PALU President calls on National Bar Associations to regulate the legal profession or lose control

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From left: Chief Emeka Obegolu, PALU President; Yuri Pilipenko, President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Commence; Johan Rijlaarsdam, President of the Netherlands Bar; Dr. Ulrich Wessels, President of the German Federal Bar; Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society of England and Wales; Mellisa Pang, President of the Law Society of Hong Kong; and Louis-Bernard Buchman, Chairman of the European and International Affairs Committee of the French National Bar Council

The President of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) has called upon the National Bar Associations and Law Societies to effectively regulate the legal profession or lose control to agencies of government.

Chief Emeka Obegolu made this call in his comment during the International Lawyers Forum of the German Federal Bar. He stated that nations and the general public are at a crossroad between national security concerns and lawyer/client confidentiality leading to different legislations in some jurisdictions that are designed to subvert one of the pillars of the administration of justice and rule of law.

Speaking to the theme of the conference which is “Confidentiality – A Lawyers issue”, the PALU President called upon the National Bar Associations to design a robust regulatory mechanism that addresses the concerns of the general public and other stakeholders while balancing the need for confidentiality with National security concerns. He stated that it is only where the Bar fails to effectively regulate that the security agencies find justification in proposing legislation that subverts the duty of Lawyers.

The President of the International Bar Association, Horacio Bernadres-Neto, in his own intervention, observed that the privilege belongs to the client and not counsel and the legal profession must continue to ensure the protection of the privilege while balancing it with the National and International security concerns.

The President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Christina Blacklaws advised that Lawyers must not hide under attorney privilege to compound crimes or withhold information on the likelihood of commission of crime. She urged the legal profession to continue to interrogate the issues surrounding clients privilege and where the privilege ends versus where the National security starts.

The conference was attended by Bar leaders from over 35 countries and regional Bars.

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