on October 13, 2017 – Olivier COUSI – Right
© DR – Olivier Cousi, lawyer partner of the law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, wants a european statute of the lawyer.
Lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring the protection of Human rights and fundamental freedoms. And yet the profession of lawyer as such is not protected by a text of european scope.
A european Convention on the legal profession is, therefore, a project highly anticipated in the level of the Council of Europe, because of the threats that weigh on our professional activity, either with direct-to-rights lawyers recently recorded in neighbouring countries such as Bosnia, Turkey, the Ukraine, or Poland, or, most insidious, the deregulation of regulated professions, or even the assimilation of the services of lawyers to services standardized in the sauce Bolkestein.
Therefore, it is necessary to remember in a text of universal scope the specificity of our profession and the protection of the lawyers as a defender and as a board, to dedicate the essential role of lawyers in the administration of justice, in access to the law and in the coherence and the maintenance of the rule of law.
On the basis of a recommendation of 2000 of the Committee of ministers of the Council of Europe, a proposal for a convention is under development, it is necessary to publicize and defend it.
Indeed, beyond the right of access to a lawyer in the protection of the rights of the defence and fair trial, as enshrined in the european Convention on Human rights, it would add principles protective but also obligations :
– Guarantee the freedom of exercising and non-discriminatory access to the profession in which decisions will be taken parune independent body.
– Ensure the librerté of expression and the movement of lawyers in the exercise of their profession.
– Ensure qualifying training and a morality high level which will be controlled by the Orders or professional associations.
– Recognize the role of protection of the rights and interests of clients, respect of professional secrecy and duty of advice and assistance.
– To ensure for every person with effective access to legal services provided by independent lawyers.
– The Orders or professional associations are only responsible for the ethics and the guarantors of the independence and interests of lawyers, as well as the defence of their interests and the quality of their training and the fulfilment of their obligations.
– Ensure control measures and disciplinary sanctions by the bars independent within the framework of procedures according to the rules of the ECHR and by ensuring the principle of proportionality in the choice of penalties relating to offences committed by lawyers.
Self-regulation would thus be strengthened in its vital role to ensure the independence of lawyers. It is the role of the Orders, which will also be devoted to avoid the temptation for the powers that be to undermine their role or their very existence, as we have again recently seen on the occasion of the controversy that erupted around the management of the Order of Paris.