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THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 293 Dear Sir, Re: Independence of Lawyers Last September the International Bar Association (“IBA”) published the report of its task force on the independence of lawyers. Despite the report’s shortcomings— among which are that it is unwieldy and less refined than one would expect from an NGO—it is something every politician and lawyer should read. Strangely, the membership of the task force did not include anyone from Canada, even though the arrangements in Canada for the preservation of lawyer independence and, necessarily, for the preservation of regulation of lawyers by lawyers are the international gold standard. And the methodology the task force used was suspect. It relied on a survey that yielded responses from only 17 of the world’s 206 countries, including only one from Africa, two from Asia and six from Europe. Still, the task force report is valuable because it records (although mainly in its footnotes) the restrictive and often brutal conditions under which lawyers are working in many countries around the world. Of course, those conditions exist because many governments do not adhere to the rule of law, a concept I described in 2009, when I was president of the Law Society, as the “fundamental societal organizing and civilizing principle”. For many years, I have campaigned for lawyer independence, concentrating my efforts on the state of independence in Canada, England and Australia. As I have pointed out, government effectively regulates lawyers in England, and lawyers in Australia have been made “partners” in regulation with government-appointed legal serv- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR By R.C. Tino Bella* * Letters to the editor may be e-mailed to mbain@the-advocate.ca.


March Pages 2017
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