In acknowledgement and celebration, the Executive Committee of the INTERNATIONAL LAW AND IMMIGRATION SECTION of the California Lawyers Association announces the Thirtieth and Thirty-Fifth Anniversaries, respectively, of the
United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers1
United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary2
The Basic Principles for Lawyers recite applicable international human rights law and instruments, and specifically identify the duties and responsibilities of lawyers as well as calling for their security in discharging their functions. It asserts that lawyers should not be identified with their clients’ causes when representing them. Especially noteworthy are provisions that lawyers are entitled to form and join self-governing professional associations to promote their continuing education and training and protect their professional integrity. Lawyers are to cooperate with Governments to ensure effective and equal access to legal services and lawyers are able, without interference, to counsel their clients in accordance with law and professional ethics.
The Basic Principles for the Judiciary, while also referring to international human rights norms that apply to judges contained in international conventions and domestic laws, specify the singular importance of independent judiciaries and their ability to decide matters impartially, without improper influences of all kinds.
Together these well-established documents represent the major sources of international practice reflecting the principles governing lawyers and judges.
At a time when both these institutions, fundamental to the foundation and preservation of the rule-of-law, are being maligned, threatened, and attacked domestically and globally, the ILS’ Executive Committee feels it is useful to remind ourselves of ILS’ commitment in its purposes to safeguard the legal profession and judiciary domestically and internationally, and to call-out governments everywhere that act to abuse them.