Lawyers are essential to the functioning of society, acting as both advocates and advisors. They represent individuals and companies in civil lawsuits, and promote justice in criminal trials. Lawyers provide their clients with legal advice, informing them of their rights and helping them navigate the often complex legal system. Prosecutors work to protect citizens and businesses in civil courts, and to ensure justice is served in criminal trials.
All persons arrested, detained or incarcerated have the right to receive visits from, communicate with, and consult with a lawyer without delay, interception or censorship, and in complete confidentiality. Lawyers play a vital role in enforcing the law in a way that meets the fundamental requirements of justice. Seeking legal advice promptly can help to avoid a wide range of problems and reduce financial losses. When lawyers are threatened as a result of their duties, authorities must provide adequate protection.
Governments must recognize that all communications and inquiries between lawyers and their clients are confidential. Public interest lawyers advocate for civil movements for the benefit of society, helping those who need legal assistance but cannot afford it. Lawyers may also hire colleagues who are more familiar with the rules that apply to a specific area of law. Governments must ensure that all persons are informed of their right to have the assistance of a lawyer at the time of arrest or detention, or when accused of a criminal offence.
Professional bar associations should cooperate in the organization and provision of services, facilities and other resources. The professional conscience of the lawyer requires them to guarantee the best possible quality services. Special attention should be paid to assisting those who are poor or disadvantaged so they can assert their rights and seek legal assistance when necessary. Claims or complaints filed against lawyers should be dealt with in an expeditious and reasonable manner according to appropriate procedures.
Professional bar associations should cooperate with governments to ensure everyone has equal access to legal services, and that lawyers can advise and assist their clients without undue interference. The legal profession should establish codes of professional conduct for lawyers through its appropriate bodies or through legislation, in accordance with national legislation and custom, as well as recognized international rules and standards. Lawyers must protect their clients' rights and promote justice by defending human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law. They must always act freely and diligently according to the law, as well as recognized professional standards and ethics.