The profession of lawyer plays a central role in the administration of justice, the defense of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Nowadays, lawyers, both individually and institutionally, are increasingly the target of attacks of all kinds which put in difficulty, even in danger, the independent and secure exercise of their profession.

In 2020, the Council of Europe's European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) has looked into possible actions to ensure an adequate level of protection to lawyers when exercising their profession. It considered the feasibility of a new European legal instrument, taking into account possible alternatives through which the protection for lawyers could be enhanced, considering the existing international instruments, notably the Committee of Ministers Recommendation R(2000)21 on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

On the basis of this study, the Committee of Ministers established as of January 2022 a Committee of experts on the protection of lawyers (CJ-AV). The CJ-AV consists of 15 representatives of member States, as well as participants and observers as set out in the adopted Terms of reference. The Committee is tasked with the elaboration of a legal instrument aimed at strengthening the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practice the profession without prejudice or restraint, under the authority of the Committee of Ministers and of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ).

The CJ-AV meets 3 times a year, in closed session. Access to information about specific meetings and documents of the CJ-AV is available below, or depending on their classification, can be consulted in line with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

Meetings Meetings
News News

Work started on the elaboration of a new legal instrument to strengthen the protection of lawyers

6-8 April 2022 Strasbourg

The Committee of Experts on the Protection of Lawyers (CJ-AV) held its first meeting in Strasbourg, embarking on the work of a future legal instrument to strengthen the protection of the profession of lawyer and the right to practise the profession without prejudice or restraint. The CJ-AV,...

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European Lawyers’ Day 2021: CDCJ Vice-Chair joins lawyers to discuss a new European legal instrument on the profession

22 October 2021

Christophe Poirel, Director of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and Christoph Henrichs, Vice-Chair of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), engage with lawyers by taking part on 25 October in the virtual round table organised by the CCBE on the occasion of the European...

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Profession of Lawyer

Protection of lawyers: Feasibility study on a new European legal instrument

April 2021

The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) of the Council of Europe publishes today its feasibility study on a new binding or non-binding, European legal instrument to protect the profession of lawyer. This study examines the problems faced by lawyers in the 47 member States of the...

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Profession of Lawyer

Ensuring effective protection of the profession of lawyer: call for a legally-binding instrument

23 October 2020 Standing Committee

PACE’s Standing Committee today expressed its concern at the numerous cases of violations of lawyers’ rights, including attacks on their safety and independence, in recent years. Lawyers continue to be targeted for their involvement in human rights-related cases, or for their work denouncing...

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