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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.

Spotlight

Law Society and Lawyers for Lawyers express concern for lawyer in Azerbaijan

The Law Society and Lawyers for Lawyers  are concerned for Intigam Aliyev, a prominent human rights lawyer in Azerbaijan who was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention for three months.  His detention was connected with his activity as human rights defender and lawyer, and the purpose of this is to silence him, based upon a political instruction from above.

Read the intervention here

Tajikistan: Arrest and detention of lawyer

The Law Society and Lawyers for Lawyers (in Netherlands)are concerned to learn of the arrest and detention of Shukhrat Qudratov, a prominent defence lawyer in Tajikistan who had represented the former Minister of Industry, Zaid Saidov. According the Tajikistan’s Anticorruption Agency, Shukhrat Qudratov was detained on July 21 on bribe-related charges. Lawyers for Lawyers and the Law Society are concerned that the arrest of the lawyer may be related to his legal assistance and defence of the former Minister.

Law Society granted special consultative status at the UN

The Law Society has been granted unprecedented access to the United Nations.

This special consultative status provides the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales with unprecedented access to member states and the United Nations system.

The Society will have scope to collaborate with member states on issues including human rights and the rule of law, as well as have input into discussions on the Council's agenda on an international and domestic level.

August 2014 human rights update now available

The August 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 sarah.j.smith@lawsociety.org.uk