September 27, 2019
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.