Lawyers have an important function that is essential to ensuring the rule of law in any country. Along with judges and prosecutors, lawyers are key participants in the administration of justice. Effective protection of human rights, especially in the criminal proceedings, where fair trial standards are intrinsically linked with the right of a defendant to legal assistance, requires that lawyers are able to perform their duties professionally, independently, without improper interference and with full respect of profession’s ethical standards. To achieve this they organise themselves through associations of lawyers. One of the goals of such associations is to represent the interests of lawyers, promote their continued education and training and protect their professional integrity. The workshop in Ashgabat took a comparative approach and looked into the role of lawyers in several jurisdictions, including the organisation of the legal profession as well as the professional standards for lawyers. The speakers included lawyers, other legal practitioners, and officials, who discussed international standards on the role of lawyers and their ethics as well as the role of professional associations in different national systems.
Mr Lubomir Frebort, Head of the EU Liaison Office highlighted in his intervention that both in the EU and in Central Asia, lawyers with highest standards of competence, independence, and integrity must be entrusted by the societies and individual citizens, since they play essential role in the implementation of the rule of law which is one of the basic principles of the cooperation between the EU and Central Asia, including Turkmenistan.
Attention was given at the workshop to how the executive bodies of the professional associations are elected by their members and exercise their functions in various jurisdictions. The speakers also focused on how professional associations of lawyers cooperate with Governments in various jurisdictions to ensure that everyone has effective and equal access to legal services and that lawyers are able, without improper interference, to counsel and assist their clients in accordance with the law and recognized professional standards and ethics. Participants, including senior lawyers from the ICJ network, presented comparative national perspectives on the role of lawyers in their respective countries, placing them in the context of global and regional standards. Representatives of lawyers’ associations in Turkmenistan presented the experience of Turkmenistan. The perspective of the Ministry of Adolat of Turkmenistan was an important contribution to the discussion on the role of lawyers and their professional associations in Turkmenistan.