"A wicked man accepts bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice. Proverbs 17: 23".

History of the profession

The antiquity Lawyer

Ancient Greece knew no institution comparable to contemporary Lawyer. The parties to the prosecution defend themselves; evermore they give to lawyers and logographers the charge of writing pleadings to be read during the hearing. Ancient Rome has contrarily assisted, instead, to the coming of the professional way ensuring representation and defence of the pleaders, and then their activity is gradually organized.udes competitive, law-equiped lawyers, through a spirit of excellence and who willingly avail themselves to individuals, legal entities and / or individuals who in need of support or advices with regards towards legal issues.

Compilations of the Emperor Justinian 1st (6th century AD) did mention of the term “Advocatus” (by the way of) and highlight the role of intercession, representation of the client conferred to the holder (it is important to note that this has given the way to the English word "advocacy" meaning to plead on the behalf of other(s)). Collegial order called "Bar Association" is established, its members must prove five years of study of laws, of good moral character and swear the oath. The advocate enjoys the monopoly of defence.

The Middle Age's Lawyer

In the year 802, one of Charlemagne's chapter (the governing body of a religious community or knightly order) mentioned for the first time the term "lawyer". At his side appears the Procurator who writes queries. This duality continues today through the separation of powers between the applicants and Lawyers before the High Court or between Solicitors and Lawyers call.

Counsel shall not seek any compensation from the person to whom he brings his knowledge, on the contrary it is up to the latter to express his gratitude in the form of "fees". In 1270, the institutions (legal rules) of St Louis issued the first rules of conduct applicable to lawyers. An ordinance of Philip III Le hardi of 12 October 1274 requires the lawyer to make the oath, this rule being lost since the Roman Empire, giving him the title of "Attorney" and regulates his fees including setting a ceiling. Philip le bel in 1291 continued the work of organizing the profession initiated by his predecessors in creating the table (also called matriculation). On February 13, 1327, ordinance of Philip VI of Valois enacts capacity requirements, incompatibilities, and reasons for exclusions and establishes a monopoly of pleading. To ensure compliance with these requirements, a clerical order is created under the term “Ordo” gradually replaced by the Bar, with its oldest of its members at the head.

Canon law has an undeniable influence, it is both for the lawyer an object of study and a working instrument. The religious essence of advocate Ministry is therefore not surprising yet. The clerical dress is only the most obvious illustration and attempt to a Lawyer was incurring, to its author, the risk of being excommunicated. If the symbol remains meaningful today as the other dress worn by the lawyer at the hearings, nowadays it represents independence and freedom of expression. The advocate is working with the Prosecutor, ancestor of Confessed and successor of the procurator. Prosecutors near the Paris courthouse form a brotherhood under the patronage of Saint Nicolas. Lawyers integrate this brotherhood and, because of their numbers, one of them takes the lead. In doing so, a lawyer becomes a carrier of baton of Saint-Nicolas and takes the title of president of the Bar. In 14th century, the patronage of Saint Nicolas is gradually giving way to that of Yves Saint (Erwan in Breton), in reference to Yves Hélory, Lawyer, Judge and native Priest from Tréguier (Côtes d'Armor) canonized in 1330. Formalizing moral duties to the advocate, In 1364, a Charles V’s ordinance has created the first judicial assistance system.

In France

The old regime's Lawyer

The Renaissance was the scene of several orders particularly damaging for the institution of justice and the defendant. An order of François 1st during 1522, establishes the venality of the charges of Judges: Magistrate buys his charge which leads to a break with the bodies of Lawyers. If originally Lawyers and magistrates formed against the power, the Judges who became owners of office aspiring to become power, alongside King or against the King. Magistrates extend the right to refuse registration of royal legislation or, by a judgment of the Paris Parliament of 11 May 1602, forcing the Lawyer to sign his writings mentioning his fees in it.

In response, King creates the seal keeper, a body with no judicial power of any court whose sole function is to record the royal decisions. Hence, lawyers went on strike and thus succeed in imposing their independence and emancipation toward the magistrates. The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterets August 1539, best known for having been imposed the French language throughout the Kingdom, particularly reduces the role of the Advocate depriving the accused of any defender at the prosecution and hearing while at the same time organizing Question (torture of the accused). An ordinance of 1595 extends to the Prosecutors the office venality system. Prosecutors become office holders and separate from the Advocate (the system continues today thus Solicitors remain holders of office and present a successor to the State against a retribution).

The separation with the corporation of prosecutors’ increases from 1661, the Advocate merely pleading, without representing his client or to apply while the prosecutor opens himself to new horizons and remunerative, ensuring legal advice.

The Revolution’s Lawyer

The American Revolutionary War made bloodless public finances and the King, faced the refusal of Parliaments to increase taxes, was forced to order the call of the general assembly. Essentially, the Lawyers belong to third estate that they represent more than half of the members, while the magistrates sit among the nobility. Lawyers are editors of specific complaints and will contribute to the meeting of the three states in constituent assembly.

A decree of October 8, 1789 abolished the Question and allows the silent presence of the lawyer during the investigation. In the name of liberty, particularly in terms of trade and industry, the law Le chapeilier (himself Lawyer) of 16 August 1790 prohibits corporations alongside the Bar. The representation of the parties at the hearing becomes accessible to all and in all courts under the system known as "ambulance". Favorable in his mind the interests of the Client, in expectation of an emulation of this new competition, this measure mainly led to the coming of "official defenders" under skilled and not meeting the legal requirements that were needed to the lawyers of that time. At the same, the “Solicitors” are taken to accomplish the procedural acts. The revolutionary terror marked the end of the ideal of equality and justice defended by constituents: special courts obeying vindictive of the street are established, solicitors are ignored, and defenders who advocate for the nobility incur prison or death.

In response to the revolutionary mistakes, 1st consul Bonaparte reinstates in the Year VIII (1800) of the Solicitors, ministerial officers limited in number whose mission is to advocate and apply to the court from which they exercise their ministry.

The Empire's lawyer and restoration

The law of 22 Ventose year XII (13 March 1804) revives the Lawyer in reappearance of the table but it compels a political oath in favour of the regime. A decree of December 14, 1810 restored the Order in its fullness, without giving back to the advocate his freedom and his prerogatives of the past: the obligation to inform the Magistrate fees by mentioning it the footnote of the acts, prohibition of strike, prohibition of use of funds, orders and bars appointed by the Attorney General, sharing pleading with solicitors. An ordinance of Louis XVIII of 22 November 1822 to withdraw the possibility of Solicitors to pleading and grants at the same time exclusive jurisdiction to Lawyers. Lawyers recover some autonomy since they now have no more to mention their fees in footnote of the acts and may form the Bar from six members.

The apparent liberalism of this ordinance however wouldn’t mislead, since Parliament has full control on the appointment of the College and President of the Bar and the lawyer cannot plead out of his jurisdiction, the latter restriction is partially lifted in 1829. The era is accompanied by recalling of the multi-secular ethical requirements. Even when he does not fulfil his mission, the lawyer must act with the utmost dignity, dignity that is also reflected in the choice of his dwelling or exercise and in the sobriety of its apparel.

The honor and fairness dictate the conduct of the lawyer: the client is free to choose the lawyer while the lawyer is free to choose his clients and his defense, the lawyer has a moral duty to advocate for free to the poor.

The Lawyer from the Second Republic to 1945

A law of 22 January 1851 formalizes this last duty by requiring the defense free of charge by the Advocate to the poor. The Golden Age of parliamentarism, from the advent of the Third Republic to the First World War saw the Advocate become an actor in the life of the city. During this period, sometimes called the "Republic of Lawyers", many lawyers will succeed to the highest offices: Gambetta, Waldeck Rousseau, and Poincaré.

An Act of 1 December 1900 provides women with access to the bar. The First World War was a turning point in mentalities and changes known by the society that did not spare the Advocate. The Advocate has a real profession intended to provide him the means of subsistence, He is at the head of a more or less large company, he manages his office by taking into consideration its operating costs, has employees and maintains relationships with customers of a new kind. The access to justice is democratized: trials become more numerous for less important issues. This development contributes to the change in perception of the fee by the lawyer that truly becomes a wage of an intellectual work.

However, professional customers remain inaccessible. The Advocate can not write commercial acts, assist or represent the client before the commercial courts or the administration which at the same time ensures the prosperity of attorneys and legal advices. The growing complexity of the rule of law as to the exercise of the profession in 1941, led to the introduction of a credential for an occupation of Lawyer, prerequisite to exercise whereas previously it was just to be justified by a degree in law.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Lawyer practicing his profession in the Democratic Republic of Congo is governed by the Ordinance - Law N°: 79-028 of 28 September 1979 on the organization of the Bar, the Corps of Judicial Defenders and the body of state’s agents. The legal profession was implanted in Congo initially in the form of proxy since the creation of the Congo Free State in 1885. The first Advocate is set at Elisabethville today Lubumbashi, in 1910. In the meantime "ad litem mandators" established by the Ordinance of December 5, 1892. General Governor were performing the role of Lawyer in introducing and supporting court cases held in Congo, it was only in 1930 that "bars" were established by a decree promulgated on 7 November of that year. From 1930 to the present, many legal texts came to regulate the profession of lawyer. These include: - Ordinance - Law N°. 68-247 of 10 July 1968 organization of Bar, body of legal advocates and regulatory of representation and assistance of the parties in the courts; - Ordinance - Law N°. 79-028 of 28 September 1979 on the organization of the Bar, the body of judicial defenders and body the state’s agents.


Our history can not be summarized in a few lines and we wish to our interested readers to consult our sources: DAMIEN (A.) Lawyers of the past, Lefebvre, 1973 SUR ( B ) , History of Lawyers in France , Dalloz , 1997 MARTIN (R.), the Attorney Ethics, 8th ed., Litec 2004 HAMON (Th.) , St. Yves and Jurists, accessible text from the website of the University of Rennes I www.memoireonline.com/10/09/2744/m_Profession-davocat-en-Republique-Democratique-du-Congo

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