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A/HRC/23/43/Add.2: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul


04 April 2013

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Independence of judges and lawyers


The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judge and lawyers conducted an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at the Government’s invitation from 19 to 29 May 2012. She met with governmental, legislative and judicial authorities, as well as with representatives of professional associations, civil society organizations, academics and other stakeholders. The Special Rapporteur visited Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines the steps taken by Pakistan to ensure the independence and protection of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, and analyses the challenges and obstacles that impede justice from being administered adequately and efficiently, and actors of the judicial system from discharging their functions independently, impartially and effectively since the transition from military dictatorship to democracy started in 2008.

Reference is made in particular to problematic ambiguities in jurisdictions and legal systems; the new system for appointing judges of the superior courts; the lack of protection for judicial actors; the application of discriminatory laws; the Supreme Court’s judicial activism and the use of its suo moto powers; the precarious situation of women in the justice system; and the existence of informal “justice” systems. The Special Rapporteur also examines the conditions of work in the judiciary and prosecutorial services and the related issue of the backlog of cases, delayed proceedings and access to justice. The situation of lawyers is analysed separately. Finally, she addresses the need for quality education and continuing training, in particular in human rights, women’s rights and gender equality, for all judicial actors.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

Delivered To:

the Human Rights Council at its 23rd session