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Lawyers have important role in democracy, says Law Society

Lawyers have important role in democracy, says Law Society head

Lawyers’ organisations have a unique and important role in ensuring that a democracy is functional and its citizens enjoy fundamental human rights, New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.

Mr Moore says this is a key concern at the Presidents of Law Associations in Asia (POLA) summit which is being held in Wellington from 10 to 12 June.

Representatives and leaders of bar associations from Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam are attending.

Among the participating nations there are starkly contrasting rule of law rankings according to the World Justice Project’s 2014 report.

Mr Moore says that as the country with the best rule of law rating in the southern hemisphere, sixth out of 99 countries, New Zealand lawyers will have important input at the summit.

“Conference delegates will discuss ways lawyer organisations can maintain and uphold the rule of law in their countries based on the diverse experiences each representative brings to the table,” Mr Moore says.

“This is a very valuable opportunity both for the delegates and the countries they represent. In a modern and well-operating democracy it is critical that you have a properly functioning judicial system. To do that you need to have a properly- operating separation of powers.

“Some of the countries at POLA are undergoing considerable challenges to the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and the ability to hold public figures to account.

“When there are challenges to the rule of law, law societies from around the world play a part in highlighting the issues and condemning the actions of governments that don’t respect those rules.”

ends

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