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About European Lawyers Day

In 2014, the CCBE introduced the idea of coordinating an annual Europe-wide event that would encourage its member bars and law societies to organise national and local activities based around a central theme to promote the rule of law, and a lawyer’s role in upholding its legal principles, to citizens. European Lawyers Day celebrates the common values of lawyers and their intrinsic role in the defence and promotion the rule of law, as well as their contribution to the justice system.

European Lawyers Day programmes and activities are organised by national and local bars, or any person or group working with a national or local bar (bar members, courts, law schools and students, youth groups, and community organisations) that would like to educate the public on the crucial role of the rule of law and the legal process in protecting citizens’ rights. Each member bar and law society is asked to encourage its members to organise events, publish educational material and/or conduct other programmes that promote citizens’ awareness of the European Lawyers Day theme.

European Lawyers Day 2016

For the 2016 edition of European Lawyers Day, the CCBE proposes the central theme of “Access to Justice”. Access to Justice is indeed a main concern of the legal profession, and is an essential part of its core mission. However, since one European voice is preferred, we suggest to concentrate on the subtopic of “access your lawyer to access your rights”, with a focus on access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings, guaranteed across EU Member States through Directive 2013/48. 

The CCBE wishes to highlight that having access to a lawyer provides a person with access to all their rights. Lawyers are uniquely positioned to inform citizens and to give effect to their rights. 


Previous European Lawyers Day

Freedom of Speech

European Lawyers Day on the theme of Freedom of Speech took place throughout Europe on 10 December 2015, in conjunction with World Human Rights Day.

The theme was Freedom of Speech, and referred to all forms of expression. It was particularly important at a time of clashing liberties – the most obvious in this year of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris being between freedom of speech and the right not to be insulted or discriminated against. This is also always relevant with regards to lawyers’ own freedom of speech, for instance in speaking about cases in which they are involved, or in being involved generally in civil society.

Lawyer-Client Confidentiality

European Lawyers Day on 10 December 2014 celebrated the common values of lawyers and their role in civil society in promoting the rule of law.

Of all of the basic human rights that have been enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to privacy and protection of personal information is the one most generally under threat through mass governmental surveillance, as revealed over 2013 and 2014.

When rights are violated, citizens’ faith in the administration of justice and the rule of law weakens. As lawyers, it is our role in society to uphold and defend the rule of law for citizens. Lawyer-client confidentiality and the protection of client data are key components of this role. Without trust and confidentiality, access to justice and the rule of law cannot be guaranteed.

European Lawyers Day 2014 proved to be a successful endeavour supported by 17 participating members. The CCBE Presidency participated in events in Rome, Madrid, Warsaw, and Paris, while the CCBE team coordinated a Twitter dialogue on the topic, in which numerous CCBE members and concerned citizens participated using the hashtag #clientdata.