IBA guides, rules and other free materials

As well as journals, committee publications, books and online content, the IBA also publishes a wealth of information across all aspects of law to assist and support the international legal community.

Here you can find a library of freely accessible documents in online (PDF) format, from ethical principles for the profession, to arbitration guidelines; task force reports on important issues and IBA statements and resolutions.

Many IBA committees also produce guidelines relevant to their practice area. Check the committee publications and projects pages to find out more, or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact publications@int-bar.org.

Practice Rules and Guidelines

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration

The Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest represent the most comprehensive work to date defining the framework by which the impartiality of arbitration in the international arena can be most effectively assured. The publication sets out a series of seven general standards of independence and disclosure to govern the selection, appointment and continuing role of an arbitrator. The most recent version of the Guidelines was adopted by resolution of the IBA Council on Thursday 23 October 2014. This version updates and clarifies the original Guidelines, which were approved by the Council of the IBA on 22 May 2004. The Guidelines are intended for use around the world.

Select a language to download these Guidelines (2014 version for English language; previous version for non-English language - updates to follow)     

The IBA Arbitration Committee and its Task Force on Counsel Conduct have produced guidelines for party representation and counsel conduct in international arbitration.

The IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration are inspired by the principle that party representatives should act with integrity and honesty and should not engage in activities designed to produce unnecessary delay or expense, including tactics aimed at obstructing the arbitration proceedings.

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On 29 May 2010, the International Bar Association adopted the new IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, which superceed those of 1999. The revised rules will apply to all arbitrations in which the parties agree to apply the IBA Rules after 29 May 2010, whether as part of new arbitration agreements or in determining the rules of procedure in a pending or future arbitration.

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The IBA Guidelines for Drafting International Arbitration Clauses were approved by the IBA Council in October 2010. The Guidelines were developed by a Task Force appointed by the Arbitration Committee and composed of Paul Friedland (chair), Doak Bishop, Karim Hafez, Adriano Jucà, Carole Malinvaud, Sundaresh Menon, Jean-Claude Najar, William (Rusty) Park, Anne-Véronique Schlaepfer, Eduardo Silva Romero, Stephen E Smith, Matthew Weiniger and Damien Nyer (Secretary).

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Mediation

The IBA Rules for Investor-State Mediation were adopted by a resolution of the IBA Council on 04 October 2012. The rules are designed for the mediation of investment-related disputes involving States or State entities, only applying when the mediating parties have both agreed that these rules shall apply. They govern the commencement and conduct of the mediation process, as well as the designation, resignation and role of mediators and co-mediators. Also included in the document are rules protecting the principles of independence and impartiality of mediators, privacy and confidentiality, and settlement or termination of the mediation process. 

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Bar Associations and Law Societies

The 13-page document entitled IBA Anti-Corruption Guidance for Bar Associations: Creating, Developing and Promoting Anti-Corruption Initiatives for the Legal Profession was drafted by the IBA’s Legal Projects Team in conjunction with an expert consultation group comprised of members of the IBA Bar Issues Commission, and the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee.

Read more about the IBA LPT Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession

The Anti-Corruption Guidance for Bar Associations was adopted by the IBA on 25 May 2013.  This guidance complements previous IBA Council resolutions in encouraging bar associations across the world to take positive steps to support the legal profession in combating corruption. The purpose of the document is twofold: (i) to education lawyers on the risks and threats of corruption in their capacity as legal professionals, and (ii) to provide a positive representation of the legal profession and bar associations as a champion of anti-corruption before local and international forums. 

Select a language to download these Guidelines     

This handbook was written to help IBA Member Bars (and all bar associations) who may be approached by the trade negotiators from their own countries. It provides everything a bar would need to know about:

  • the substantive provision of the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services);
  • how the GATS' substantive provisions apply in the context of legal services;
  • what has happened since the adoption of the GATS and its relevance to legal services;
  • where the debates have occurred with respect to legal services (and to give you a flavour of the disagreements); and
  • the developments that IBA Member Bars might be asked to respond to.

The handbook has been prepared and compiled by Professor Laurel Terry, and the International Trade in Legal Services Committee of the IBA's Bar Issues Commission. Read more on the ITILS projects page.

Select a language to download   or click here to download the the 1st edition (2002) of the GATS Handbook

The IBA Guide for Developing, Implementing and Maintaining a Young Lawyers’ Organisation was adopted on 17 May 2008. Endorsed by the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee, International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and the ABA Young Lawyers Division, these guidelines address the setting up of young lawyers’ divisions among the local and national bar associations and assist in their development and maintenance. 

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Cross-Border Sales and Transactions

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Standards, Principles and Ethics

The set of six guidance principles were adopted by the IBA Council on 24 May 2014 at the IBA Mid-Year Meetings in Brussels, Belgium. The principles encourage member bar associations and regulatory bodies around the world to take affirmative steps to promote social media conduct within the legal profession in accordance with relevant rules of professional responsibility and considerations of civility. 

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The IBA International Principles on Conduct for the Legal Profession was adopted by the IBA at the Warsaw Council Meeting on 28 May 2011. The IBA urges judges, legislators, governments and international organisations to strive, along with lawyers and bars, to uphold a list of 10 principles common to the legal profession worldwide, the respect of which is the basis of the fundamental right to a legal defence. The principles relate to independence; honesty, integrity and fairness; conflicts of interest; confidentiality / professional secrecy; clients’ interest; lawyers undertaking; clients’ freedom; property of clients and third parties; competence; and fees. 

Select a language to download these Principles     

The IBA Policy Guidelines for Training and Education of the Legal Profession were adopted by the IBA Council on 03 November 2011. The Guidelines are not intended to replace the curriculum requirements for undergraduate or graduate training programmes in the legal systems around the world, but propose best practices for Bar Associations and Law Societies concerning the specialised training requirements for preparing new entrants for practice in the legal profession. 

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The IBA Guide for Establishing and Maintaining Complaints and Discipline Procedures was approved by the IBA Council in October 2007. It acts as a model guide to assist bar associations in adopting or adapting their own basic complaints and discipline procedure. Included within are recommendations for a local code of conduct with fundamental principles against which a lawyer’s conduct will be judged, a fair, impartial and independent Complaint Handling Body with powers of mediation and dismissal, procedural and documentary provisions for rules when responding to a complaint made, education and information requirements to ensure consumers are aware of the complaints process against lawyers, as well as guidance on Disciplinary Tribunals and Appeal Tribunals to observe due process of law and have a range of sanctions at their discretion so as to impose a suitable penalty. 

Select a language to download this Guide     

The IBA General Principles for the Legal Profession was adopted by the IBA on 20 September 2006. The 10 principles are intended to promote and foster the ideals of the legal profession through establishing a framework to serve as a basis on which codes of conduct may be put in place by the appropriate authorities for lawyers in any part of the world. The principles relate to the following issues: independence; honesty, integrity and fairness; conflicts of interest; confidentiality / professional secrecy; clients’ interest; lawyers’ undertaking; clients’ freedom; property of clients and third parties; competence; and fees. 

Select a language to download these Principles     

The IBA Communication to the World Trade Organization on the Suitability of Applying to the Legal Profession the WTO Disciplines for the Accountancy Sector was adopted at the IBA Council Meeting in San Francisco, United States of America in September 2003. This document approves two exhibits made by the IBA on WTO Disciplines for the Accountancy sector and an accompanying explanatory note which are authorised to be passed on to the WTO and its Member organisations for consideration. 

Select a language to download this Communication     

The IBA Standards and Criteria for the Recognition of the Professional Qualifications of Lawyers was adopted at the IBA Council Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2001. The IBA lists recommendations for the liberalization of market access in respect of legal services and removing undue barriers to cross-border and established provision of legal services for the consideration of the WTO. This includes establishing standards and criteria to be applied when determining whether to recognise professional qualifications of persons authorised to practice law in the territory of another Member as well as recommendations concerning mutual recognition agreements, as contemplated in GATS, which establish equivalency of education. 

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The IBA Statement of General Principles for the Establishment and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers was adopted at the IBA Council Meeting in Vienna, Austria in June 1998. The document sets forth statements which describe the essential principles on which regulation of cross-border establishment of lawyers should be based, including common essential principles of commitment to the independence of lawyers, commitment to the preservation of client confidences, prohibition against conflicts of interest, and the maintenance of high ethical standards. The IBA also proposes two approaches, the ‘Full Licensing Approach’ and the ‘Limited Licensing Approach’ for the regulation of foreign lawyers.

Select a language to download this Statement     

The IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession was adopted by the IBA Council in 1990. Independence of the legal profession is an essential guarantee for the protection of human rights and access to legal services. This document contains a set of standards to assist in the promotion of the proper role of lawyers, to be respected by Governments through national legislation and practice, as well as by members of the legal profession. They include requirements on entry into the legal profession and legal education, education of the public concerning the law, the rights and duties of lawyers, legal services for the poor, Lawyers’ Associations, and disciplinary proceedings. 

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This Code was superseded by the IBA Principles on Conduct for the Legal Profession 2011.

The IBA International Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1956, this edition being adopted by the IBA Council in 1988. The Code contains a list of 21 rules to act as a guide as to what the IBA considers to be a desirable course of conduct by all lawyers engaged in the international practice of law. Included in the guidance are standards of professional ethics for lawyers acting in another jurisdiction, lawyers maintaining the honour and dignity of the profession both in practice and in private life, preserving the independence of professional duties, maintaining due respect towards the Court, appropriate standards of conduct when working with clients, prohibition on representing conflicting interests, and rules concerning fees and compensation for services. 

Select a language to download this Code     

The IBA Minimum Standards of Judicial Independence was adopted by the IBA Council in 1982. They govern the relationship between judges and the executive and legislature, as well as procedural matters such as judicial appointments, control over judicial functions, rules of procedure and practice, supervision over process, judicial salaries and associations with the press. Furthermore, standards of conduct of judges are set out to ensure impartiality and independence is secured. 

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Task Force Reports

Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights

Global climate change is a defining challenge of our time. Dramatic alterations to the planet’s climate system are already affecting the world’s inhabitants and its natural environment.

This wide-ranging and comprehensive report from the IBA Presidential Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights identifies problems and gaps in existing legal, human rights, trade and other institutional arrangements. It contains a series of new ideas and recommendations to governments and world institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, human rights bodies, international development financing agencies, as well as specific law and corporate governance reforms to aid in the prevention and mitigation of climate change impacts and protect the human rights of vulnerable communities.

Read more about the Presidential Task Force

Read more about the report Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption and browse chapters online

Select a language to download this Report     

IBAHRI Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights

This report addresses global taxation from the novel perspective of human rights law and policy. Based on extensive consultation from diverse perspectives, the expert Task Force offers unique insight into the links between tax abuses, poverty and human rights.

The report analyses the responsibilities and remedies to counter tax abuse and delivers recommendations for states, businesses and the legal profession.

Read more about the IBAHRI Task Force and Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights

Select a language to download this Report     

Presidential Task Force on the Financial Crisis

Following on from the work of the IBA Presidential Task Force on the Financial Crisis in 2009/10, the Second Phase of the Task Force has released Poverty, Justice and the Rule of Law, an in-depth report on the aftermath of the GFC and its effect on poverty, employment, welfare and good governance, featuring contributions from leading lawyers and academics including four Nobel laureates.

Read more about the Presidential Task Force

Read more about Poverty, Justice and the Rule of Law and browse chapters online

Select a language to download this Report     

This report features an overview of the work of the Task Force from its Chair, Hendrik Haag, as well as updates on regulation from diverse jurisdictions: the US, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Japan and Russia.

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This interim report looks into causes and potential solutions to the problems confronting the world's financial markets and those who depend on the resumption of an efficient and appropriate global market system.

It conveys the preliminary views of the Task Force on legal responses to the crisis, pending the publication of the full Task Force report scheduled for October 2010.

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Task Force on International Terrorism

The IBAHRI convened a Task Force, comprising world-famous jurists, in order to analyse the considerable developments in international law and practice.The events of 9/11 set governments and international law-making bodies a number of complex and novel legal challenges in terms of responding to global terrorism whilst protecting people’s fundamental rights and freedoms.

Read more about terrorism and international law

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In 2003, a Terrorism Task Force was formed to analyse the challenges posed by international terrorism. The Task Force draw on the expertise of its high-profile members, the input from specialised IBAHRI working groups and information gained during meetings with high-level officials around the world. The report focuses on key areas including: civil liberties and human rights; the use of force as a response to terrorism; preventing the financing of terrorism and international cooperation in criminal justice; and the role of the ICC.

Read more about terrorism and international law

Select a language to download these Guidelines     

IBA Legal Practice Division Task Force on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

The Task Force was formed to focus on two important questions:

  • When should a state be able to regulate persons or conduct occurring outside its territory?
  • How should overlaps or conflicts of jurisdiction between two or more states be resolved?

The report responds to these questions by laying out the principles governing extraterritoriality, and by providing recommendations for governments, courts, international organisations and businesses on methods for minimising costs and conflicts associated with extraterritorial exercises of jurisdiction. The report focuses in particular on competition and antitrust law, tort law, criminal law, securities law, insolvency law, bribery and corruption.

Select a language to download this Report     


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