In conformity with international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of the United Nations, L4L has committed itself to enable lawyers to practice law in freedom and independence, always and everywhere, even when that does not suit the local government, bar association or establishment.
L4L provides support to oppressed lawyers and lawyer’s organizations. We provide such support by drawing the attention of international legal and political institutions and organisations, and the relevant authorities of the country in which the particular lawyer is based, to the position of threatened lawyers throughout the world. We also organise fact-finding or observation missions and letter-writing actions.
When carrying out our activities, we maintain contact and co-operate with the United Nations, the European Union, governments, embassies, universities, individual lawyers and national and international lawyers and human-rights organisations, such as the Dutch Bar Association (NOvA), the International Bar Association (IBA), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), Amnesty International (AI), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Human Rights First (HRF), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), and Peace Brigades International (PBI).
Whenever appropriate, we mobilize lawyers to provide legal assistance to oppressed lawyers.
We also participate in workshops, seminars and conferences regarding the position of threatened and obstructed lawyers, or we support the organizing thereof. In addition, we write a regular column in the lawyer’s magazine Advocatenblad.
L4L is an independent Dutch foundation, operating on a worldwide scale. The foundation has a board of directors consisting of (former) lawyers, human rights specialists. An Executive Director is responsible for the daily management. Since L4L is a foundation, and as such it does not have any members. For its income, the foundation depends entirely on contributions. Our supporters are mostly individual lawyers, law firms and lawyers’ organizations. Click here if you want to become a supporter.
L4L was granted Special Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2013. This status gives NGOs the right to participate in UN conferences and meetings, to submit written statements and reports and to hold mediations and panel discussion in UN buildings. The purpose of ECOSOC is to promote cooperation in the economic, social and humanitarian field.
L4L was established in 1986 at the initiative of the legal section of Amnesty International Netherlands with the support of the Dutch Bar Association, the Dutch Legal Committee for Human Rights (NJCM), and the Study and Information Center Human Rights (SIM).
In 2011, Lawyers for Lawyers celebrated its 25th anniversary.