Attorney-Client Communication: Legal Ethics and the European Convention on Human Rights

Author:Stefan Kirchner
Position:University of Lapland, Faculty of Law
Pages:223-238
SUMMARY

In the 2014 judgment in Öcalan v. Turkey (No. 2), the European Court of Human Rights had to deal with the permissibility of the monitoring of attorney client communication in the case of a convicted terrorist. While the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects all forms of communication under Article 8 ECHR, attorney-client communication receives particular protection under Article 6... (see full summary)

 
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e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
http://www.ijil.org
© 2015 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
223
Note. e research for this article has been made possible by a grant by the Research
Council of Lithuania (No. MIP-020/2012).
ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION,
LEGAL ETHICS AND THE EUROPEAN
CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
STEFAN KIRCHNER
University of Lapland, Faculty of Law
E-mail: stefan.kirchner@ulapland.fi
In the 2014 judgment in Öcalan v. Turkey (No. 2), the European Court of
Human Rights had to deal with the permissibility of the monitoring of attorney
client communication in the case of a convicted terrorist. While the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects all forms of communication
under Article 8 ECHR, attorney-client communication receives particular
protection under Article 6 ECHR as an important part of the right to a fair
trial. is article looks at the limits of the protection aorded to attorney-client
communication, in particular in cases in which such communication goes beyond
the mandate and into unethical or ethically unclear territory.
Keywords: Legal Ethics, Human Rights, the Right to Communicate, Council of
Europe, European Law.
The Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law Volume II Issue 1 (2015) at 223–238
Stefan Kirchner
224
I. INTRODUCTION
In recent weeks, the Kurdish people have received attention for their often
heroic ght against the terrorist forces of the self-proclaimed “Islamic
State” which has committed numerous massacres in Syria and Iraq. In
Northern Iraq, Iraqi-Kurdistan has enjoyed a large degree of autonomy
since the end of Operation Desert Storm and has been a relative success
story, in particular when compared to the overall situation in Iraq after
Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, from a Turkish perspective, the
Kurds’ struggle for self-determination continues to be associated with the
terror campaign which has been waged for many years by the Kurdish
Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization, against the Turkish
Republic. e longtime leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, remains a
symbolic gure for many Kurds and ags bearing his picture could be seen
at events across Europe when Kurds protested against the terror inicted
on Kurdish civilians by the Islamic State. At the time of writing,1 the U.S.
Air Force supports the ght of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces against the
Islamic State, European nations y supplies into Iraqi-Kurdistan and plan
to supply weapons to the Peshmerga.
Earlier this year, though, the legal situation of Mr. Öcalan has
led to a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
which impacts the work of lawyers across Europe. Mr. Öcalan has been
imprisoned on the Turkish prison island of İmralı2 since 1999, serving
a life behind bars3 for his role in the long terror war waged by PKK.
His fate has kept the ECtHR busy for some time4 and on 18 March
2014, the Court ruled in Öcalan v. Turkey (No. 2)5 on the compatibility
of monitoring of Mr. Öcalan’s communication with his attorney with
1. is text is up to date as of 20 August 2014.
2. Anon., EGMR zur Einschränkung der Anwalts-Mandantenkommunikation (ECtHR
on Limitations of Attorney-Client Communication), in 2 K A 7
(Rechtsanwaltskammer Frankfurt am Main ed., 2014) (in Germany).
3. Id.
4. For the earlier case see Öcalan v. Turkey, App. No. 46221/99, Judgment of
12 May 2005, available at http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.
aspx?i=001-69022.
5. Öcalan v. Turkey (No. 2), App. No. 24069/03, 197/04, 6201/06 and 10464/07,
Judgment of 18 March 2014.

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