Letter on draft lawyers bill
30 September 2014

Letter on draft lawyers bill


On 23 September, Lawyers for Lawyers sent a letter to the Indonesian authorities to express its concern about the Bill on Attorneys that is currently deliberated by the People’s Representative Council.

Although the proposed bill contains several provisions that should further enable Indonesian advocates to practice law in freedom and independence, in the view of Lawyers for Lawyers it falls short of international standards.

Lawyers for Lawyers’s primary concern relates to the creation of a National Advocates Council (Dewan Advokat Nasional). Although lawyers have the right to create their own bar associations,  the authority of these bar associations will effectively be limited by the National Advocates Council, which shall have several tasks and authorities that are normally performed by bar associations, including the promotion of lawyers’ continuing education and training and protection of professional integrity. The members of the National Advocates Council will also play a role as representatives in an Honorary Council (Majelis Kehormatan), which shall handle appeal cases in disciplinary proceedings against lawyers (see Article 39 and 40 of the Bill on Advocates).

Article 36(2) of the Bill on Advocates states that the National Advocates Council shall constitute an independent institution that has no organisational ties with any state bodies or other governments institutions and, in the performance of its tasks and authorities, shall be independent from any other influence. However, according to Article 44 of the Bill on Advocates, the President forms a committee for the selection of members of the National Advocates Council. According to Article 45 of the Bill in Advocates, following the selection of candidates by the committee, the President proposes 18 candidates to the People’s Representative Council, which should select 9 candidates to become members of National Advocates Council.

The above provisions are contrary to the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and more specifically Principles 24 and 28. Therefore, in the letter sent, Lawyers for Lawyers called upon the People’s Representative Council and the President to amend the Bill on Advocates in compliance with international law, including the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

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