What’s the Point of a National Law Society? A Case Study from Colombia

40 Pages Posted: 14 May 2012

See all articles by Peter Burbidge

Peter Burbidge

University of Westminster - School of Law

Date Written: 2012


The purpose of this article is to examine the current efforts to give the profession a strong national voice. It looks at the Colombian legal profession in the context of the Colombian conflict and the process ofof the justice system, discussing problems relating to its training, issues of discipline and ethics and the damaging public image of the profession which has put many lawyers especially those involved in human rights at risk of their lives. Having discussed the patchy nature of Colombian bar associations and the failed past attempts to create a national bar it puts the Colombian situation in its international context by comparing it with other Latin American countries and examining what international law (notably the 1990 Havana Convention on the Role of Lawyers) and international bodies (such as the International Bar Association) have to say about the protection of lawyers and their associations. It looks in particular at the recent proposals from the Spanish Bars which it is suggested would be the appropriate model for any obligatory Colombian bar to follow. It concludes by suggesting that in situations of transitional justice, such as that in Colombia a national bar association is an essential ingredient in ensuring respect for the rule of law.

Keywords: Colombia, legal profession, legal reform, transitional justice

Suggested Citation

Burbidge, Peter, What’s the Point of a National Law Society? A Case Study from Colombia (2012). U. of Westminster School of Law Research Paper No. 12-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2057674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2057674

Peter Burbidge (Contact Author)

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

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