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2014 European Lawyers Day

10 December 2014

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.



Press release

Věra Jourovß, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Celebrates European Lawyers Day with the CCBE


The Impact of Mass Governmental Surveillance on Lawyer-Client Confidentiality

CCBE Interview with Ben Wizner, Legal Advisor to Edward Snowden and Director of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) Speech, Privacy & Technology Project:


The following CCBE members will hold European Lawyers Day activities:


The Austrian Bar is planning to hold an event on a fundamental rights topic on 10 December.


AVOCATS.BE and La Libre Belgique are planning a public conference on the theme of mass surveillance on 10 December (DuprÚel ULB; Brussels).

The Conference will be based on three presentations*: 1) defining mass governmental surveillance and what it implies; 2) a presentation on the justifications for this surveillance; and 3) balancing surveillance with the fundamental principles of the respect for privacy.

*A discussion will follow each of these presentations.


The Supreme Bar Council announced that every local bar will carry out a special event dedicated to European Lawyers Day. There will also be a seminar with Mrs Mariana Kancheva, a Bulgarian judge to the European Court of Justice.


The Croatian Bar Association will organize a central conference around the theme of “Mass Governmental Surveillance of Communications Between Lawyers and Clients” on December 10th in Zagreb. The speakers will include, among the others, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Ivo Josipović, and the President of the Croatian Bar Association, Mr Robert Travaš. Croatian media will cover the event.

Czech Republic   

The Czech Bar Association is planning the following activities: European Lawyers Day (ELD) will be discussed during the morning news broadcasts of Czech television channels ČT 1, ČT 24, and TV Nova, as well as internet news outlets and the ‘Czech Justice’ website. Print articles and/or an interview will be published in the national daily press. The “Bulletin of Advocacy“ magazine will feature news about the preparation of the celebration (Issue No. 11/2014) as well as the report after the celebration (Issue No. 12/2014). At the Czech Bar Association branch in Brno: a conference will be organised around the themes of International Human Rights Day and European Lawyers Day. Interviews with lawyers on Czech radio in Brno will be broadcast every week from September until 10 December. For further details, you may contact the International Department of the Czech Bar Association.


The Estonian Bar will hold bar elections for the new Secretary General and new President (


The Finnish Bar is arranging a morning media session with Finnish human rights institutions on 10 December 2014.


The French Conseil National des Barreaux, in partnership with the Barreau de Paris is organising a conference on Mass government surveillance and the legal professional privilege. The event, to be held in Paris, will include three round tables on government surveillance, lawyers’ practice and laws and European case law on data protection. Each round table will be hosted by French and European legal professionals, lawyers and representatives from the institutions who are all specialists in the protection of personal data and the legal professional privilege. Please find attached the programme covering the different topics. The event is listed on the CNB website ( and on the winter university site of the Barreau de Paris ( The DBF is also publishing event information on its Twitter account (


The DAV has encouraged member associations of the DAV, the local Bar Associations, to organize events at a local level for 10 December and to use their existing video material, which consists of: a) the meeting/discussion from German Lawyers Day (DAT) held on  June 2014 in Stuttgart) in which data protection and freedom of expression were discussed (; and b) the opening conference from DAT concerning the NSA scandal (mass surveillance), data protection against major IT companies and the current state of civil rights and liberties 65 years after the creation of the German Constitution (“Grundgesetz”): video 1, video 2.


The Hungarian Bar Association is planning a morning (half-day) conference session in Budapest entitled “Lawyers - professional secrecy, data protection and IT challenges” and would like to invite representatives of public institutions and authorities, universities and members of the legal profession. Likewise, they will publish articles in newspapers, magazines and websites and hold a fine arts event that generally relates to justice.


The Italian CNF will hold a conference in Rome, and will include the participation of the national and the European data protection supervisors and a representative from the EU agency for Fundamental Rights who is the Head of the Sector on Information Society, Privacy and Data Protection from the Justice department. In addition, MEP Pittella, Chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group) will send a video-message. The CNF is also jointly organising, with the De Chirico Foundation, an exhibition on drawings by De Chirico in relation to the theme of “Europe” (“A travers l’Europe”). The exhibition will be hosted at their premises during the same week (8-13 December).


The Polish Bars (The National Council of Legal Advisers and the Polish Bar Council) are planning a central conference on data retention and threats for citizens and lawyers caused by mass surveillance. The Bars would like to invite representatives of certain public institutions and authorities, members of the legal profession, as well as NGOs. In addition, local events of lectures and workshops by lawyers to students in secondary schools will be coordinated by the 24 Regional Councils of Advocates and 19 Regional Chambers of Legal Advisers which will choose 172 schools, mostly from smaller cities, to participate in the event.


The General Council of Portuguese Bar Association will host seminars, conferences, debates and round table discussions around the theme of mass governmental surveillance from Dec 1 – 10 in the cities of ╔vora, Lisbon, Coimbra, Oporto, Faro and Funchal (Madeira), with participants such as lawyers, judges, prosecutors, Law scholars, IT experts, criminal authorities and government representatives. News and press releases on the events will be covered online, in the press and on the Justice TV Channel.


On 11 December, The National Association of Romanian Bars and the National Institute of Advocates will organise a European Lawyers Day conference attended by representatives of the government, judges, prosecutors, members of the Council and the Standing Committee UNBR, as well as others interested in the theme of the conference and representatives of the Press. Similarly, local bar associations will also organize events dedicated to European Lawyers Day.


On 10 December, the Slovenian Bar will distribute the Bar’s humanitarian funds to organisations in need who have applied for aid.


The Spanish Bar will hold the following activities in Madrid:

10 December: a) International Round tables on topics such as “Judicial procedures and Media” and “Anti-fraud and transparency”; and b) First Bar Congress on Prevention of Torture, Inhuman, Degrading or Ill-treatment in the Spanish Judicial System, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of this UN Convention (ratified by Spain in 1987). Rapporteurs such as the President of the Spanish Bar Council, Mr. Carlos Carnicer, or the Spanish Ombudswoman, Mrs. Soledad Becerril, will intervene.

11 December: a) Press conference; b) Discussion of “Bar Tools to Act on Torture Acts, Inhuman, Degrading and Ill Treatment”. Presentation of the “Spanish Bar’s Practical Guide to Prevent Torture and Inhuman, Degrading, Ill Treatment”; c) Round table: “Rule of Law in Spain and International Duty on Eradication Practices Violating Physical or Psychological Integrity in Civil Service”; and d) Annual Conference and Human Rights Awards Ceremony 2014. Prizes will be awarded to Missionaries Juan JosÚ Aguirre and Aurelio Gazzera of “Ciudad Escuela de los Muchachos” and journalist Henrique Cymerman. The “Nacho de la Mata” award to recognize people or institutions for disadvantaged childhoods will go to ═˝igo Ortiz de MendÝvil of Alucinos La Salle Association.

UK – Law Society of Scotland & Faculty of Advocates in Scotland

The Law Society of Scotland and The Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, with the support of the Bar Council of England & Wales and the Bar Council of Northern Ireland, will be holding an event in Edinburgh on 9 December. At that event Sir David Edward, former judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union, will speak on Lawyer-Client Confidentiality. On 10 December, the Faculty of Advocates will host the JUSTICE Scotland Human Rights Day Lecture which will address the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women.

UK-Northern Ireland

The Law Society of Northern Ireland will hold an event on 10 December relating to big data and breaches of Lawyer Privilege to coincide with European Lawyers Day and International Human Rights Day. There will be local politicians from the local Assembly at Stormont and a wide variety of journalists.


Non-member events:


The Kosovo Bar Association, in cooperation with the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, will organize a conference on December 10, 2014: “Enhancing cooperation between the media and advocacy on the principle of Protection of Human Rights in Kosovo”. Invited to the conference are: judges, prosecutors, lawyers, journalists, representatives from non-governmental organizations and international organizations in Kosovo. Panel members will be: Mr. Ibrahim Dobruna, President of the Kosovo Bar Association, Ms. Nesrin Lushta, Vice-President and Judge of the Supreme Court, Mr. Zekirja Shabani, President of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo and Mr. Dastid Pallaska, lawyer in Pristina. The media in Kosovo will cover the proceedings of this conference.



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