ICJ recommendations to Central Asian governments and national bars on safeguarding the lawyers’ independence

The ICJ based on the consultations with the participants of the Regional Forum of Lawyers held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, published recommendations on the Independence of Legal Profession and Role of Lawyers in Justice Systems of the Central Asian States.

The recommendations draw attention of State and non-State actors in the Central Asian countries to the urgency in ensuring in law and practice the independence of the lawyers’ professional associations and individual lawyers.

“Lawyers play a critical role in strengthening the rule of law and protection of human rights in the justice systems of all countries of the world, including in Central Asia,” Temur Shakirov, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser said.

“We hope that these recommendations, which are based on consultations and international law and standards on the role of lawyers, will contribute to strengthening the independence lawyers and Bar Associations in Central Asia”.

The recommendations, apart from the lawyers’ communities themselves, are addressed to national professional associations of lawyers, Parliaments, and Governments, and specifically Ministries of Justice that continue in some countries of Central Asia to exercise formal and informal influence over the national Bar Association, including by imposing control in regard to access to the profession and disciplinary proceedings.

“The ICJ calls on these institutions to adopting urgent and effective measures legal and policy measures to safeguarding lawyers’ ability to carry out their professional duties in an atmosphere free from any other improper interference, institutional or personal, in each of the countries of the Central Asian region,” Shakirov added.


On 9 November 2018, the ICJ facilitated the Regional Forum on the Independence in Justice Systems of the Central Asian States in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This was the first regional event hosted by the Union of Lawyers of Tajikistan, a professional association of lawyers that was established in 2014. The Forum brought representatives of the National Bar Associations of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.  The event was also supported by Legal Policy Research Centre (LPRC), a think tank from Almaty, Kazakhstan, that works on the reform of legal profession in the region.

The participants of the Forum highlighted the continuing and renewed attempts to undermine the independence of the professional associations of lawyers in countries of Central Asia, including targeted disbarment and harassment of individual lawyers for fulfilment of professional duties towards their clients. The participants also discussed the emerging practice of the establishment of specialized bodies for the protection of the rights of lawyers within the professional associations of lawyers to counter negative trends in Central Asian countries, affecting the legal profession.

Recommendations, in PDF: Central Asia-Recommendations-Advocacy-2020-ENG

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