The Inaugural World Conference of Barristers and Advocates has concluded with a pledge of support for lawyers and judges who face intimidation from their own governments
Nine bars from four continents have signed up to the Edinburgh Declaration and stated their commitment to practitioners working in countries where their independence is threatened. Roy Martin, vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: "We're pleased that the Declaration passed unanimously in Edinburgh will result in the coordinated support of all bars in steps to promote human rights and access to justice, and in particular support for legal practitioners in Zimbabwe, Hong Kong and other jurisdictions where the practice of law is under threat." The conference, attended by lawyers from Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe, was held in Parliament House in Edinburgh. Issues under discussion included the regulation of the profession, ethics and conflicts of interest. The Declaration was made following an appearance by Adrian de Bourbon, chairman of the Bar Council of Zimbabwe. He told the conference that the Zimbabwean government had made repeated attempts to undermine the freedom and independence of the country's lawyers and courts.