The independence of judges and lawyers in South Asia: report of a seminar held in Kathmandu from 1 to 5 September 1987

In 1986 the ICJ began a series of regional seminars at which participants would examine the norms being developed at the international level, discuss how these norms should be applied and adhered to in their regions, and make recommendations for their implementation.

As part of this series, the ICJ planned to cosponsor with the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights and Legal Affairs a seminar on the independence of judges and lawyers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As the seminar approached, however, it became clear that the independence of the judiciary was a very sensitive political issue in Bangladesh. Indeed, the Bangladesh government was refusing visas to a significant number of participants, including ICJ staff.

As a result, the venue of the seminar was changed to Kathmandu and, with the help of the Nepal Law Society, rearrangements were made very quickly and on 1-5 September 1987 the seminar was held in Nepal. It brought together present and former judges, practising lawyers, academics and present and former government officials from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

This report contains the recommendations agreed to by the participants and excerpts from the opening speeches and the working papers. In order to make them more widely available in the region, we have included in an Appendix the text of the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, which served as a working document for the seminar.

South Asia-independence of judges and lawyers-seminar report-1987-eng (full text in English, PDF)

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