ACIJLP Asks Yemeni President to Veto Law on Legal Profession
April 1999In a new report The ACIJLP appeals to the Yemeni President not to ratify the new law on the legal profession in Yemen The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) appeals to the President of Yemen to use his constitutional power and refrain form ratifying the new law on the legal profession passed by the Yemeni Parliament. The new law must be revised as it violates the internationally recognized standards on the legal profession, particularly the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and the Arab agreements defining the requirements of different professions ratified by the Yemeni government. The ACIJLP would like to note that, contrary to the provision of article 9 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1990, the new Yemeni law allows people with no legal qualifications, and who have not received professional training, to practice the legal profession. These kind of practitioners are called Ďagents of Sharia', and was introduced by the Ottoman judicial system. Granting legal status to these agents is not appropriate for the current circumstances undergone by Yemen, which necessitates the existence of a body of well qualified judges and lawyers. Moreover, the new law maintains the executive control over the bar association. In a unique aggression on the legal profession regionally and internationally, and in contravention of article 24 of the UN Basic Principals on the Role of Lawyers, the new law stipulates that lawyers must take the oath before the Minister of Justice as a condition to practice the legal profession. It also allows the Minister of Justice to dissolve the bar council, call for elections, and intervenes in the discipline of lawyers. Furthermore, the law involves the Judiciary in the matters related to the discipline of lawyers and their elections, an involvement which will overburden judges and take them away from their main duties, and constitutes an erosion of the independence of the legal profession. The ACIJLP also appeals to the Yemeni President to provide the safeguards and immunity necessary for lawyers to perform their duty. The new law does not include any of such safeguards and immunities. The punishment it states for cases of attacking lawyers during or because of the performance of their duty, is same as that stated for any attack from one individual on the other. In addition, and contrary to article 23 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the new law does not provide sufficient protection to the premises of the bar association. * * * NBFull comment on the new law can be found in a report by the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession entitled "the ACIJLP comment on the new Yemeni law on the legal profession the Law is in non conformity with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Layers". The report was issued on 25 March 1999. For more information or to obtain copies of the report, please contact the ACIJLP (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights