Liberté, égalité, fraternité: Professional Principles en France

A friend has emailed me a translation of professional principles applicable to lawyers in France. There are interesting differences from the position over here, which in the light of the ongoing debate around Frances Andrade and the criminal justice systems treatment of witnesses and defendants bear an airing. In France, I understand, all lawyers must comply with the following 16 principles:

Dignity: Lawyers shall act with dignity, restraint and reserve (lawyers are forbidden to canvass clients or to lie);
Consciousness: Lawyers shall act with moral and professional rigour;
Independence: Lawyers must be independent (material, moral and intellectual independence) from anybody and especially from the clients;
Integrity: Lawyers must comply with all obligations imposed by the Courts and moral standards;
Humanity: Lawyers shall be compassionate and caring towards clients and must show humanity towards the opposing party;
Honour: Lawyers must act to preserve the esteem of others, in accordance with the moral standards;
Fairness: Lawyers must be fair to the opposing party (respect the principle of adversarial proceedings), to the clients and to other lawyers (lawyers are forbidden to divert clients of other lawyers);
Unselfishness: The fees to be paid to lawyers must be reasonable. Moreover the exercise of the profession of lawyer is incompatible with any commercial business;
Collegiality: Lawyers must maintain good relations with colleagues, must show solidarity with other lawyers and must respect the common values ​​of the profession;
Delicacy: Lawyers shall avoid conflicts of interest (eg, plead against a former client or divert clients from a colleague);
Moderation: Lawyers must exercise restraint and correction in their attitude and in their remarks during hearings. Lawyers shall not make any offensive or defamatory statements;
Courtesy: Lawyers must reconcile defense of the clients with respect for the judges and for the opposing party. Lawyers must appear in Court dress before judges;
Competence: Lawyers should advise clients in their best interests,
Devotion: Lawyers must be serious, caring and available to the clients. Lawyers must personally fulfil the mission entrusted by the clients;
Diligence: Lawyers shall provide care and attention to the defense of the clients. Lawyers must do all that is necessary or useful to the success of the mission entrusted by the clients. Lawyers must be present at the client’s side. Lawyers must respect the professional secrecy;
Caution: Lawyers must pay attention to the consequences of their actions and shall refuse a mission for which they have no competence. Lawyers must refuse to lend support to clients to the commission of an offense and shall attempt to dissuade clients from committing an offense.

The French of course have an inquisitorial system (although my understanding is that the difference between inquisitorial and adversarial in practice is less stark than the two terms may suggest). I’d be interested in thoughts about how this actually is applied in France.

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About Richard Moorhead

Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics at the Faculty of Laws, University College London with an interest in teaching and research on the legal ethics, the professions, legal aid, access to justice and the courts.
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2 Responses to Liberté, égalité, fraternité: Professional Principles en France

  1. Pingback: End Of The Day Round-Up | Legal Cheek

  2. Pingback: End Of The Day Round-Up

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