ICAM Launches Campaign on Lawyer’s Protection

In response to alarming statistics revealing a high incidence of mistreatment and restrictions in the exercise of the right to defense among Madrid-based lawyers, the Illustrious Bar Association of Madrid (ICAM) has announced the launch of a campaign aimed at empowering its members about their rights and the available mechanisms for their protection.

According to the “Comprehensive Study on the Situation of Madrid’s Legal Profession” conducted by ICAM, an alarming 71% of lawyers in Madrid have experienced some form of mistreatment or discourtesy in their professional practice. Cases are more prevalent among female lawyers and in areas such as constitutional, criminal, and procedural law. Additionally, professionals aged 36 to 45 are most frequently affected by these issues.

Regarding lawyers working in law firms, a higher proportion of them (averaging 75%) have experienced mistreatment from judicial bodies, with no significant differences related to the size of the firm. Conversely, lawyers working in corporate settings are the least likely to report having experienced these incidents, with the percentage dropping to 57% in this sector.

Of the lawyers who have experienced any form of violation, 96% report having encountered two or more such situations. The most common types of violations cited include “disrespectful treatment, both verbal and written” (80%).

A concerning statistic reveals that over half of the lawyers who have experienced a violation of the right to defense (61%) have chosen not to take any action, with 29% airing their grievances on social media or within their professional circles, 19% lodging complaints with judicial bodies, and only 13% filing complaints with ICAM.

Campaign and Training Workshops

To address this situation, ICAM will launch a series of initiatives aimed at promoting awareness of the rights of its members in professional practice and the mechanisms available to them when these rights are violated.

One such tool is the ‘amparo colegial’ (collegial protection): “The amparo colegial not only seeks to protect legal professionals; its ultimate purpose is to ensure the right to defense of citizens, which is fundamental and constitutional. ICAM’s Governing Board has processed a total of 23 amparo colegial cases in the last fiscal year, of which 8 have been granted, highlighting the importance of this mechanism but also revealing its underutilization,” explains Javier Mata (pictured), ICAM’s Deputy in charge of Legal Defense.

In 2023, there was a notable increase in both the number of amparos requested (up by 123%, from 13 requests to 29) and those granted (up by 166%, with 8 amparos granted in 2023 compared to 3 in 2022).

To promote this mechanism, ICAM has launched an extensive awareness campaign with a social media spot and informative posters to be distributed in all judicial headquarters in the capital, highlighting specific cases that have already received this protection.

The campaign, workshops, and an updated edition of the “Practical Guide to Legal Defense” are part of a broader initiative that includes a legislative proposal to strengthen colegial amparo, through its incorporation into the future Organic Law on the Right to Defense currently being processed in Congress.