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International development and human rights

“...An effective legal and judicial system is not a luxury but a key component of a well-functioning state and an essential ingredient in long term development.” James Wolfensohn – ex president of the World Bank.

Solicitors and the legal profession have a clear role to play in championing the values and concepts of Justice, Fairness, Equity and Legitimacy. We aim to promote the values and principles that underpin the legal profession by:

“Supporting the legal profession in upholding the rule of law, advocating access to justice and promoting and protecting Human Rights.”

The Law Society’s International Department has been carrying out externally funded project work for the best part of a decade. During this time we have received substantial grants from development agencies and government, and worked in partnership with bar associations/NGOs and governments overseas to deliver projects which promote and protect human rights; support the rule of law and access to justice; and encourage economic development. See below for examples of some of our International work.

Our involvement in such projects can take many forms. This can range from: working with local NGOs in managing direct service delivery, the provision of short and long term expert consultancy work; research and policy recommendations to government; delivery of training and seminars for lawyers and the legal profession.

We undertake this work because we believe that upholding the rule of law, advocating access to justice and promoting and protecting human rights serves both the interests of our members, and the legal profession globally, and we believe that it is in the common interests of the legal profession throughout the world to promote the public interest role that lawyers can and should play in society.

Making legal institutions accessible and responsive to all, including the underprivileged is a central challenge to the legal profession. We believe that lawyers have a key role to play in helping to build and establish lasting structures processes and institutions that are built on the values and principles that underpin the legal profession.


July 2014 human rights update now available

The July 2014 update is now available.

Our updates include news about the Law Society's human rights activities, volunteering and job opportunities, events and training.

If you would like to receive our free updates please email 

President of Law Society expresses concern regarding two lawyers in China

The Law Society is concerned to learn of the arrest and detention of Pu Zhiqiang, an internationally known human rights activist and lawyer to Ai Weiwei, and his neice Qu Zhenhong, also a lawyer, who were detained over a month ago for attending a meeting in Beijing marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. 

Iraq: Lawyer at risk

The Law Society expressed concern regarding the safety of human rights lawyer Ali Hussain Aboud who was arrested on 7 May 2014. Mr Aboud has been held in incommunicado detention without charge since his arrest and has not had any access to his family or lawyer. 

Read the intervention

Zimbabwe: Lawyer at risk

The Law Society expressed concern regarding  the treatment of Trust Maanda, a senior partner with Maunga, Maanda and Associates Legal Practitioners and a former board member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Read the intervention