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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.


Chair of Law Society Human Rights Committee, Professor Sara Chandler, wins Latin-UK Award for human rights work

Professor Sara Chandler, chair of the Law Society's Human Rights Committee, has been announced as the winner of the human rights worker of the year award at the third annual Latin-UK Awards (LUKAS).

The LUKAS recognise those who have worked with the Latin community in Britain across categories including music, dance, sport, food, community (including human rights), the arts, and business.

Law Society raises concerns over lawyer in Russia

The President of the Law Society wrote to Mr Alexander Konovalov, the Minister of Justice in Russia expressing concern regarding Evgeny Vitishko.

Read the intervention 

Law Society concerned by arrest of human rights lawyer Mr Thulani Rudolf Maseko and Mr Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland

Swaziland,15 April 2014

The Law Society expressed concerned for Mr Thulani Rudolf Maseko, a human rights lawyer who was arrested on 17 March 2014 along with The Nation magazine Editor, Mr Bheki Makhubu, and indicted at noon on 18 March on contempt of court charges.

Read the intervention

Law Society raises concerns over lawyer in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 4 April 2014

The President of the Law Society wrote to the African Commision on Human and Peoples' Rights expressing concern for Didier Kalemba, a lawyer and human rights defender from the DRC.  

Read the intervention