more than a dozen joint recommendations that the group will present to G7 host, French president Emmanuel Macron, Aug. 23, just before the resolutions are delivered to all the G7 political leaders at their summit in Biarritz, France Aug. 24-25.
Adlington, who has spent his year as CBA president promoting diversity and inclusivity within the legal profession as well as pressuring governments to preserve and boost legal aid, said the bar groups from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are trying to drive progress in many areas of mutual concern.
“We were focused on everything from equality to the death penalty,” he explained. “Many of [the issues] are common — from the issues around equality leading to populism issues in many of our G7 countries, and I don’t think that we in Canada are immune from that; to issues around the role that artificial intelligence and technologies will play in access to justice; legal aid … is [another] common issue across our countries … ; protection of the environment; strengthening responsible business conduct; [and] preserving the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.”
One of the bar groups’ resolutions asks G7 political leaders to demand, and work for, the immediate release and unconditional formal pardon of internationally renowned Iranian human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was sentenced last March and faces decades in prison and 148 lashes “for carrying out her professional duties as a lawyer and her work to defend fundamental rights, especially women’s rights.”
Under the rubric of preserving the rule of law and the right to a fair trial, the bar leaders are urging the G7 countries to enshrine “protection of lawyers in the performance of their duties.”