G7 leaders reaffirm importance of rule of law and supporting lawyers at risk

We welcome news that the G7 leaders unanimously reaffirmed the importance of the rule of law and human rights defenders in their Open Societies statement.

The statement was signed on Sunday 13 June by the leaders of the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the USA and the EU.

The statement restated each country's shared belief in democracy and respect for international rules and norms.

We were delighted that the statement strongly supported:

  • “the rule of law and effective, independent and impartial judicial systems free from corrupt influence or coercion, so that each person can access justice and benefit from a fair trial”
  • “the importance of civic space and partnership with diverse, independent and pluralistic civil societies, including human rights defenders, in promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms”

Read the G7 2021 Open Societies statement

The statement followed a similar set of resolutions agreed at the summit of the G7 bars on 17 May, chaired by Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.

At the summit, the presidents of the G7 bars met to sign resolutions calling on their governments to tackle issues affecting the legal profession.

The G7 bars unanimously approved one resolution on lawyers at risk and widely approved of a second resolution on guaranteeing continuity of justice.

As part of the lawyers at risk resolution, the presidents and executives of the representative bodies have committed to make efforts to urge governments to:

  • uphold the independence of the legal profession
  • protect the rule of law and access to justice
  • condemn any attacks on lawyers carrying out their duties

What is the G7 bars meeting?

The Global 7 (known informally as the ‘G7’) is a grouping of seven advanced economies whose leaders have met on an annual basis since 1973.

The seven countries are the UK, USA, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan.

In order to boost cooperation on global issues and enhance trade, a number of industry, civil society and union organisations organise their own ‘shadow’ G7 summits which take place around the main government-to-government meetings.

Mirroring the national picture, this year, the G7 bar leaders' summit was led by the UK, with the Law Society of England and Wales hosting a virtual meeting of the seven bar leaders and representatives on 17 May 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic.

A number of bars were also invited as guests, including the Law Council of Australia, the Korean Bar Association, and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe.

Download the resolutions

Lawyers at risk (PDF 177 KB)

Continuity of justice (PDF 147 KB)

Find out more about the G7 bars' resolutions

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