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Cour de Cassation the rith November 1889. The judgment dismissing in especial said, “ Considering that under “ the old system conformably with the Roman law the

profession of an advocate was considered as a masculine “ office, that the restraint imposed by good manners on the

woman does not permit her to fulfil.” There is in this an echo of the quia levitate animiof the classic jurisconsult, which seems to be acceptable beyond the limits of Belgium.

During the long period in the course of which have been produced the incidents which have been briefly recalled, the relations between the Bar and the judiciary have been signalised with mutual courtesy and by a great regard for independence and dignity. Not that there have been no occasions when the Bench has tried to impinge upon the prerogatives of the advocate ; but such occasions have been rare and short-lived in the face of protests, when the whole Order has given proof of its sentiments of confraternity. The thorny question of remuneration naturally has provoked some lively passages. In 1847, for example, decreeing on a contest regarding the honoraria claimed by two advocates, the first chamber of the Court of Appeal of Liège introduced into its judgment this opinion: “Considering that although “ the honoraria claimed by those concerned have been taxed "at a high figure, they do not exceed the charges to which “it is generally the custom of the Bar to raise them; that “ the introduction of a like custom is nevertheless deeply to “ be regretted, since it alters the nature of the profession “ and translates into salary what was formerly only a re“muneration spontaneous on the part of the client.” The Council of Discipline, moved by the grave offence which this criticism gave to the Order of advocates, addressed a strong remonstrance to the Minister of Justice, to the First President, and to the Procureur-General of the Court of Appeal, asking them to bring it to the knowledge of the


Court. And it was only when this demand had been granted that the advocates, who had abstained from appearing at the Bar of the First Chamber since the offensive decree, consented to plead again before that chamber.

There have been other occasions upon which something in the nature of a professional “strike" called attention to a grievance and enforced the remedy. In 1852 there was an occasion when the Council of Discipline of Brussels protested against the attitude of the President of the Tribunal of Commerce, who had uttered words thought to be derogatory to the Bar. It denounced these observations to the First President and to the Procureur-General. The Bar for a long time ceased to plead before the Tribunal of Commerce. The incident terminated by public declarations satisfactory to both bodies.

Another occasion, and the protest against the course taken by the order of advocates comes from the Court. In 1859 a conflict occurred at Antwerp. The Bar had addressed to the Legislative Chambers a petition, having for its object the reform of the Consular jurisdiction. The Tribunal of Commerce regarded itself as affronted, and protested whilst continuing to sit. The Bar arrived at a resolution by which it declared that it had not been in the mind of the signatories to the petition to be wanting in respect due to the tribunal: and after some time things resumed their normal course.

The activity of the Bar of Belgium during the last fifty years has shown itself in the creation of a large number of free institutions, some of which, such as the Conférences du Jeune Barreau, the Fédération des Avocats, Comités de défense des enfants en Justice, and so forth, we purpose to consider in the course of the present article.

We now propose to devote a short space to the actual organisation of the Belgian Bar.

The legal constitution, which actually regulates the Bar in Belgium, depends upon the decree of 1810, certain

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articles of the decree of 1812, the decree of 1831, and certain royal pronouncements ranging from that of 1836 to that of 1891. The conspectus of these documents will enable the precise constitution, first of the judicial Courts, and then of the Bar in Belgium, to be determined. There are, according to the law of 1869, which regulates the judicial constitution of the country, in the first place, twenty-six Courts of First Instance, which are fixed at the principal centres; secondly, three Courts of Appeal, where the decisions of these Courts of First Instance can be reviewed, which are seated at Brussels, at Ghent, and at Liège respectively; and last of all, the final Cour de Cassation, which is held at Brussels. To each of these Courts a body of advocates is attached. There are thus twenty-six separate rolls of advocates, because in the three towns in which the Courts of Appeal are situate the roll of the advocates is the same for the Court of First Instance and for the Court of Appeal. To each roll is admitted an advocate who has fulfilled his period of studentship, and who has complied with the decree of 1889, which enacts that the profession of an advocate is incompatible with (a) all duties of judicial administrations (other than those purely gratuitous), except those of Minister of State, burgomaster, and municipal officer; (b) with the functions of registrar, notary, solicitor, and Court official; (c) with employment at a salary, or in regard to accountable agencies; (d) with any kind of commercial business or business agency.

The constitution of the tribunal of discipline of the Bar is as follows:-If the number of advocates is less than twenty in any particular Court centre, the Court itself safeguards its discipline. When the number exceeds twenty the advocates form in each year a general assembly, elect a bâtonnier, or president of the Order, select a Council of Discipline comprising (including the bâtonnier) five, seven, or at the most fifteen members.

The number of advocates in the year 1896–7 inscribed on the Roll: at Brussels, 598; at Ghent, 178; and at Liège, 247; at Antwerp, 191; at Charleroi, 131; at Mons, 121. The total number of Belgian advocates, including those who are still in their student stage, to a population of six millions, is 2,187.

The internal administration of each Order is insulated. The bâtonnier convokes and presides at its meetings. At public functions he represents the order. He intervenes in case of any dispute or untoward incident of audience, receives complaints directed against advocates, regulates or supervises the regulation of the business of the order, is consulted on professional difficulties and matters of etiquette, chooses advocates for internal offices, and generally administers the affairs of the Order.

In the terms of the decree of 1810 the Council of Discipline is charged with safeguarding the preservation of the honour of the Order, maintaining principles of uprightness and etiquette, which are the substratum of the profession, repressing or punishing by means of discipline, breaches or errors, without prejudice to any action of the Courts, if there are grounds for it: it will direct its close attention to the manners and conduct of students; it has the power in the case of habitual negligence, or of noteworthy misconduct, to extend the obligatory power of studentship, and even to refuse admission to the Roll of the Bar. In fact, its functions are analogous to those exercised by each of the four Inns of Court in England. The Council of the Order names its secretary, who is also the secretary of the Order, prepares the roll of the Order, forms the list of students, organises the office for gratuitous legal assistance, deals with difficulties relative to the modification of honoraria, and in this regard tenders its opinion to the Court.

The Council adjudicates upon disciplinary matters on the complaint of any party, or on the written requisition of the

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Minister of Justice, the advocate criticised being heard or at any rate duly cited. It can inflict the following punishments :-- warning, censure, reprimand, interdiction from exercising the profession for, at the maximum, a year, exclusion or expulsion from the roll; sitting with closed doors. Except in the case of a warning, there is an appeal to the Court of Appeal appropriate to the particular locality.

Advocates entered on the roll, in the three towns where there exist Courts of Appeal, plead before all the Courts in the kingdom. Speaking generally, the same rule applies to the advocates on the roll of any one of the towns where there exists a Court of First Instance. The proceedings in any of the Courts are, as a rule, in the French language. In regard, however, to certain of the Courts, Flemish is sometimes enjoined and sometimes permitted by law. The advocates in certain cases provided by law are called to supplement the judges of first instance. In the exercise of their profession the advocates wear the stuff gown, long sleeves, and black cap.

Partnership between advocates, as distinguished from collaboration, is not permitted. This is a provision by the traditions of the Order, rather than by any express regulation.

No State tax is imposed upon an advocate as such, but he may be required to pay certain local dues.

Advocates, together with other persons employed in a confidential character, are pledged to professional secrecy according to the provisions of the Penal Code, except in so far as they are obliged to give evidence in the course of the administration of justice, or other occasion when the duty of disclosure is specially enjoined by law.

The scale of professional remuneration is fixed, and in case of dispute taxed by the Order itself. Contrary to the rule which obtains in England, the Belgian jurisprudence recognises the right of the advocate to recover his fees by action at law.

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