Lawyers play a vital part in upholding the rule of law, ensuring that everyone’s human rights are respected and that government bodies are held to account, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.

 ‘Human rights are universal and many countries look to the UK as an example of a fair society where the rule of law and respect for human rights are integral to the national identity,’ Law Society of England and Wales’ president Robert Bourns said.

 ‘Moreover, Britain’s standing internationally and as a jurisdiction of choice is underpinned by the independence of the judiciary and legal profession. This independence hinges on their not being hindered or intimidated in carrying out their professional duties nor being identified with their clients or clients’ causes. This principle is set out in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

 ’In jurisdictions where lawyers are unable to carry out their legitimate professional duties for fear of intimidation, arrest or detention, they cannot properly uphold the rule of law or effectively represent their clients.

 ‘The right to access to justice for all depends on everyone being represented within our framework of laws, no matter how they or their case may be perceived by the public, media or government.’