Tag Archives: Law Society of England & Wales

International Bar Association: IBA 2019: ‘Enthusiastic amateurs’ wanted to protect lawyers at risk

September 27, 2019

Simon Davis IBA

Commercial lawyers can do their bit as ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ to help protect colleagues at risk and the rule of law in general around the world, the president of the Law Society told the global legal profession today.

‘We need to ensure we are capturing the imagination and influence of the enthusiastic amateur,’ Davis told a packed closing session of the International Bar Association’s annual conference discussing ways to address the persecution of lawyers and judges.

By uniting in solidarity the profession can show that human rights lawyers are not just some isolated group to be picked off by hostile authorities, Davis said.

‘You can be a human rights lawyer in any organisation – we are all human rights lawyers,’ the Clifford Chance partner said.

The conference heard accounts of lawyers being threatened, imprisoned and murdered in countries as diverse as Turkey, Thailand and Venezuela. In the Philippines alone, 44 lawyers have been killed over the past three years, Erik Hammerstein, a commercial litigator who sites on the board of Netherlands group Lawyers for Lawyers said.

Noting this year’s furore over the granting of legal aid to a solicitor acting for a fugitive from justice, Davis said that the battle to protect the independence of the legal profession also had to be fought at home.





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Turkey: Update: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2019)

June 10, 2019

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative updated its report entitled  “Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2019).”

According to the latest update, 1546 Turkish lawyers have been prosecuted and 599 lawyers have been arrested since 2016 July. And so far, 311 Turkish lawyers have been sentenced to 1967 years in prison by the first instance courts under article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code.


The report reveals that all persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses; the main two accusations directed against them are membership to an armed terrorist organisation, and forming and leading an armed terrorist organisation. Article 314 of the Penal Code criminalises the establishment and commanding of (Article 314/1), as well as membership (Article 314/2) to an armed organisation. Under the Turkish Penal Code, these two offences attract 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment.

Update: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2019)

President Erdogan 20.06.2019

Colombia/UK: Human rights and the rule of law in South America examined

April 29, 2019

On 30 April 2019, the Law Society’s international human rights adviser, Dr. Marina Brilman, gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the rule of law and human rights in South America. The Law Society submitted written evidence in November 2018. The main subjects addressed in the session were:

  • Regional challenges to the Inter-American system of human rights by PROSUR member states and lack of financing
  • The rise in attacks against lawyers and human rights defenders in Colombia, especially after the signing of the peace agreemen



Turkey: Why we need to support lawyers in Turkey

April 10, 2019

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An attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016 was followed by a purge of lawyers, judges, journalists, opposition politicians, academics and civil servants. Estimates vary, but up to 150,000 people were dismissed, with thousands prosecuted and imprisoned. Amongst them over 1,500 lawyers, including many presidents of provincial bar associations, have been prosecuted and over 200 convicted of terrorist-related offences. Many face long jail sentences. The number grows daily.

The Law Society has been heavily involved in supporting persecuted lawyers. This has been through making interventions on behalf of individual lawyers, and through working jointly with the IBA Human Rights Institute, the Bar Human Rights Committee and Turkish lawyers to make detailed representations to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Human Rights Watch today publishes an important report highlighting cases in which lawyers have been unjustifiably prosecuted and making detailed recommendations as to what the Turkish state should do to remedy violations against lawyers. It also proposes steps which it feels that the national bar association, the Union of Turkish Bars, should do to better support its members.

Judges and lawyers are of course always at the centre of efforts to ensure that the citizen is properly represented when charged with crimes by the state; that the rule of law is upheld; and that fundamental rights and freedoms are respected. These roles have been described as one of the ‘guardrails of democracy’ by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their book ‘How Democracies Die’. When the guardrails come loose, democracy itself is threatened. Persecution of lawyers and judges, evidenced by attacks in state sponsored media, threats, investigations and prosecutions are becoming almost a template of oppression in authoritarian regimes. Rattling the guardrail until it detaches results in democratic safeguards being rendered impotent.







UK: The Law Society launches Intervention Tracker 2018

March 13, 2019

intervention tracker

The Law Society launched its Intervention Tracker 2018. This is the third intervention tracker produced by the Law Society.


This latest tracker includes information on all letters sent on lawyers and human rights defenders at risk by the Law Society during the year 2018 (confidential letters are not included). Most letters were sent to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Latin America. The human rights violations most often committed against lawyers and human rights defenders in 2018 was arrest and detention (53.3%), followed by assassinations (20%) and harassment or threats (20%).

The Intervention Tracker 2018 also includes a comparison of data between the years 2016, 2017, and 2018. This data shows that arrest and detention continue to be the most frequent violations committed and that the number of assassinations of lawyers and human rights defenders increased in 2018. Killings were most frequent in Latin America, followed by South Asia. The Law Society’s Intervention Tracker does not necessarily reflect the situation of lawyers at risk worldwide



Saudi Arabia: Nomination of Waleed Abu al-Khair for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award | Joint Letter

March 29, 2019

Waleed Abu al-Khair, unlawfully imprisoned for his work as a human  rights lawyer since 15 April 2014, has been nominated for the 2019
American Bar Association Human Rights Award jointly by LRWC, Lawyers for  Lawyers, Union Internationale des Avocats and the Law Society of England  and Wales.


In accordance with the request of the American Bar Association (ABA) for nominees for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award, the following organizations —Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW) and the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) —recommend and nominate human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair of Saudi Arabia for the 2019 ABA International Human Rights Award.

Waleed Abu al-Khair is one of the best-known advocates for democratic and human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.  He has used the written and spoken word coupled with his legal knowledge to fearlessly advocate for reforms to improve the lives of all in Saudi Arabia by calling on the Government of Saudi Arabia to allow its citizens to enjoy internationally protected rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and the right to participate directly and indirectly in public affairs.  He has done this work through writing and public speaking, by representing causes and clients unpopular with the Government of Saudi Arabia, by providing a safe space for peaceful discussion of issues of public concern and by providing people with an example of responsible advocacy for justice for all.  At the risk of his own personal and professional safety and security, Waleed Abu al-Khair persisted in using his training and skills as a lawyer to be an outspoken advocate for an elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a constitutional monarchy and recognition of internationally protected human rights. He has also advocated on behalf of prisoners of conscience and written many articles identifying human rights abuses and the need for legal reform. He recommended reliance on the rule of law and proper legal procedures to effect reform and settle disputes and differences of opinion and never advocated or used violence as a means of opposition.







https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

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Turkey: Lawyers Associations join forces to raise concern for the rule of law and the legal profession in Turkey for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer

January 24, 2019

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has joined ten other Bar Associations, Law Societies and Legal Organisations in a joint declaration concerning the breakdown of the rule of law and serious threats against the independence of Judges, Lawyers, and Prosecutors in Turkey.

The declaration marks the 9th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer and, along with BHRC, includes Abogacía Española – Consejo General, Geneva Bar Association–Human Rights Commission, German Bar Association–Human Rights Committee, European Bar Human Rights Institute, Paris Bar Human Rights Institute, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, International Observatory for endangered lawyers, Law Society of England and Wales, Lawyers for Lawyers, and Norwegian Bar Association–Human Rights Committee.

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer was founded and is organised by the Foundation for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer based in Harrlem, the Netherlands. The 24th of January was chosen to be the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer because on this day in 1977 four lawyers and a co-worker were murdered at their office in Madrid, Spain. This was also known as the Massacre of Atocha.

The Day honours lawyers across the world who put themselves at risk in the fight for human rights and the rule of law. It aims to create awareness that the practice of the legal profession in many countries involves significant risks, but also to denounce the situation in a particular country where lawyers are victims of serious violations of their fundamental rights because of the exercise of their profession. Each year, the persecution of lawyers in a particular country is highlighted, and the Foundation coordinates activities outside of the country’s embassies around the world. Previous Days of the Endangered Lawyer have expressed concern for lawyers in Iran (2010), Turkey (2012), Basque Country/Spain (2013), Colombia (2014), the Philippines (2015), Honduras (2016), China (2017) and Egypt (2018).

In line with the focus for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer for 2019, the joint declaration expressed its concern for lawyers in Turkey:







Updated Report: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)



https://www.evrensel.net/haber/371866/paris-barosu-artik-adalet-savunma-icin-yerini-bulsun (TURKCE)

http://www.omedyam.com/istanbul-milletvekili-oya-ersoydan-24-ocak-tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gununde-kanun-teklifi-117031/ (TURKCE)

https://www.yenialanya.com/guncel/tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gunu-icin-antalya-adliyesi-nde-eylem-h350849.html (TURKCE)

http://www.antalyasonhaber.com/tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gunu-icin-adliyede-eylem-215081h.htm (TURKCE)

https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/65814/tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gununde-eylem (TURKCE)

https://medyabold.com/2019/01/24/24-ocak-dunya-tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gununde-bir-metin-feyzioglu-portresi/ (TURKCE)

http://mezopotamyaajansi14.com/tum-haberler/content/view/45778 (TURKCE)

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yerel-haberler/antalya/tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gunu-icin-adliyede-eylem-41093221 (TURKCE)

https://www.arti49.com/tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gunu-icin-adliyede-eylem-1424421h.htm (TURKCE)

http://www.camerepenali.it/cat/9659/giornata_dell%E2%80%99avvocato_minacciato_24_gennaio_2019.html (ITALIANO)

http://www.idhae.org/OBSAV-DEL190124-TUR.htm?fbclid=IwAR2lT2R_herNRCBWt1zG_ma-sTKaPBW0id9a1EBmy0Z2LDZk1w6CvqL60iw (FRANCAIS)

https://www.odage.ch/medias/commissions/documents/Droits%20de%20l’Homme/CP_Avocats_en_danger_2019.pdf?fbclid=IwAR17WjLgXqT8okhxgnpCOfi9HHXu67P6NAoIWoyiWabgsMPId8tFoF1fi4U (FRANCAIS)

https://www.letemps.ch/monde/combat-heroique-avocats-regime-erdogan (FRANCAIS)

https://osce.delegfrance.org/9eme-journee-internationale-de-l-avocat-en-danger-Grave-repression-des-avocats (FRANCAIS)

https://brandaktuell.at/2019/01/24/karriere/plattform-rechtsstaatanlaesslich-des-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-auch-zu-aktuellen-aeusserungen-des-oesterreichischen-innenministers/ (DEUTSCH)

https://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20190124_OTS0099/plattform-rechtsstaatanlaesslich-des-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-auch-zu-aktuellen-aeusserungen-des-oesterreichischen-innenministers (DEUTSCH)

https://juristen.no/nyheter/2019/01/markerer-st%C3%B8tte-til-tyrkiske-jurister (NORWEGIAN)






Padova, Italia

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Iran: Prominent Civil Rights Activist Held Incommunicado In Prison

January 14, 2019

Nasrin Sotoudeh, prominent human rights defender jailed for five years. File photo

The prominent Iranian civil rights activists and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh has once again been held incommunicado in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, her husband Reza Khandan disclosed in an interview with Radio Farda January 13.

“The prison authorities have held Nasrin incommunicado, after finding a small pair of scissors in her personal effects,” Khandan reported.

Reza Khandan, who was recently released from Evin after months in custody, also told Radio Farda that because of the negligence of the prison authorities, the inmates have recently been forced to personally procure their foodstuff.

According to Mr. Khandan, Evin’s authorities have decided to increase their pressure on female inmates to prevent leaks concerning the conditions in the prison.

Sotoudeh, 55, is the winner of numerous prestigious international awards, including PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write (2011), Southern Illinois University School of Law Rule of Law Citation (2011) AND Sakharov Prize (2012)

On 21 September 2018, she was also awarded the annual tribute for a lawyer, the 23rd Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize initially bestowed on Nelson Mandela in 1986 when in jail.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, outspoken opponent of the death penalty and compulsory hijab has been sentenced to five years prison.









https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1397/10/nasrin-sotoudeh-visitation-ban/?fbclid=IwAR0al_UAFwjijb1Se9Yu2Eyo9vqLtc00tylFDka70lOGxs7TG-kxFv6XfOo (FARSI)

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/29707543.html (FARSI)

http://www.women.ncr-iran.org/fr/infos-des-femmes/3542-la-prisonniere-politique-nasrin-sotoudeh-interdite-de-visite-en-prison-en-iran?fbclid=IwAR0ENWpqKSggvq7VRet7XYS7F4kK37QTXj0f9W1Oc2dd2CCw7U2e_l_dVFY (FRANCAIS)



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Iran/UK: Society calls for release of hijab protestors’ lawyer

January 2, 2019

Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text

The Law Society of England and Wales has renewed its call for the release of Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The 55-year-old lawyer was detained in June 2018 after agreeing to defend women arrested for demonstrating against Iran’s hijab laws.

In a letter to the head of the country’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Chancery Lane repeats concerns raised in a protest sent with other bar associations last August against Sotoudeh’s detention in connection with her legitimate rights as an attorney.

The letter notes that Iran has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which obliges states to ensure that lawyers are free to carry out professional duties. It calls on the authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Sotoudeh, withdraw all charges against her, vacate any convictions imposed in her absence and without notice to her, and put an end to all acts of harassment against her;
  • Ensure that all authorities strictly comply with and act in accordance with the due process rights of Ms. Sotoudeh guaranteed by the UN covenant;
  • Guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Iran enjoy and carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment; and to now.

According to latest reports by Iranian human rights organisations, Sotoudeh had been due to go on trial on unknown charges on 23 December.










https://www.dw.com/de/d%C3%BCstere-stimmung-im-iran-durch-us-politik/a-46783333 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.dw.com/es/la-pol%C3%ADtica-de-sanciones-de-estados-unidos-genera-m%C3%A1s-opresi%C3%B3n-en-ir%C3%A1n/a-46910394 (ESPANOL)


Turkey/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2019 (London)

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Event TypeSeminar
When24/01/2019 17:30 – 20:30Add Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2019 To Your CalendarAdd To Your Calendar
VenueThe Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
CostNo charge 

Overview SRA Competencies: A1, C3

Since 2010, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is organised to draw attention to the situation of lawyers at risk in a particular country. In 2019, the focus will be on Turkey, because of the widespread arrests, detentions, and dismissals of members of the legal profession in the country – especially since the attempted coup in 2016.

This seminar, organised jointly by the Law Society and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, will focus on the circumstances that lawyers in Turkey face (pre and post the failed coup), the enactment of emergency decree laws, the lack of admissibility of Turkish cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), specifics of litigating Turkish cases before the ECtHR, trial observation in Turkey, and advocacy efforts.

Welcome by Christina Blacklaws, president, Law Society
Ozlem Zingil, lawyer, Turkey
Achilleas Demetriades, applicant’s lawyer in Loizidou v. Turkey, and other ECtHR cases
Tony Fisher, chair, Law Society Human Rights Committee
Natacha Bracq, programme lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Concluding remarks by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, director, IBA Human Rights Institute









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