Launched in 2015, the Observatory aims to protect lawyers who are threatened as a result of their professional practice on the one hand, and to denounce situations that violate the rights of the defense on the other hand.

The Observatory has three main lines of action: alerting, supporting and training.

The work team


The headquarters of the Observatory is based in Paris.

The French National Council of Bar Associations and the Paris Bar have put two employees from their respective institutions at the Observatory’s disposal, to run and coordinate its missions.

Our missions


The International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) is an initiative of the French National Council of Bar Associations (France), the Paris Bar (France), the Consejo General de la Abogacía Española (Spain) and the Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italy).

Launched in 2015, the Observatory aims to protect lawyers who are threatened as a result of their professional practice, as well as to denounce situations that violate the rights of the defense. It aims to articulate itself in the landscape of protection mechanisms geared towards lawyers in general and human rights lawyers in particular, complementing existing mechanisms and working closely with established networks.

By bringing together as many Bar Associations and organizations as possible, the Observatory acts as a key international player in the defense of at-risk lawyers.

Its main lines of action are a combination of alerts, on-the-ground support and training activities:

Emergency Assistance

Establishment of emergency assistance mechanisms for lawyers faced with a serious and imminent threat.

This support can take various forms including:

Sending a special legal team on a field trip to defend a lawyer who is being subject to criminal proceedings Granting emergency funding to a lawyer and his family to face a difficult economic situation as a result of threats.

Purchasing protective equipment (installation of security equipment, securing computer networks, etc.)

Monitoring and Advocacy

Identifying lawyers at risk around the world by becoming the recipient of alerts issued by the member bars and monitoring the situation of lawyers in the most problematic countries.

Denouncing these cases by disseminating information confirmed by reliable sources such as the state authorities of the country, the diplomatic bodies of other member countries, as well as by relevant global and regional organizations so as to trigger their special protective procedures.

Our members


As an inclusive organization, membership to the Observatory is open to all bar associations and organizations that have either invested or wish to invest themselves in the defense of endangered lawyers.

The statutes of the OIAD provide for several categories of members:
The «founding members» which are the National Council of Bar Associations (France), the Bar of Paris (France), the Consejo General de la Abogicia Espanola (Spain) and the Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italy).
The «active members» which are the national bar associations and councils wishing to join the OIAD.
The «associate members» which consist of any association, union and international conference of lawyers interested in the work of the OIAD.

Any other type of structure can also support the OIAD by using its resources and skills as a «partner».

The OIAD’s governing body was designed to respond to both the urgency and speed required by the situations of at-risk lawyers, as well as to the imperative of being as democratic and inclusive as possible of other organizations. The OIAD is composed of:

  • A Bureau composed of the 4 founding members and 2 members elected from the Observatory’s pool of active members. The Bureau, which appoints a President, a Director-General and a Treasurer, defines the general strategy of the OIAD and takes the necessary actions required by the situation of the lawyers under threat.
  • A General Assembly that brings together the founding members, active members, associate members and OIAD Partners, at least once a year. Only founding members and active members who pay an annual fee have a non-consultative voting right. The role of the GA is to approve of the financial and moral reports, to decide on all matters submitted to it, and to elect the 2 members of the Bureau from the pool of active members. The GA is also an opportunity to discuss the general situation of lawyers in the world in order to feed the Bureau’s reflections on the definition of the IOAD’s strategy.

Join the Observatory


Depending on the nature of your organization, you can join the Observatory as:

An «Active Member» for national Bars and Councils, a status which opens the right to vote at the General Assembly, subject to the payment of an annual fee.

An «Associate member» for associations, unions and international lawyers’ conferences, without membership fees or voting rights.

A «Partner» for any organization or NGO involved in the protection of rights defenders, without the right to vote or any membership fees.

To join, download the membership form. The Observatory’s Statutes are available here.

Send the completed form to [email protected] or to the following address:
Observatoire international des avocats 
11, place Dauphine, 75 001 Paris

The annual membership fee schedule for active members for 2019-2020 has been set as follows by the Bureau:

  • 2.500 € for bars with more than 2500 lawyers.
  • 1.500 € for bars with 1000 to 2499 lawyers.
  • 1.000 € for bars with 500 to 999 lawyers.
  • 500 € for bars of less than 500 lawyers.

34 bar associations have already joined the Observatory as active members:


  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Belgium


  • Cameroon