Tag Archives: Law Society of England & Wales

Afghan lawyers and judges in danger


Today, January 24, marks the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. As a Canadian lawyer I want to draw attention to the challenges facing some members of the legal profession in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban government assumed power in the country more than a year ago, the risk of retaliation and danger have only increased for many lawyers and judges, particularly women, advocates say.

For Nasrin (whose name has been changed to protect her identity), leaving Afghanistan was the last resort.

She had spent decades developing pioneering legislation and policies as a judge and legal advocate. When the Taliban took over in August 2021, everything changed. Facing death threats, she ultimately left. “I didn’t have any choice,” she told me. “I left my country, my house.” Now she and other legal activists are warning about the ever-increasing risks that lawyers and judges in the country still face and the need for countries like Canada to step up their efforts to help at-risk Afghans.

“If a woman wants to be a leader, like head of a court … it’s a very big position, but it is very dangerous,” Nasrin says.

Judges like Nasrin, as well as prosecutors, have been threatened with reprisals from the people they tried and the Taliban themselves. She is in contact with colleagues in the legal profession who remain in Afghanistan, and says the situation is worse than a year ago, as lawyers and judges fear for their safety.

“The first line is judges, the second line is defence lawyers and prosecutors … they are searching to find them,” she says.

The development of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in 2008 was part of a broader effort to build a non-governmental body that would regulate the legal profession and provide resources to support lawyers and access to legal services. But in November 2021, it was dismantled by armed Taliban soldiers and the Ministry of Justice gained possession of the AIBA’s database, containing contact information of members. The organization is now relaunching itself in exile, from Brussels.




International Day Of The Endangered Lawyer: “We Strongly And Unequivocally Condemn The Repressive Tendencies Of The Taliban Government In Afghanistan Towards Lawyers”- Maikyau


https://charidy.com/AfghanWomen (PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)









https://www.darivoa.com/amp/lawyers-in-Afghanistan-face-threats/6933046.html (DARI)

https://www.pashtovoa.com/a/us-special-envoy-for-afghan-women-says-will-stand-with-afghan-lawyers/6933080.html (PASHTO)

https://www.lextimes.fr/actualites/avocats-en-danger/treizieme-edition-consacree-lafghanistan (FRANCAIS)




Russian Invasion Upends Life for Ukrainian Lawyers, a Year Later


Adam Mycyk was asleep in his home in Kyiv, Ukraine in late February 2022 when the blare of missile strikes shook him awake.

His mind raced. Where’s the nearest bomb shelter? What if the electric grid is hit?

The Dentons partner then spent the first day of Russia’s invasion scrambling to organize coverage for companies he advises.

“I was in the middle of two deals at that point—maybe three—that were mostly Ukraine-related, but cross-border in nature,” said Mycyk, 56, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, in an interview. “These things still had to move forward.”

The Russian invasion has upended the lives of lawyers in Ukraine, forcing them to confront safety, psychological and logistical challenges as they work from a country under siege. Nearly a year after the siege began, the lawyers who fled are carrying on as refugees in foreign countries, wondering when they’ll be able to return.

For those who remain in Ukraine, any sense of normalcy is interrupted by hours of air raid sirens day and night.

“You could have a court hearing, and then the sirens would go off and the court had to adjourn the hearing,” said Roman Hryshyn-Hryshchuk, a CMS Legal Services litigation associate. “Sometimes you had to conduct them while literally hiding in the shelter.”

Hryshyn-Hryshchuk has been in the small, western town of Vyzhnytsia since February, when he left Kyiv to stay with his parents. He is banned from leaving the country and said he’s hesitant to travel between regions as suspicions about runaways or saboteurs escalate among authorities and defense volunteers.








On the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, The 29 Principles, Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights’ Institute (IBAHRI), the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Front Line Defenders, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA-IROL), the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, the American Association of the International Commission of Jurists, the Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Avocats sans Frontières, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, The Rights Practice, Ordre des Barreaux Francophones et Germanophones de Belgique express their concern about the ongoing detention of Chinese human rights lawyers Li Yuhan. Li Yuhan has been detained in Shenyang City, the capital of the Northeastern province of Liaoning since October 2017. She was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Although her case was tried last year, there is still no verdict and her release date remains unknown.

Li Yuhan is a veteran lawyer who started practising in the 1990s, taking on numerous human rights cases such as Falon Gong and Christian underground churches. She also represented Wang Yu, one of the most prominent lawyers arrested in the “709 crackdown” – a mass arrest of human rights lawyers and other activists in 2015. The arrest of Li was regarded as retaliation for her involvement in Wang Yu’s case and other sensitive cases.

It is reported that she has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment while in detention, including insufficient food and being denied to receive adequate and appropriate medical treatment. Also, the authorities tried to force her to plead guilty and postponed her trial a few times until October 2021.  

Having been detained for more than five years, her health deteriorated rapidly and she suffers from arrhythmia, fluttering in chest and tremors, coronary heart disease, unstable angina, hyperthyroidism, acute erosive gastritis, cerebral concussion, and cerebral ischemia.





https://29principles.uk/zh-hant/contents/%E5%90%84%E5%9C%B0%E4%BA%BA%E6%AC%8A%E7%B5%84%E7%B9%94%E6%96%BC%E3%80%8C%E5%9C%8B%E9%9A%9B%E5%A5%B3%E6%80%A7%E4%BA%BA%E6%AC%8A%E6%8D%8D%E8%A1%9B%E8%80%85%E6%97%A5%E3%80%8D%E8%81%AF%E5%90%88%E5%91%BC%E7%B1%B2%E8%A6%81%E6%B1%82%E7%AB%8B%E5%8D%B3%E9%87%8B%E6%94%BE%E6%9D%8E%E6%98%B1%E5%87%BD%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%EF%BC%88%E5%8F%AA%E6%9C%89%E8%8B%B1%E6%96%87%E7%89%88%EF%BC%89 (CHINESE)

Afghanistan: Bolch Prize to be awarded to International Association of Women Judges


The Bolch Judicial Institute has named the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) as the 2023 recipient of the Bolch Prize for the Rule of Law in recognition of the organization’s remarkable efforts to evacuate, support, and resettle Afghan women judges who, because of their gender and work as judges, have faced persecution and violence since the Taliban took control of the country in late 2021.

The IAWJ will be honored during a ceremony at Duke University on March 1, 2023.

Under the leadership of New Zealand Supreme Court Justice Susan Glazebrook, president of the IAWJ and the association’s Afghan Support Committee, the IAWJ mobilized member judges from around the world to assist Afghan women judges in the days leading up to and the months following the collapse of Afghanistan’s democracy in August 2021. Recognizing the particular dangers Afghanistan’s women judges face under Taliban rule, IAWJ members have worked — and continue to work — tirelessly to secure safe passage out of the country for the judges and their families and assist them in obtaining visas and relocating to countries where they can rebuild their lives and careers.

“The IAWJ has led an extraordinary rescue operation, bringing more than 100 Afghan women judges and many of their families to safety and continuing efforts to assist those who remain,” said David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute. “The Bolch Prize for the Rule of Law recognizes both the heroism of the IAWJ’s efforts to assist Afghanistan’s women judges and the organization’s long history of supporting and advancing women judges and addressing gender inequities in judicial and justice systems around the world. And in honoring the IAWJ, we also honor the incredible courage of Afghanistan’s women judges, who broke barriers and risked personal safety to try to build a better future for their country and now call on the international community for help as they work to rebuild their lives.”

“The IAWJ has worked for decades to surmount the numerous obstacles women judges face around the world,” said Kerry Abrams, dean of Duke Law School. “From gender-based discrimination and legal structures that subjugate women to professional hierarchies that force women into limited roles, women in judicial positions face many barriers, in all corners of the world. Through mentoring, partnerships, educational opportunities, and global outreach, the IAWJ created a network of members around the world who have worked together to address common challenges, to support one another in overcoming barriers, and to strengthen the rule of law. That network also put the IAWJ in an unparalleled position to provide on-the-ground help to Afghan women judges when they suddenly needed to flee their collapsing country.”





Afghanistan: Taliban’s ‘Injustice’; Women Lawyers and Judges Forced to Beg for Food


The US official wrote in a string of tweets on Wednesday, November 23, that “One year ago today, the Taliban dissolved the Afghan Independent Bar [Association] which was a model of gender inclusion.”

“Now women are sidelined from practicing law & many women judges & lawyers are forced to beg for food for their children rather than use their skills,” Rina Amiri slammed the Taliban saying “Such injustice.”

After the Taliban took control of the country last year, the group’s leadership dissolved the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association on the 23rd of November.

The Afghan Independent Bar Association sought to advance and defend social justice, the rule of law, and the application of Islamic law in Afghanistan and was founded to foster new generations of legal professionals, improve access to fair trials, and fight against administrative corruption.

The Bar Association of Afghanistan had over 6,000 members, with women making up almost a quarter of the members, according to one of the members.

Many defense attorneys said that the current administration had revoked their licenses and stressed that they are not permitted to work on legal or criminal cases until they receive a new license from the Taliban Ministry of Justice.







https://www.sudouest.fr/gironde/bordeaux/solidarite-en-gironde-il-faut-aider-raana-et-muhammad-habibi-12996526.php (FRANCAIS)




https://www.ildubbio.news/2022/11/23/procuratrice-afghana/ (ITALIANO)

UK: Lawyers among victims of latest Iran clampdown


Iranian authorities must comply with international legal obligations to respect fundamental human rights, the Law Society said today as further information emerged on the growing number of lawyers being arrested and detained arbitrarily in the country. The latest clampdown follows a wave of protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her detention in September for incorrect wearing of the hijab. 

The Law Society said that reports have been received of 23 lawyers being arrested in the past month alone.  ‘We are extremely concerned about the welfare of these lawyers, many of whom we understand have been ill-treated in detention,’ vice president Nick Emmerson said. 

‘We are also extremely worried about a human rights defender on hunger-strike, who is said to be in a critical condition. It is reported that they have been refused visits from their lawyer and family members, including during their time in hospital.

‘The arrest and detention of these lawyers who work to uphold the rule of law is particularly concerning because it signals a further restriction of the right to legal representation for thousands of people arrested across the country.’

The Law Society has called on the Iranian authorities to:

• Immediately and unconditionally release all lawyers and human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and drop all charges against them;











https://www.dw.com/fa-ir/%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%86%D8%B4%D9%85-%D9%88-%DA%AF%D9%88%D8%B4-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%82%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A8-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B4%D9%86%D8%AF/a-63814864 (FARSI)


https://www.tg24.info/cassino-avvocati-a-sostegno-della-collega-iraniana-presa-a-frustate/ (ITALIANO)


Tunisia: Joint statement on the arbitrary prosecution of Tunisian lawyers Hayet Eljazer and Ayoub Ghedamsi


Lawyers for Lawyers, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, The Law Society of England and Wales and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute are concerned about the arbitrary prosecution of Hayet Eljazer and Ayoub Ghedamsi. Mrs Eljazer and Mr. Ghedamsi have been charged with “insulting a public official from the justice system” in connection to their legitimate professional activities. We call on the Tunisian authorities to immediately halt the criminal prosecution of the lawyers.

Hayet Eljazer and Ayoub Ghedamsi are both members of the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LTDH). They have represented many human rights defenders and worked on cases related to police violence and torture.

Hayet Eljazer and Ayoub Ghedamsi are charged with “insulting a public official from the justice system” according to articles 125 and 126 of the Penal Code. The charges against the lawyers are connected to their representation of a 67-year-old man and his son in a case concerning their ill-treatment, kidnapping and torture. According to the information received, the charges are based on a complaint filed by a Carthage District judge on 30 April 2020 against the two lawyers regarding their request to defer a case to another court due to a lack of impartiality, violation of due process and the concealment of violations of their clients’ rights. The reason for the Judge’s, complaint was that the lawyers presented evidence that their clients were forced to say that they had not been disappeared or tortured at a secret hearing without the presence of their lawyers.

On Wednesday 12 October 2022, the first hearing in the case against Hayet Eljazer and Ayoub Ghedamsi took place. 250 lawyers, including representatives from the Tunis Bar were present at court to show solidarity with the two lawyers. The next hearing is yet to be scheduled. If the lawyers are convicted and sentenced, they would face between two months and six years of imprisonment.



https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/ar/case/human-rights-defenders-and-lawyers-ayoub-ghedamsi-and-hayet-jazzar-summoned (ARABIC)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/human-rights-defenders-and-lawyers-ayoub-ghedamsi-and-hayet-jazzar-summoned (FRANCAIS)


Iranian lawyers must be released immediately


The Law Society of England and Wales, together with Lawyers for Lawyers, calls on the Iranian government to halt the arbitrary arrest, detention and ill treatment of lawyers, who play a vital role in upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights.

Nationwide protests in Iran began on 16 September, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in a hospital in Tehran after being arrested by the Guidance Patrol (also known as the morality police) for wearing an “improper hijab.”

Protesters are being arrested and detained in their thousands without being allowed access to a legal representative.

Lawyers themselves are being violently arrested, transported to prisons, and ill-treated.

The Law Society is especially concerned about the welfare of a number of lawyers.

Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “Some of these lawyers are being held in solitary confinement, at notorious prison wards known for incidents of torture, or their whereabouts are unknown.

“No charges have been brought or published against them and they have had no access to a lawyer or visits from relatives.

“Access to a legal representative is a right established in Iranian law, as well as international law, and has to be respected and guaranteed.”

The arrest and detention of these lawyers are the latest incidents in the continuing crackdown on lawyers. Over the last five years, Iranian authorities have prosecuted, convicted and detained many, including lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, for their peaceful opposition to compulsory hijab laws.






Joint Statement on the Arrest, Detention, and Ill Treatment of Lawyers in Iran


The Law Society of England and Wales and Lawyers for Lawyers call on the Iranian Government to halt the arbitrary arrest, detention, and ill treatment of lawyers and allow protesters access to legal representatives.

Nation-wide protests began on 16 September 2022, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in a hospital in Tehran after being arrested by the morality police for wearing an “improper hijab”. Under Iranian law, women who appear without a “proper” hijab in public, based on the judgment of the morality police, can be fined or sentenced to between 10 days to two months in prison. Over the past five years, authorities have prosecuted, convicted, and detained several individuals, including lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, for their peaceful opposition to compulsory hijab laws.

Peaceful protests have been – and are – taking place in many cities, including Tehran, Ilam, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Mahabad, Saqez, Sanandaj, Sari and Tabriz to demand accountability for the death of Amini and put an end to violence and discrimination against women in Iran. It has been reported that there has been an excessive use of force by state authorities against protesters and that hundreds of protesters have been arbitrarily arrested and are denied access to a legal representative, as well as visits by relatives. On 12 October, an internet shutdown was implemented in many parts of the country, allegedly to prevent evidence of human rights violations from being distributed and to stop the protests.

We are very concerned about the following lawyers who have been arrested and detained, some of whom are held at an undisclosed location. Milad Panahipour and Saeed Jalilian, who represent political rights activist Hossein Ronaghi, were arrested together with their client at Evin Court on 24
September 2022. They were subjected to beatings and excessive restraint and then transported to Evin prison – where they are currently held – in an ambulance. Due to the number of detainees, prison vans are no longer available, so that detainees are transported to holding centres in ice cream lorries and ambulances. The lawyer Mahsa Gholamalizadeh was detained on the same day, after confiscation of her belongings, and is being held in solitary confinement at Evin prison.








https://www.avocatparis.org/actualites/iran-ceremonie-dhommage (FRANCAIS)

UK: How solicitors and firms are supporting displaced Ukrainian lawyers


Since the illegal invasion of Ukraine began, the solicitor profession has stood in solidarity with the country and its people. We brought together over 100 displaced Ukrainian lawyers and 24 major employers to create networking, employment and training opportunities.

Over 170 guests attended the job fair on 26 September, which aimed to support Ukrainian lawyers who have moved to the UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Over 20 major employers, including Shell, Deutsche Bank, Dentons and LexisNexis, had the opportunity to promote a diverse range of roles and initiatives to more than 100 Ukrainian lawyers and collect applications for vacancies.

UK organisations also provided practical advice and guidance, helping lawyers to understand their options for employment and training.

“Today is an example of solidarity in action,” said chief executive of the Law Society, Ian Jeffrey.

“We have brought together law firms, in-house legal teams, legal service providers, recruitment agencies, training providers and English language schools that Ukrainian lawyers will be able to meet with.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, gave a powerful speech condemning Russia’s illegal invasion of his homeland.

He also highlighted the critical role of initiatives that address local problems experienced by Ukrainian refugees, including the search for employment and housing.





https://www.avocatparis.org/Solidarite-Ukraine (FRANCAIS)