Proposed legislation to regulate the operations and functions of the legal profession in Eswatini does not comply with international and regional standards and would severely undermine the right to an independent lawyer, the two organizations said.
The Eswatini Government is reportedly seeking to introduce a bill to Parliament to establish a Legal Services Regulatory Authority which would be responsible for issuing practicing certificates to lawyers, disciplining lawyers in case of unethical conduct, and developing and enforcing performance standards for legal practitioners.
If enacted into law, the bill would severely undermine the independence of lawyers in Eswatini and may set a dangerous precedent for other countries in the SADC region.
The ICJ jointly with Lawyers for Lawyers sent a letter addressing these concerns to the Eswatini Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Eswatini-Support to lawyers-Advocacy-open letters-2020-ENG (full letter, in PDF)AdvocacyOpen letters