As I watched the events unfold in Paris over the past couple of weeks, my immediate thoughts of course went to the victims and their families. As the situation evolved in France, and more recently in Brussels, I couldn’t help but reflect more broadly on the importance of the rule of law, and the delicate balance between ensuring public safety and protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals.

When my fellow Bencher David Crossin, QC, traveled to France last week, I sent with him a letter on behalf the Law Society expressing our support and solidarity with our French colleagues at Le Conseil National des Barreaux. I believe lawyers have a central role to play in championing the rights and freedoms inherent in any civilized society, and this is especially true in exceptional circumstances, such as those in France today. It is important that lawyers and the judiciary remain independent from government, and lawyers can play an important role in supporting the principles of the rule of law.