Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Hong Kong police file complaints to lawyer groups over national security case

12/05/22

Hong Kong police said on Thursday they had filed complaints to the city’s main professional legal bodies over a national security case involving a fund that had assisted pro-democracy protesters to pay for legal services.

Five trustees of the now-disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund were arrested by police this week, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia; and leading senior barrister Margaret Ng, 74.

The five were arrested for suspected “conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under a China-imposed national security law, and released on bail.

The police said its investigations had “revealed that a number of solicitors and barristers were suspected of professional misconduct when providing legal services” without giving names or specifics.

Complaints were lodged to the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Hong Kong Law Society, police added.

Neither body replied to a Reuters request for comment.

The others arrested are pop singer Denise Ho, former academic Hui Po-keung and former lawmaker Cyd Ho. The national security law, enacted in June 2020, punishes crimes such as subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life imprisonment. nL2N2X31EL]

Zen, Ng and the others have been forceful advocates of fundamental rights in Hong Kong. Critics of the security law say it erodes the freedoms promised by China under a “one country, two systems” arrangement when Hong Kong was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

[…]

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-to-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case/47588614

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case-2022-05-12/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/hong-kongs-cardinal-zen-90-arrested-with-three-others

https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/

UK ‘turns back on’ former Afghan prosecutor hunted by Taliban

07/05/22

The UK’s Afghan resettlement scheme is failing to support those looking to flee Afghanistan, a former senior prosecutor who lives in fear of his life in neighboring Pakistan has told The Independent.

The man, who is being hunted by the Taliban, has lived in Pakistan for almost 18 months after fleeing his homeland. But he is still being denied resettlement in the UK despite having family members in Britain.

He is “constantly terrified” that underground Taliban networks in the country will locate and kill him. The former director of prosecution for an Afghan province has already been targeted by a car bomb, which he escaped by switching vehicles before it detonated.

He told The Independent that family members back in Afghanistan have received threatening visits and letters.

The former prosecutor living in Pakistan said of the Taliban takeover: “Can you imagine all the prisoners that I had put in prison for their crimes escaping? All the jails were breaking down, and everyone was coming out by themselves. I was scared to death.

“Dealing with the Taliban is a nightmare for all the attorneys. It was unusual for the head of a province to speak to them directly, but I wanted to see if they had regrets for what they did, as many of them are young.

“But it was very difficult because some of them were the most dangerous people — who are proud of killing women and killing children — and they said they would never regret their crimes.

[…]

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2077091/world

https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/south-asia/taliban-afghanistan-uk-resettlement-scheme-b2071241.html

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/afghan-prosecutors-targeted/31471145.html

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/taliban-takeover-of-the-afghanistan-independent-bar-association

https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/aba-works-to-help-afghan-evacuees-stuck-in-abu-dhabi-camp

UK/Russia/Ukraine: Lawyer-bashing has a new target

27/04/22

Lawyer-bashing has long been a national pastime, with attacks regularly mounted by the press and politicians on ‘fat cat’ defence barristers and ‘activist’ legal aid lawyers for having the nerve to, er, do their job. 

But a new target has emerged – the alleged ‘enablers’ of oligarchs, whose cash was generally welcomed in London until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So it was that a panel of eminent investigative journalists queued up at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday evening to pour scorn on claimant media lawyers as the pressure continues to build.

Some firms are ‘becoming the servants of the super-rich’ and using litigation to try and ‘silence a journalist for years’, said Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose work exposing corruption in Malaysia led to her being sued in London and elsewhere.

Paul Caruana Galizia, a reporter at Tortoise Media whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta in 2017, said London lawyers are offering a ‘one-stop oligarch shop’ and, in certain cases, effectively ‘acting for an organised crime group’.

Even an officer of the court joined in, with Adelaide Lopez – a senior associate at Wiggin who recently represented journalist Catherine Belton – saying that ‘naming and shaming … is probably going to be more effective than anything the SRA is going to do’. Ouch.

Asked whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has the ‘capacity or the competence’ to enforce potential new measures to stop so-called ‘lawfare’, Lopez and fellow lawyer Charlie Holt – UK campaigns manager for English PEN – answered in unison: ‘No.’

Perhaps even Gazette readers who deplore the criticism of lawyers for the clients they represent can agree on that one. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/obiter/lawyer-bashing-has-a-new-target/5112297.article

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/defence-counsel-backs-naming-and-shaming-oligarch-solicitors/5112287.article

https://www.bloombergquint.com/gadfly/banning-oligarch-lawyers-isn-t-the-answer-change-british-law

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/why-dont-we-just-cancel-all-the-oligarch-lawyers/2022/04/26/4c388a90-c52f-11ec-8cff-33b059f4c1b7_story.html

https://www.barandbench.com/news/ukraine-v-russia-who-are-ukraines-lawyers-before-the-international-court-of-justice

(UKRAINIAN)

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

Ukraine: Lawyer Syvova Yana kidnapped by Russian forces

16/04/22

Шановні колеги!

Військова агресія російської федерації проти України 🇺🇦 триває!

Нажаль жертвами військових злочинів стають і наші колеги!

Жахливі події відбуваються на тимчасово окупованих територіях Запорізької області!!!

“Русский мир” несе людям тільки горе та страждання. 10 квітня 2022 року окупаційною комендатурою міста Мелітополя було викрадено прекрасну жінку – адвоката, члена Кваліфікаційно-дисциплінарної комісії адвокатури Запорізької області СИВОВУ ЯНУ ВІТАЛІЇВНУ. “Новою владою” вона утримується без жодних підстав. Її доля невідома ні рідним, ні колегам, ні близьким. Таке “освобождєніє” уготоване жителям окупованих територій!? Вимагаємо від загарбників – Припиніть терор!!!

(Рада адвокатів та КДКА Запорізької області Facebook, 14/04/22)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/16/calls-for-us-to-issue-visa-bans-for-uk-lawyers-enabling-russian-oligarchs

Refugee lawyer describes harrowing invasion of Ukraine

14/04/22

A Ukrainian lawyer described the harrowing scenes she witnessed after the Russian invasion, telling an ABA panel on April 7 that she was forced to flee her country with her three young children and leave behind her husband.

Alesya Pavlynska, an employment lawyer at the Ukrainian firm Arzinger Law, described her shock as the first missiles shook Kyiv in the early hours of Feb. 24.

Her husband, Vitalii Shestak, told her and their three kids—Maria, Ivan and Oles—that they would need to take shelter. Pavlynska showed the panel a picture of her children bundled up in a frigid cellar and huddled around their phones.

“It seemed to be unreal and not possible in the modern world—in modern Europe,” Pavlynska said of the moment it dawned on her the invasion was happening.

More than 4.6 million Ukrainians have fled into Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldava and Romania. The ABA convened the webinar, “Ukraine’s Refugee Crisis: The Faces of War,” to discuss the ongoing crisis and how its members can help.

[…]

ABA President Reginald M. Turner Jr. echoed Pavlynska’s message about the rule of law in remarks prerecorded for the webinar audience, saying the war and crisis had to be viewed through the lens of the “fundamental premise to advance liberty and justice for all.”

“Lawyers believe not in the rule of force, but in the rule of law. We believe that human rights are the bedrock of life and liberty. Our stake in the rule of law compels us to denounce the Russian invasion and rededicate our support of international institutions that promote peace and security,” Turner said.

Advocates urge fast action

Speaking from London, Ukrainian Bar Association President Anna Ogrenchuk said she wants the international community to form a special tribunal to investigate war crimes after documented atrocities in Bucha. Ogrenchuk says it’s likely war crimes have been committed in other parts of the country where the Russian military is present. She urged the American legal community to use its clout to support the tribunal and gather evidence.

“We need your expertise. We need your help in investigating and documenting all war crimes —when the crimes are still been committed,” Ogrenchuk said.

More should also be done to cripple the Russian economy, she added. The UBA has released several open letters, including ones to international companies and businesses operating in Russia and international law firms, legal associations and regulators.

“Every day of war costs Russia about $20 billion, and this money comes from companies who pay taxes in Russia,” Ogrenchuk said. “A full economic embargo is the only alternative to a very long and damaging war in Ukraine.”

There are approximately 60,000 attorneys in Ukraine, and about half of them are women, Ogrenchuk added. She said her bar association estimates that two-thirds of female lawyers have left the country, but women are currently doing the bulk of legal work because many male lawyers have enlisted in the military.

[…]

https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/at-aba-panel-refugee-lawyer-describes-harrowing-invasion-of-ukraine

WEBINAR – Lawyers assist Ukraine – 20 April 2022 at 9.30 CET

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/ukrainian-human-rights-lawyer-on-what-constitutes-genocide/

https://www.facebook.com/UkrainianNationalBarAssociation

Ongoing concerns on the situation in Hong Kong and the independence of the Bar Association

14/04/22

Lawyers for Lawyers has previously raised concerns on the position of lawyers in Hong Kong after the National Security Law (NSL) has entered into force on 1 July 2020. The NSL has been in place for almost two years now. Lawyers for Lawyers has growing concerns about the situation of lawyers in Hong Kong and the independence of the Bar Association in Hong Kong in connection to the NSL.

The NSL criminalizes acts that China deems challenging to its authority. This includes acts of secession and collusion with foreign forces. We were informed that the charges under the NSL are loosely defined and open to interpretation. The NSL creates offenses that fall under the laws of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), rather than under the laws of Hong Kong.

Recently, UK judges withdrew from the Hong Kong Court of final appeal, concerned that their continued participation in the Hong Kong judiciary would appear as an endorsement of the current “department from values of political freedom and freedom of expression”. Judges of the UK Supreme Court had sat on the Hong Kong final court of appeal since 1997, when Hong Kong was returned to China.

According to some Hong Kong lawyers, the NSL has infringed upon Hong Kong’s autonomy and the NSL exposes Hong Kong lawyers to a possible crackdown on human rights defenders, similar to those taking place in China since 2015. The last two years, the NSL has indeed had a chilling effect on lawyers in Hong Kong in the last years. Many lawyers involved in human rights cases have discontinued their work or even left Hong Kong out of fear of repercussions.

[…]

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-02/hong-kong-ex-bar-chair-flees-city-after-police-probe-media-says

https://www.finews.asia/people/36634-u-k-judges-resign-from-hong-kong-s-top-court

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/hong-kong-leader-rejects-barrister-nominee-sensitive-judges-panel-appoints-2022-03-25/

Ukrainian Lawyers Share Tales Of War And Ways To Help

08/04/22

Early on the morning of Feb. 24, Alesya Pavlynska, an attorney at Arzinger, Ukraine’s third-largest law firm, woke up to ominous sounds. Missiles were cutting through the sky in Kyiv, where she lives.

“The war has started,” her husband shouted, rushing her to wake their three children, get them dressed and hurry them to the basement for shelter.

In those moments, all her certainties came to a crashing end, she said at a panel discussion hosted Thursday by the American Bar Association. Russian President Vladimir Putin had invaded her country, on “the day that divided our life.”

[…]

The legal community in Europe helped Pavlynska escape to Germany.

Linklaters LLP’s head of the employment practice in Poland, Monika Krzyszkowska-Dąbrowska, met her at the bus station and hosted her for days at her apartment in Warsaw.

They didn’t know each other personally, they just had worked on a common project two years ago, but that was enough, she said. Once they were in Germany, attorneys from firms within Arzinger’s network found places for her and her children to stay.

“My whole way, I was supported by lawyers,” she said. “Our colleagues, the legal professionals, we are a very big family.”

Since the invasion, the legal industry in Ukraine has been turned upside down. The Ukrainian Bar Association, which has about 7,000 members, estimates that 30% of the country’s law firms have shut down.

[…]

“We have Supreme Court judges who went to war,” she said.

Attorneys from big law firms and many Ukrainian Bar Association members have taken up arms to fight Russia’s invasion, Liniova said, speaking from Bulgaria.

There are about 60,000 attorneys in Ukraine, half of them women, according to the Ukrainian Bar Association.

Liniova said attorneys not directly involved in the fight are helping the association by collecting evidence of atrocities that has emerged since the war began, and particularly in recent weeks as Russian forces retreated from areas surrounding Kyiv.

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are all atrocities under international law, but they have distinct legal thresholds and carry different legal and political weight.

[…]

She said the world’s lawyers can help end the war and hold Russia accountable for its aggression, starting by helping document and investigate atrocities.

“We need your expertise,” she said.

She said the legal community should push for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russia for the crime of aggression, which unlike other atrocities is not under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights.

Liniova said there are many things lawyers can do to help Ukraine, starting by engaging with international judicial and human rights protection institutions.

[…]

https://www.law360.com/immigration/articles/1480686/ukrainian-lawyers-share-tales-of-war-and-ways-to-help

https://2go.iccwbo.org/icc-yaf-to-provide-assistance-to-ukrainian-lawyers-in-difficult-times.html

https://www.reuters.com/legal/legalindustry/greenberg-traurig-says-it-will-host-ukrainian-lawyers-kyiv-firm-2022-03-30/

https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/resource/bar-council-pledges-support-for-ukrainian-lawyers.html

FBE stands with Ukraine, its citizens and the Ukrainian National Bar Association and condemns a blatant violation of international law by Russia

https://www.eurointegration.com.ua/eng/articles/2022/04/7/7137438/

Ukraine: At least 3 lawyers killed in combat

01/04/22

On behalf of the Legal Community of Ukraine, on behalf of more than 65,000 Ukrainian advocates and personally, I am grateful for the opportunity to appeal to the commonwealth of European advocates and lawyers and speak here at the meeting of the CCBE Standing Committee.

Today, the attention of the whole world is focused on Ukraine. Since 24 February, military operations have been ongoing in our country. Every day people die – both military and volunteers, doctors, civilians, and children.

Dozens of advocates joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Unfortunately, we already have lost at least three of our colleagues – from the Vinnytsia and Kharkiv regions.

In the first hours of the military aggression, we had a scheduled meeting of the Bar Council of Ukraine. Despite the sounds of explosions, we held it. Each regional representative was present, and I, as the President of the Bar Council of Ukraine, was in Kyiv as well.

On that day, we adopted a number of decisions, in particular recommending QDCBs not to consider it as a misconduct where advocates enlisted into military service had not suspended their right to practise, as required by law. Advocates have neither time nor the possibility to file for suspension of practice.

In the first hours of the military aggression, I called on all advocates to maintain trust and rely on state institutions, which jointly determine political, military and diplomatic steps to protect Ukraine and ensure the safety of its citizens.

[…]

Click to access EN_20220401_Speech-from-the-UNBA-President-at-CCBE-SC.pdf

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/law-society-webinar-on-war-in-ukraine (LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND WEBINAR, APRIL 7th, 2:30pm)

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/international-rule-of-law/news/how-lawyers-can-show-support-for-people-in-ukraine

https://www.politicshome.com/members/article/bar-council-pledges-support-for-ukrainian-lawyers

https://www.ibanet.org/IBA-condemns-Russian-legal-organisations-vocal-support-of-Putins-war-against-Ukraine

https://www.uianet.org/en/news/support-our-ukrainian-colleagues-letter-president-uia-herve-chemouli#:~:text=Lawyers%20%7C%2022.03.2022-,Support%20our%20Ukrainian%20colleagues%20%E2%80%93%20Letter%20from,President%20of%20UIA%2C%20Herv%C3%A9%20Chemouli

https://www.aija.org/en/news/art312

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/dentons-ukraine-lawyers-relocate-to-poland-other-europe-offices

https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/news/opinion/the-war-on-ukraine-the-moral-imperative-for-lawyers/365245

https://www.law.com/international-edition/2022/03/08/nobody-is-going-to-give-up-how-ukraines-lawyers-are-taking-up-arms-and-facing-russias-war/

https://en.unba.org.ua/

https://uba.ua/eng/

https://unba.org.ua/ (UKRAINIAN)

https://www.actu-juridique.fr/international/international-etrangers/jerome-gavaudan-rappeler-la-protection-due-aux-refugies-est-dans-notre-adn/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.avocatparis.org/Solidarite-Ukraine

https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/le-cnb-exprime-sa-totale-solidarite-envers-la-population-et-les-avocats-ukrainiens

https://actu.fr/bretagne/saint-malo_35288/a-saint-malo-la-justice-se-mobilise-dans-un-role-inattendu-pour-lukraine_49736523.html

https://www.avocatparis.org/actualites/les-avocats-montent-au-front-des-droits-et-libertes

https://avocats-valdemarne.com/le-barreau/dernieres-actus/885-ukraine-communique

https://www.ouest-france.fr/normandie/caen-14000/les-avocats-du-barreau-de-caen-votent-une-mention-en-soutien-a-l-ukraine-598bee66-a055-11ec-b494-7a5e63fed517

https://www.lessor38.fr/les-avocats-condamnent-l-invasion-de-l-ukraine-104887.html

https://www.leprogres.fr/faits-divers-justice/2022/03/10/quand-les-avocats-lyonnais-s-activent-pour-aider-les-ukrainiens

Colombia: Day of the Endangered Lawyer – Wrap up

24/01/22

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "24 January 2022 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE LAWYER IN DANGER COLOMBIA"

Along with the workaday perils of practising law that they share with their male counterparts, such as being gunned down in the street, Colombia’s women lawyers face threats that are particular to them. They could be raped, for example, or suffer another form of sexual assault that aims to intimidate and discourage them from doing their job – which is representing and protecting the vulnerable through the rule of law. Also, women lawyers’ children may be threatened with violence or press ganged into a guerrilla army, where the only subject on the curriculum – Marxist precepts apart – is how to kill.

These are some of the stark truths to emerge from this year’s Day of the Endangered Lawyer (24 January) panel discussion chaired by Law Society international human rights adviser Doctor Marina Brilman. Previous discussions have looked at other countries where the rule of law no longer holds sway, such as Azerbajan, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. This year’s focus is on the South American republic of Colombia, where the 2016 peace agreement was supposed to have ended the 60 year conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the state.

The conflict claimed around 262,000 lives, displaced 6.9m people, saw around 18,000 children forced to join armed groups and many thousands more people ‘disappeared’, raped or tortured. The optimism engendered by the agreement has failed to bear fruit, as the three Colombian lawyers on the panel report.

Dora Lucy Arias Giraldo is a member of Colombia’s leading human rights lawyers’ collective. She begins: ‘The Colombian constitution states that it is the duty of lawyers to promote human rights and represent the vulnerable. And yet the government, working through its own intelligence organisations, has an active strategy of diminishing and weakening our operations through attacks on our children and sexual violence against our (women lawyers’) bodies.’ She concedes: ‘There are protection measures in place regarding gender, but they are under-funded – a particular problem when trying to bring powerful economic players to justice.’

Ana Maria Rodriguez, who is also a human rights lawyer, warns that Colombia’s ‘entire existence as a social justice state’ is under threat. She points to recent ‘reforms’ that were designed specifically to weaken the remit of both public prosecutors and the ombudsman, while increasing the power of the executive to turn a blind eye to government corruption.

[…]

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer/5111266.article

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2022/01/statement-of-aba-president-reginald-turner-re-day-of-the-endange/

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/rhone/lyon/journee-internationale-des-avocats-en-danger-le-barreau-de-lyon-denoncent-la-situation-de-leurs-conferes-colombiens-2431921.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.leprogres.fr/societe/2022/01/24/journee-de-l-avocat-en-danger-a-lyon-une-tradition-de-defense-des-droits-de-l-homme

https://www.camerepenali.it/cat/11306/24_gennaio_2022_-_giornata_dell_avvocato_minacciato.html (ITALIANO)

May be an image of text that says "HANDS ELAWYERS CONVEGNO MB Golombia DIFENDERE minacciati OGNI COSTO Colombia nel mondo WEBINAR Venerdì gennaio 2022, ZOOM Saluti Federica SANTINON Presidente Presidente Renato Avv. STELLA Dott.ssa Avvocati Venezia Fondazione Feliciano Benvenuti NOLI Avv. Tiziana CESCHIN, Consigliera Campus Human Introduce delega diritti umani Consiglio Presiede Federico CAPPELLETTI Consigliere Coordinatore Commissione Avvocati Venezia dell'Ordine Intervengono Dott.ssa generale Colombia" Colombia testimonianza Ilruolo Droits processi Diritti Presidente Trarieux" Go-responsabile Osservatorio Avvocati CANESTRINI Committee European Criminal Italia Association Video-testimonianza Premio Rommel formativi CASTELLANOS, avvocato CONILPATROCINIODI colombiano, fini della ormazione obbligatoria Avvocati con riconoscimento lin. 3 obbligatorie. Prenotazione obbligatoria attraverso portale della Fondazione Feliciano EyBA"