Joint statement on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers
7 September 2020

Joint statement on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers

Together with nearly 40 lawyers’ organizations and bar associations, Lawyers for Lawyers endorsed the statement of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers.

The CCBE and all the undersigning organisations wish to underline the importance of these principles for the legal profession and the need for an effective application of the guarantees provided by these principles to ensure better access to justice and the defence of fundamental rights of citizens.

Although the UN Basic Principles in their 30 years of existence have proved their relevance to the necessity of protecting in all circumstances the rights and obligations attached to the profession of lawyers and the defence of citizens, lawyers worldwide are still harassed, threatened, arrested, prosecuted and even murdered because of their professional activity.

Attacks on the legal profession also occur in Europe. Binding instruments such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects various critical rights associated with the lawyers’ role in maintaining the rule of law, and should continue to do so unamended. However, other rights and obligations specific to the legal profession remain outside the scope of the ECHR.
Other specific instruments, due to their non-binding nature, have not generated the necessary conditions for effective accountability of States and non-State actors.

The CCBE and all the undersigning organisations, call for a more effective application of the guarantees provided by the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers and reiterates its strong support to the work carried out by the Council of Europe on a future European Convention on the profession of lawyer, considering that such a specific binding instrument is needed in order to
preserve the independence, integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.

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