Conference adopts Second Edinburgh Declaration

18 Apr


A Second Edinburgh Declaration has been adopted by the International Council of Advocates and Barristers (ICAB) in a fitting finale to the World Bar Conference 2016.

ICAB set out its founding principles in the First Edinburgh Declaration when its first biennial Conference was hosted by the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh in 2002.

At the end of the closing session of this year’s Conference, in the majestic setting of the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament, the Dean of Faculty, James Wolffe, QC, announced that the leaders of ICAB’s member bars present at the Conference had agreed the text of a Second Edinburgh Declaration.

The Conference endorsed the text, which re-affirms the member bars’ commitment to the principles of the First Edinburgh Declaration and restates those principles, with adjustments made in light of the proceedings at the Conference.

A new opening paragraph reads: “The rule of law is one of the foundations of a just and economically successful society.” Other additions stress that the efficient functioning and adequate resourcing of the courts by the state is essential if they are to fulfil their constitutional role, and that effective access to justice for the poor and vulnerable requires an adequate publicly funded system of legal aid.

Mr Wolffe said: “The Second Edinburgh Declaration reflects the collective resolve of the world’s independent referral bars to support and promote the rule of law. The Declaration identifies the essential components of the rule of law - independent courts, an independent legal profession and effective access to justice - and it commits the bars which are members of the International Council of Advocates and Barristers to the crucial role which they play in their respective legal systems in promoting and protecting these fundamental values.”

The member bars of ICAB are from Scotland, England and Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The Second Edinburgh Declaration is here

The next Conference will be held in South Africa in 2018.