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.
The Law Society has expressed concern over Malaysia's continuing use of the 1948 Sedition Act. The act, which was made law during the British colonial era, criminalises speech uttered ‘to excite disaffection' against the government. The act has been used to intimidate and silence political opponents including lawyers.
Law students, trainee solicitors, pupil barristers and junior lawyers (current, prospective or inbetween stages) are invited to enter the Law Society's annual Graham Turnbull essay competition.
This year's essay title is:
The Law Society is concerned by the recent opening of an investigation by police in Malaysia under the Sedition Act 1948 ("the Act") against Mr Edmund Bon, an advocate at Bon Advocates in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
We note with concern reports of the application of the Act against a number of individuals in Malaysia, including lawyers who have in their professional capacity expressed legal opinions, and the risk this poses to freedom of expression in Malaysia.
In providing evidence to the investigatory powers review, the Law Society has called for a revision and clarification of the UK's regulatory framework for investigatory powers.