On 19 February the European Parliament’s human rights sub-committee held a hearing dedicated to discussing attacks against the legal profession and highlighted the different types of persecution perpetrated against lawyers. The hearing highlighted the different types of persecution perpetrated against lawyers, drawing on examples from countries where lawyers are victims of human rights violations. 

This worrying trend has recently led the Council of Europe to work on a proposal for a European Convention on the profession of lawyer. A recommendation was adopted to this effect by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 24 January 2018.  

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), of which all three law societies are members, argued in its press release on the hearing that further reflection is needed. This should include  new initiatives at European level and multilaterally in order to improve the situation. The CCBE also stressed the need for strong initiatives from the European Union to support lawyers who work every day to protect human rights. In the CCBE’s view, it is the fundamental rights of all people that are impacted when a lawyer is attacked.

During the hearing, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (PES), said: “Any attack on lawyers or on the legal profession is an attack on justice and on the basic principles of the Rule of Law.”

To mark the event, the CCBE has published a new brochure on threats to the legal profession, which is available to download and view  here.  A video summarising the hearing itself  is available to view via the CCBE’s twitter account: @CCBEinfo (tweet) and a recording of the event is available here on the Parliament’s website.