The Legal Profession in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Since the 1979 Revolution, the clerical regime in Iran has been limiting the legal profession’s autonomy by preventing members of the Iranian Bar Association (IBA) from freely electing their Board of Directors and by establishing a new body of lawyers — legal advisors of the judiciary — to contest the IBA’s professional monopoly. Clerics have even attempted to bring the legal profession under the control of the Ministry of Justice and merge it with the legal advisors. The IBA’s struggle to remain a civil society organisation independent of the judiciary offers a vantage point from which to explore the role of the legal profession in Iranian society and the legal system of the Islamic Republic. Why does the Iranian judiciary oppose an independent legal profession, and why does the profession refuse to capitulate? What are the implications of this ongoing conflict for the legal order of the Islamic Republic, whose political elite consists mainly of Islamic jurists? What are the socio-cultural consequences of undermining the integrity and autonomy of the legal profession? These questions will guide our inquiry.

Download full paper

Citation: Banakar, Reza and Ziaee, Keyvan, The Legal Profession in the Islamic Republic of Iran (April 29, 2018). Lawyers in Society: Thirty Years On. Edited by Abel, Richard et al. Oxford: Hart Publishing, Forthcoming.

Brought to you by ICLR.