HRC 50 – EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

(Source: EEAS)

Mr. President,

The European Union thanks the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers for its report on the protection of lawyers against undue interference in the free and independent exercise of the legal profession.

The EU remains committed to the respect and protection of persons who practice law, and shares the assessment that the free exercise of the legal profession is an indispensable element of judicial guarantees that ensure fair trial and the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights.

The EU notes with appreciation that the Special Rapporteur has been invited to participate in the work of the committee of experts within the framework of the Council of Europe that is preparing a draft international legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the legal profession and the right to practice law freely without prejudice or hindrance.

Mr. Special Rapporteur,

Your report gives a detailed overview of the practices, sometimes used by political authorities themselves that try to undermine, limit, restrict and hinder the practice of law. The trends, including the high number of countries to which the Special Rapporteur sent communications in 2021, as well as the methods of undue interference it identifies, including defamation, enforced disappearances, arrests, coercive actions and threats are worrying, with  particular regard to lawyers, especially women lawyers whose activities are focused on the fight against corruption, the defense of human rights, women’s rights, the protection of the environment or other issues of public relevance and  persons belonging to ethnic, racial, religious or national minorities, indigenous peoples and LGBTI persons.

The EU and its Member States call on the relevant States to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur by providing the information requested in those communications.

Mr. Special Rapporteur,

In your opinion, what measures can ensure most effectively 1/ the good functioning of bar and professional associations of lawyers and 2/ the prevention of stigmatization or defamation of lawyers, especially in the media and on social networks?

Thank you.

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