David Hooper QC of 25 Bedford Row, and President of the recently formed International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) has defended the new group against criticism it has received from several bar associations.
The ICCBA was founded in order to represent counsel and support staff working at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. However, a statement released last week by six bar associations has warned lawyers against joining the new group. Two of the criticisms that were levelled at the ICCBA are that it ‘does not respect the independence of lawyers and creates discrimination among lawyers by ‘instituting the payment of dues’.
Appearing before the ICC, Mr Hooper said he was “surprised by the highly critical comments” about the ICCBA which ‘bear no relation to the facts’. As someone who has been working in The Hague for the past decade, he stated that there is a “pressing need” for a representative body and that the criticisms “are based on a misconception of our constitution and role”.
Mr Hooper emphasized that the ICCBA is independent from the other parts of the ICC. He made it clear that: “as a member of the English bar for the past 50 years I adhere to the principle of the independence of counsel and recognize the necessity for this association to maintain that principle.”
In response to the claim that the ICCBA would discriminate against some lawyers by requiring the payment of fees, Mr Hooper said that membership is not compulsory, and that the yearly fee of £100 is a modest price that has been decided upon by a vote of all members.
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Image source: www.25bedfordrow.com
Text source: www.lawgazette.co.uk (8th, 13th July 2016)