Confidence in justice: final touch on the professional secrecy of lawyers during the last vote of the deputies

LThe deputies adopted the bill “for confidence in the judicial institution” on Tuesday evening, before the final vote of Parliament on Thursday in the Senate, with the key to a last-minute amendment touching up at the margin the controversial provisions affecting the attorney-client privilege.

Filmed hearings, supervision of the duration of preliminary investigations, encouragement of electronic bracelets, generalization in 2023 of departmental criminal courts, creation of a national center for serial crimes, the text by Eric Dupond-Moretti which was the subject of an agreement between deputies and senators meeting in a joint committee (CMP) was adopted by 66 votes for, 11 against and 11 abstentions at the Palais Bourbon.

It also provides for the abolition of automatic sentence reduction credits, a reform of prison labor and replaces reminders of the law with a “probationary criminal warning”.

But it was the provisions relating to the professional secrecy of lawyers that animated the last days and hours before the vote with an outcry from the profession.

The compromise text reached by deputies and senators enshrines the professional secrecy of the lawyer in his defense activity but plans to frame it in his consulting activity. Exceptions are thus provided for in terms of tax evasion and corruption. Terrorism too.

These provisions raised the discontent of the black robes and a final attempt by the Keeper of the Seals to iron out the misunderstandings resulted in the request of the National Bar Council (CNB) to delete the controversial article altogether.

In an amendment adopted by the Assembly, the government chose to marginally alter part of the system without going back on its main balances.

It confirms the presence of the Chairman of the Bar during searches and removes the exception relating to that where the lawyer has been “the subject of maneuvers or actions for the purpose of allowing, in an unintentional manner, the commission, the prosecution or the concealment of a offense”.

“I take note of the position of the CNB but in conscience and in responsibility I want to devote with the parliamentarians the major advances” of the text, affirmed Mr. Dupond-Moretti.

The LREM rapporteur for the bill Stéphane Mazars regretted a “corporate partisan posture” of lawyers.

“Deleting this article would have been a serious mistake”, tackled Antoine Savignat (LR).

The communist André Chassaigne regretted the tabling of this last-minute amendment contrary to the “habits of our parliamentary life” when Ugo Bernalicis (LFI) unsuccessfully tabled a motion of rejection by fiercely attacking the Minister of Justice, whom he castigated the indictment for “illegal taking of interests”.

17/11/2021 01:07:14 – Paris (AFP) – © 2021 AFP

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