On 12 October 2017, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) addressed the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at a hearing organised on the issue of a European Convention on the Profession of Lawyer.
After a brief introduction on the issue by the Committee’s rapporteur Sabien Lahaye-Battheu, CCBE experts Laurent Pettiti and Piers Gardner underlined the need for a binding instrument on to the profession of lawyer, given the increase of attacks on the profession in recent years.
They also stressed the need for an enforcement mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of the Convention, and proposed the set-up of an annual monitoring report on the ongoing process to ensure accountability and share best practices. It was argued that these tools would help ensuring the safeguard of lawyers’ right to assist citizens, as well as citizens’ rights to access justice, and would fundamentally protect the Rule of Law.
In this regard, Turkish lawyer Ayşe Bingöl Demir, one of the winners of the CCBE Human Rights Award 2016, reported on harassment and prosecution of lawyers in Turkey, highlighting the negative consequences of these practices on citizens and their rights.
The CCBE will organise a side event on 24 January 2018, in conjunction with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session, in order to highlight the recent attacks on the profession of lawyer in Europe and the need for a European Convention.