Tag Archives: European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer

Council of Europe: Protection of lawyers : progress made for the elaboration of a draft convention

26/07/22

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV) held its second meeting in Strasbourg from 11 to 13 July 2022, in which representatives of the Member States and relevant international professional organisations participated.

The CJ-AV Committee continued its work on a future legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the legal profession and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or coercion. It examined the first draft legal instrument and its provisions, and discussed at length all the issues to be covered in order to develop a robust instrument, providing strong and effective protection to lawyers in the exercise of their profession.

The CJ-AV held a fruitful exchange of views with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr García-Sayán, who spoke about the importance of the preparation of the new legal instrument at the backdrop of a global increase in practices that undermine, limit, restrict and hinder the work of lawyers, particularly of those whose activities are focused on the fight against corruption, the defense of human rights or the protection of vulnerable groups. The Special Rapporteur expressed his full support to the work of the CJ-AV and draw the committee’s attention to the possible global impact that such a convention would have beyond Europe, underlining the possibility and desirability of offering a stronger protection to lawyers worldwide.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/tmYzZ9iB8dRW/content/protection-of-lawyers-progress-made-for-the-elaboration-of-a-draft-convention-by-the-council-of-euro-1

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/cj-av

https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/basic-principles-role-lawyers

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/tmYzZ9iB8dRW/content/protection-of-lawyers-progress-made-for-the-elaboration-of-a-draft-convention-by-the-council-of-euro-1 (FRANCAIS)

UN Human Rights Council: Self-governing professional bodies key to rule of law

04/07/22

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) participated in the recent 50th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Special Rapporteur Diego García-Sayán presented his report on the free and independent exercise of the legal profession. 

The CCBE says that the report is important and positive for the legal profession in its emphasis on states taking all necessary measures so that lawyers may exercise their legitimate professional rights and duties free from all restrictions, and without fear of reprisals – including judicial harassment.

Measures

García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, recommends that states should implement measures to prevent the identification of lawyers with their clients or the causes they defend.

The Special Rapporteur also stresses the importance of Bars and Law Societies remaining independent and self-governing, to protect the independence and the integrity of lawyers, as well as safeguarding their professional interests.

On the ongoing work of the Council of Europe on an international legal instrument to protect the legal profession, the Special Rapporteur supports the adoption of a binding instrument that is open to accession by non-member states of the Council of Europe.

The Special Rapporteur also thanked the CCBE (pictured) for its work on the report, praising it for “defence of defenders”.

Binding legal instrument

He ended by appealing again to the Council of Europe member states to support the adoption of a binding legal instrument on the protection of the free and independent exercise of the legal profession that is open to accession by non-member states of the Council of Europe.

The report emphasises that the free exercise of the legal profession is an indispensable element of the judicial guarantees that ensure a fair trial and the protection of human rights.

[…]

Undue restrictions

States have a duty to guarantee that lawyers can exercise their profession without undue restrictions. 

The report concludes with recommendations on how to protect those practising law.

Restrictions on the work of lawyers have increased as a result of the measures adopted by the states in response to coronavirus, the report points out.

Between 2010 and 2020, more than 2,500 lawyers were killed, detained or kidnapped in different regions of the world, the report adds.

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/self-governing-professional-bodies-key-to-rule-of-law

Joint statement: 10 years since the unjust arrest of four lawyers at the UAE 94 trial

30/06/22

This year marks ten years since the arrest of four lawyers at the mass “UAE 94” trial that saw the unjust imprisonment of dozens of government critics and reform activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Having completed their prison sentences, these lawyers are set to be released either this year or next year. However, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE) are concerned that the lawyers might be kept in detention centres instead under a vaguely worded counterterrorism law.

In July 2013, a group of 69 lawyers, human rights defenders and intellectuals were sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government. This event is referred to as the “UAE 94” trial. Among those prosecuted in this mass unfair trial are four UAE lawyers:

Dr. Al-Roken is well-known for defending victims of human rights violations in the UAE. He defended some members of the “UAE 5”, five individuals sentenced to two to three years’ imprisonment in 2012 for having expressed criticism of government policies. In recognition of his courageous human rights work, Dr. Al-Roken was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2017 Lawyers for Lawyers Award.

Al-Roken was arrested on 17 July 2012, after calling for political reforms in the country and signing an online petition calling for democratic reforms in March 2011. On 2 July 2013, Dr. Al-Roken was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with additional administrative control measures and was prohibited from practicing his profession as a lawyer. Following his arrest, Dr. Al-Roken was detained in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location for eight months, without access to his lawyer and his family.

Dr. Mohamed al-Mansoori is a prominent lawyer working on human rights issues and was the former head of the United Arab Emirates Jurists’ Association board, which was dissolved by the authorities in 2011. He was arrested on 16 July 2012 after signing an online petition calling for democratic reforms. On 2 July 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Dr. Al-Mansoori was not allowed to contact his family for over a year.

[…]

Les avocats des 21 pays membres adoptent « l’Appel de Vienne »

15/06/22

Le 11 juin 2022, en marge de la Conférence des présidents et bâtonniers des barreaux d’Europe à Vienne, les avocats des 21 pays membres du Conseil de l’Europe, soit 35 organisations, ont adopté « l’Appel de Vienne ».

Dans cette déclaration, les avocats européens invitent notamment « les États membres du Conseil de l’Europe à prendre des engagements forts sur l’État de droit et l’indépendance de la justice dans le contexte de crise que traverse l’Europe », explique le Conseil national des barreaux, qui est à l’origine de cette initiative, dans un communiqué.

La déclaration traite également des dangers liés à la numérisation de la justice et à l’utilisation de l’intelligence artificielle, et à la nécessité pour la profession d’avocat de se saisir des enjeux de cybersécurité.

Elle propose en outre « d’intégrer une clause de sauvegarde du secret professionnel dans chaque instrument législatif européen susceptible d’avoir une incidence négative, même indirect sur ce secret », et « appelle à un renforcement des garanties en matière d’accès au droit personnes exilées ».

Enfin, elle émet le souhait que « les instances représentatives de la profession d’avocat, préoccupées par les générations futures, intègrent les instances européennes et internationales d’échanges sur les questions liées au droit de l’environnement ».

[…]

https://www.gazette-du-palais.fr/actualites-professionnelles/les-avocats-des-21-pays-membres-adoptent-lappel-de-vienne/

Europe: European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) 98th Plenary meeting

01/06/22

The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) held its 98th plenary meeting in Strasbourg from 1-3 June 2022.

During these three intensive and fruitfuil days, the CDCJ approved several reports and studies, notably the review of the implementation of the Sofia Action Plan on judicial independence and impartiality, and a comparative study on rights of donor-conceived persons to know their origins. The CDCJ also discussed the elaboration of a legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or restraint and provided the orientations to the subordinate Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV) with this regard. The CDCJ assessed the implementation by member states of the Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the protection of whistleblowers and Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)4 on preventing and resolving disputes on child relocation.

The CDCJ also reviewed the progress of the implementation of its activities envisaged in 2022, and planned activities for 2023, positively assessing the work done within the first 6 months in relation to the implementation of the decisions made at its last plenary meeting in December 2021 and the work of its two subordinate bodies. The CDCJ also decided to further pursue new activities in 2023 and 2024 – to provide guidance for the member states on issues related to the rights of donor conceived persons to know their origins, and to promote and assist the member States in the implementation of the European Convention on Information on Foreign Law (ETS No. 62) and its additional protocol (ETS No. 97).

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/home/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/ixJBBhK1QgzB/content/cdcj-98th-plenary-meeting

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/cdcj/home/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/ixJBBhK1QgzB/content/cdcj-98th-plenary-meeting (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/institutions/82129-les-avocats-de-21-pays-europeens-plaident-pour-la-preservation-de-l-etat-de-droit.html

https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/la-presidence-de-loiad-une-nouvelle-ambition-pour-les-avocats-en-danger

CCBE: Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice

11/04/22

Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice at the occasion of the CCBE Brussels Standing Committee on 1 April 2022 – Discours de Didier Reynders, commissaire européen à la justice, à l’occasion du comité permanent du CCBE à Bruxelles le 1er avril 2022

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/can-the-council-of-europe-help-us-with-our-problems/5112171.article

https://www.ccbe.eu/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_en

https://www.lja.fr/l-oeil-sur/la-convention-europeenne-pour-les-avocats-sprint-final-694154.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2019-2024/reynders_fr

Council of Europe: Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV)

The profession of lawyer plays a central role in the administration of justice, the defense of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Nowadays, lawyers, both individually and institutionally, are increasingly the target of attacks of all kinds which put in difficulty, even in danger, the independent and secure exercise of their profession.

In 2020, the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) has looked into possible actions to ensure an adequate level of protection to lawyers when exercising their profession. It considered the feasibility of a new European legal instrument, taking into account possible alternatives through which the protection for lawyers could be enhanced, considering the existing international instruments, notably the Committee of Ministers Recommendation R(2000)21 on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

On the basis of this study, the Committee of Ministers established as of January 2022 a Committee of experts on the protection of lawyers (CJ-AV). The CJ-AV consists of 15 representatives of member States, as well as participants and observers as set out in the adopted Terms of reference. The Committee is tasked with the elaboration of a legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or restraint, under the authority of the Committee of Ministers and of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ).

The CJ-AV meets 3 times a year, in closed session. Access to information about specific meetings and documents of the CJ-AV is available below, or depending on their classification, can be consulted in line with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/cj-av

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/profession-of-lawyer

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/cdcj/cj-av (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/convention-europeenne-sur-la-profession-davocat/

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/cdcj/profession-of-lawyer

CCBE plea for legal means to protect profession

20/12/21

CCBE plea for legal instrument to protect profession

The CCBE has said that that attacks against the legal profession now take place in countries where a certain level of respect for the rule of law exists, including EU or Council of Europe member states.

In its end-of-year newsletter, body has reiterated its support Council of Europe work for the establishment of a new legal instrument on the profession of lawyer.

The CCBE has welcomed the recent decision of the Council of Europe to set up a new committee on the protection of lawyers to draft the new legal instrument.

Binding

The organisation believes that there is a clear need for adopting a new binding legal instrument on the profession of lawyer “accompanied by an implementation mechanism in order to guarantee the proper administration of justice and the respect of the rule of law”.

The goal of the legal instrument will be to strengthen the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practise the profession without prejudice or restraint.

The CCBE believes that none of the existing non-binding instruments cover comprehensively all the issues such as:

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2021/12-december/ccbe-plea-for-legal-instrument-to-protect-profession

https://www.ccbe.eu/actions/european-convention-on-the-profession-of-lawyer/

https://rm.coe.int/eng-examen-de-faisabilite-d-un-instrument-juridque-europeen-couv-texte/1680a22790

https://www.ccbe.eu/fr/actions/convention-europeenne-sur-la-profession-davocat/ (FRANCAIS)

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European #Lawyers Day 2021: The Council of Europe attaches particular i

Memorandum of understanding between the Council of Europe and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe

18/06/21

Margarete Gräfin von Galen, President of the CCBE; Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) signed a memorandum of understanding in Strasbourg today with a view to stepping up cooperation between the two bodies and making the Organisation’s activities more visible to Europe’s lawyers.

Lawyers play a key role in the equal administration of justice and the protection of the rights of individuals. In this context, they contribute to ensuring the public’s confidence in the action of tribunals, whose mission is fundamental for democracy and the rule of law. The European Convention on Human Rights protects and guarantees in this respect a number of essential rights which are related to the specific status of lawyers in the administration of justice.

The Council of Europe has long been committed to protecting this profession. The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) recently prepared a feasibility study for a new European legal instrument for protecting the profession of lawyer.

The Council of Europe has longstanding links with bar associations, especially the CCBE (representing over a million lawyers in 45 countries) which makes substantial contributions to the work of the Organisation and cooperates with several organs, in particular the European Court of Human Rights.

[…]

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-council-of-europe-and-the-council-of-bars-and-law-societies-of-europe

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-council-of-europe-and-the-council-of-bars-and-law-societies-of-europe (FRANCAIS)

Council of Europe: Protection of lawyers: Feasibility study on a new European legal instrument

19/04/21

The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) of the Council of Europe publishes today its feasibility study on a new binding or non-binding, European legal instrument to protect the profession of lawyer.

This study examines the problems faced by lawyers in the 47 member States of the Council of Europe, the extent of these problems, the use made of the existing instruments in practice as well as the level of the protection and the manner in which this is currently offered to lawyers. It assesses the possible added-value and effectiveness of a possible future legal instrument in the field, the advantages and disadvantages or risks, according to the nature of such an instrument.

The CDCJ will continue working on these issues as part of its standard-setting activities, taking into account the elements of the study and in accordance with the decisions of the Committee of Ministers.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/protection-of-lawyers-feasibility-study-on-a-new-european-legal-instrument

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cdcj/-/recommendation-and-resolution-on-the-principles-and-guarantees-of-advocates-

https://www.coe.int/fr/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/protection-of-lawyers-feasibility-study-on-a-new-european-legal-instrument (FRANCAIS)