The ICJ submitted a third-party intervention in the case of Bagirov v Azerbaijan before the European Court of Human Rights.
In this intervention the ICJ argues that the special role of lawyers in the administration of justice, pursuant to the rule of law, necessitates their ability to carry out their important professional functions without undue restrictions, which requires close scrutiny of any limitations imposed, including concerning those statements made by lawyers outside of courts.
The ICJ further submits that the role and responsibility of lawyers in imparting information to the public on issues of public concern related to the justice system, is not confined to comments on individual cases in which the lawyer represents a client.
In addition, such remarks warrant particularly strong protection under Article 10 of the European Convention.
The ICJ argues that comments by a lawyer that are critical of State authorities responsible for the detention of a person who has been injured or has died in their custody should be interpreted and be presumed to constitute protected forms of expression, unless they can be shown to have been made in bad faith, and that disciplinary action against lawyers should be subject to strong safeguards against arbitrariness or disproportionate penalties.
Azerbaijan-Bagirov v Azerbaijan-Advocacy-legal submission-2015-ENG (full text in PDF)
Azerbaijan-Bagirov v Azerbaijan-Advocacy-legal submission-2015-RUS (full text in Russian)AdvocacyLegal submissionsNewsWeb stories