Photo of lawyer Rita Branco who has been appointed Head of the CCBE Portuguese Delegation

An Algarve legal voice in Europe

Lawyer Rita Branco has been recently appointed Head of the CCBE’s Portuguese Delegation.

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is often called the voice of European lawyers. And from February 2023 the lawyer leading Portuguese lawyers’ voices in this organisation is from the Algarve. Rita Branco – a name easily recognised within the law community of this region – was appointed Head of CCBE’s Portuguese Delegation in January 2023, by the newly elected President of the Portuguese Bar Association.

The CCBE is an international non-profit association which has been, since its creation in 1960, at the forefront of advancing the views of European lawyers and defending the legal principles upon which democracy and the rule of law are based. It represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than one million European lawyers. Acting as the liaison between the European Union (EU) and Europe’s national bars and law societies, CCBE has regular institutional contacts with the European Commission officials, members and staff of the European Parliament, who deal with issues affecting the legal profession.

Regulating the law profession, defending the rule of law, human rights and democratic values were at the core of CCBE’s foundation and are still the organisation’s most important missions. But there are many issues that affect lawyers at a European level, such as the impact of technological developments on the core values of the profession, the relationship between lawyers’ duties and governments’ obligations to ensure the security of citizens, and the impact of globalisation and market liberalisation on the legal profession, amongst others.

Today, areas of particular interest and concern for CCBE include the right of access to justice throughout Europe, the digitalisation of justice procedures, the continued development of the rule of law, and the protection of the client through the promotion and defence of the fundamental values of the profession, just to name a few.

Rita got her Law Degree at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Law in 2000 and started her career as lawyer at José Teixeira & Manuel Fernandes Barros law firm in Faro. In 2010, she founded her own firm – ALLawyers – with colleague Tiago Felizardo, where she continues to carry out her work. “We had both worked for several years in different traditional law firms, and felt the market needed a different law firm, with a different approach. We believed then, as we still do today, that the focus on the client and his needs must be the cornerstone of what we do,” Rita tells us.

“It was an honour to have been appointed to this as position. Serving as the Head of CCBE’s Portuguese Delegation, will allow me to push this mindset even further, as our delegation will be able to actively contribute to the guidelines, plans and procedures that CCBE idealises, implements and regulates for lawyers across Europe, thus elevating the work all legal professionals do for their clients,” she adds.

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