Legal issues of concern for G7 Bar Leaders

  • August 22, 2022

Stephen Rotstein, President of the Canadian Bar Association, wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the conclusion of the G7 Bar Leaders meeting to inform him of issues of concern to Bar leaders and seek his support in endorsing them.

Representatives of the bar associations and law societies, including the Canadian Bar Association, Conseil national des barreaux (France), Law Society of England and Wales, Deutscher Anwaltverein (Germany), Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer (Germany), Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italy), American Bar Association, and Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, all met this spring to discuss issues of concern.

Three joint statements emerged from their discussions: condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine; protecting the confidentiality of the client-lawyer relationship; and recommending that Ministers of Justice meets as part of the G7 Leaders Summit.

The joint statement condemns Russia’s war on Ukraine, which “violates the fundamental and generally accepted principles of international law and represents an egregious unlawful attack on the rule of law.” CBA President Stephen Rotstein suggested the joint statement, which is consistent with the CBA letter to the Prime Minister from March, urging the Canadian government to take immediate action to help welcome vulnerable Ukrainians to Canada.

The second joint statement asks G7 governments to take appropriate measures to ensure that client-lawyer privilege and professional secrecy are protected to the greatest possible extent against national or transnational law that might violate it. “We ask that you consult directly with the bar associations and law societies on any legislative proposal that might impair professional secrecy and the independence of the legal profession,” the letter says.

And finally, the third joint statement suggests that Ministers of Justice be an integral part of future G7 summits, since they play an essential role in upholding the rule of law and other fundamental principles of democratic societies, as well as ensuring equal access to justice and modernizing justice systems.