Iran-HRM – Iran’s National Union of the Bar Association issued a statement on July 4 in protest to new guidelines issued by the Judiciary on June 30.
The National Union said it would not implement revised regulations to the Law of Attorneyship introduced by the judiciary.
The union said that the regulations “violate and restrict the independence of bar associations,” violating citizens’ right to independent legal representation and counsel.
The new regulations no longer allow the union to issue law certificates, giving this authority to the judiciary. The guideline has also added Islamic Law curriculum to law exams.
The new regulations were communicated to the Iranian Bar Associations on June 28 by chief justice Ebrahim Raisi, just before he was replaced as head of the judiciary on July 1 by Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei.
Iran Bar Association wrote in the statement published on their website, that “independence is the main essence of law, and guarantees the right to protect citizens” and that the new lawyer’s guidelines issued by the judiciary “violates the independence of the Bar Association”.
The Head of the Iran Bar Association in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, said in a tweet on July 3, “The directors of the Bar Association will not allow the judiciary and government entities to interfere with the independence of the Bar Association. This is our national right, which guarantees the right to defend.”
After installing mass murderer Ebrahim Raisi as its future president and appointing Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei as the Judiciary Chief, it seems that Khamenei is now trying to force its repressive laws on all social, political, and economic aspects of the nation.
The judiciary has for many years tried to reduce the power of bar associations.
Iran Bar Association
The Iran Bar Association was founded in 1915 by Iran’s then judiciary and became fully independent in 1953. The full independence was gained by the Prime Minister at that time, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, the leader of Iran’s Nationalist Movement who was a lawyer by trade.
The union comprises the Central Bar Association (Tehran Bar Association) and 15 regional bar associations and has been a member of the International Bar Association since 1968.
After the anti-Shah revolution, the Islamic Republic regime has tried to tighten control over the Bar Association and reduce the power of bar associations.
In May 2020, over 12,000 lawyers protested in a letter addressed to Raisi against a draft of the new regulations as “devastating” for bar associations and distorting “the process of fair legal investigations”. The signatories stated that if approved, they would not accept the regulations. Their move was supported by 180 former judges, who wrote a letter two days later asking Raisi to stop any violation of the association’s authority.
Bar associations and their members have in recent years repeatedly objected to Article 48 of the 2014 Code of Criminal Procedure, which restricts access to independent legal representation and counsel in “national security” cases where the Supreme Court appoints defense lawyers.