Every person who has the necessary qualifications and integrity should be permitted to qualify for practice as a lawyer. No discrimination is permitted on grounds of race, colour, sex, ethnic origin, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, economic or other status with regard to entry into the profession or continued practice.
States should take special measures to provide opportunities and ensure needs-appropriate training for candidates from groups whose needs for legal services are generally not met, particularly when those groups have distinct cultures, traditions or languages or have been the victims of discrimination.
Entry to the profession, like other aspects of the lawyers’ career, should be regulated by an independent professional association, and not subject to authorization by executive authorities of the government.
The security of lawyers’ ability to practice their profession, as well as the quality and integrity of the profession, should be ensured through the issuance by the independent professional association of a license that establishes the lawyers’ credentials and authorization to practice law.
Lawyers in Honduras cannot practice unless they are registered in the Bar Association.
While the ICJ has not conducted detailed research on the current situation of individual’s access to the legal profession in Honduras, from the information available, lawyers do not seem to be required to meet other conditions in addition to having a law degree. In this context, registration in the Bar Association appears to be a mere formality.
- 1. UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Report to the General Assembly, UN Doc. A/64/181 (28 July 2009), para. 36-37, 122(b).↵
- 2. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, [expand title=”Principle 10;”]
Governments, professional associations of lawyers and educational institutions shall ensure that there is no discrimination against a person with respect to entry into or continued practice within the legal profession on the grounds of race, colour, sex, ethnic origin, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, economic or other status, except that a requirement, that a lawyer must be a national of the country concerned, shall not be considered discriminatory.[/expand] (Noting, however, that the prohibition of discrimination does not necessarily preclude a requirement that a lawyer be a national of the country concerned); Draft Universal Declaration on the Independence of Justice (also known as the Singhvi Declaration), [expand title=”Article 77″]
Legal education and entry into the legal profession shall be open to all persons with requisite qualifications and no one shall be denied such opportunity by reason of race, colour, sex, religion, political or other opinion, national, linguistic or social origin, property, income, birth or status.[/expand] and [expand title=”80;”]
Every person having the necessary qualifications, integrity and good character shall be entitled to become a lawyer and to continue to practise as a lawyer without discrimination on the ground of race, colour, sex, religion or political or other opinion, national, linguistic, or social origin, property, income, birth or status or for having been convicted of an offence for exercising his internationally recognized civil or political rights. The conditions for the disbarment, disqualification or suspension of a lawyer shall, as far as practicably, be specified in the statutes, rules or precedents applicable to lawyers and others performing the functions of lawyers.[/expand] International Bar Association (IBA), Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession, [expand title=”Standard 1.”]
Every person having the necessary qualifications in law shall be entitled to become a lawyer and to continue in practice without discrimination.[/expand]↵
- 3. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, [expand title=”Principle 11.”]
In countries where there exist groups, communities or regions whose needs for legal services are not met, particularly where such groups have distinct cultures, traditions or languages or have been the victims of past discrimination, Governments, professional associations of lawyers and educational institutions should take special measures to provide opportunities for candidates from these groups to enter the legal profession and should ensure that they receive training appropriate to the needs of their groups.[/expand]↵
- 4. UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Report to the General Assembly, UN Doc. A/64/181 (28 July 2009), para. 34 and 105 (d) and (e). See also Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Belarus, UN Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.86 (1997), [expand title=”para. 14.”]
The Committee also notes with concern the adoption of the Presidential Decree on the Activities of Lawyers and Notaries of 3 May 1997, which gives competence to the Ministry of Justice for licensing lawyers and obliges them, in order to be able to practise, to be members of a centralized Collegium controlled by the Ministry, thus undermining the independence of lawyers. In this regard:
The Committee stresses that the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession is essential for a sound administration of justice and for the maintenance of democracy and the rule of law. The Committee urges the State party to take all appropriate measures, including review of the Constitution and the laws, in order to ensure that judges and lawyers are independent of any political or other external pressure. The attention of the State party is drawn in this connection to the 1985 Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the 1990 Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
- 5. UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Report to the General Assembly, UN Doc. A/64/181 (28 July 2009), para. 34, 38 and 39.↵
- 6. Organic Law of the Bar Association in Honduras, Article 3(a).↵
- 7. Bar Association of Honduras, ”Requirements for the Registration” (November 2013), last accessed 18 August 2014.↵