LSO human rights events raise concerns about overreach, say some readers

Human rights support surprisingly controversial for others

LSO human rights events raise concerns about overreach, say some readers

Some Law Times readers are concerned that the Law Society of Ontario’s work monitoring human rights might amount to regulatory overreach, a poll said

About 75.5 per cent of respondents, or 123 voters, said in a poll over the past week that they do not find the work of the human rights monitoring group “important and enriching;” rather, they said, it is regulatory overreach and the LSO should focus resources on Ontario.

The poll — which is not scientific and does not track who has voted — suggested that nearly 17 per cent of respondents, 27 voters, found it was symbolically important for Ontario lawyers to show their public support for the rule of law.

The law society recently joined groups around the globe in examining rights and protections of lawyers in Pakistan, after several letters by the LSO’s human rights monitoring group.

“We have to stand with our brothers and sisters in law wherever they are. Lawyers are officers of the court,” said one commenter. “The rule of law is paramount to any democratic system. Other, non-democratic organizations and countries regularly get involved in foreign systems. Those of us from democracies must do the same to counteract the growing fascism and authoritarianism around the world. Otherwise, who will stop them?” 

A minority of respondents said they either supported the LSO’s human rights monitoring because it kept lawyers informed of current events and advocacy opportunities; or, they did not support the monitoring, because it was too political. 

The LSO has released statements on global human rights issues affecting lawyers since at least Oct. 2006, its website shows. 

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