The legal profession worldwide

The UIA’s Independence of the Profession Department At Your Service

Despite the different visions of what a lawyer is or should be and the different rules that could domestically regulate the legal profession, the idea of his/her indispensable independence is universally acknowledged. Independence is indeed far more than a self-serving demand: an independent legal profession undeniably is a fundamental element in safeguarding – and strengthening – the rule of law, ensuring adequate protection of rights and access to justice.

The promotion of a free and independent legal profession, “in the interest of those subject to systems of justice”, always has been one of the main objectives of the UIA.

The UIA Independence of the Profession Department was created in 2007 to protect and serve this core value to the greatest extent possible and to support lawyers’ actions when their independence is –or could be – threatened, particularly by the direct action of States or authorities.

After evaluating each case, and pursuant to international standards, the UIA can intervene at the request of bar associations or individual lawyers, partnering and collaborating with local bar associations in need of support, where appropriate. Employing various strategies and tools, the UIA’s Independence of the Profession Department will bring to bear its broad international legal expertise and technical knowledge, as well as its links to international organisations - such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

In the recent past, for instance, following a month-long conflict over legislative changes concerning primarily the work of public notaries, the Serbian Bar Association turned to the UIA for help in mediating with the Serbian government1. Also, the Independence of the Profession Department, together with other international legal organizations – the CCBE and the IBA – has been able to engage in meaningful dialogue with regulators and has consulted with national governments on several occasions, with very successful results.

The Directors of the Independence of the Profession Department, Mr. Andras Szecskay and Mrs. Mary-Daphné Fishelson, encourage UIA collective and individual members to contact them to learn more about the Department’s’ activities2 and bring to their attention situations in their countries where the independence of the legal profession is at risk.


For further information about this mission, please click on here
See also Juriste International 2014-4, p.52-53