General

In case of disputation with your lawyer

In case of disputation with your lawyer:
The lawyer is a legal professional. His role is to advise and defend his client. But a disagreement can happen between the two. It is also possible that a lawyer makes a mistake. It then becomes difficult to continue the relationship. Thus, a dispute may arise between a client and his or her lawyer for various reasons. So how to solve this problem? The answer varies depending on the nature of the dispute. Here are the different possibilities.

My lawyer has committed a professional fault
The lawyer has committed a fault that has caused you prejudice:

Neglect of deadlines and remedies
Repeated refusal of appointments
Embezzlement of client funds
No explanation on the progress of the case
Absence or non representation at the hearing
Error on the jurisdiction of the court or on the applicable law
Lack of knowledge of case law
It is up to you to prove the fault of the lawyer that caused you prejudice. You must also prove that there is a causal link between the fault and the prejudice. When you have all the evidence in hand, you can engage the professional civil liability (RC Pro) of the lawyer

To engage the RC Pro, here is the procedure in detail:

Send a registered letter to your lawyer to inform him of the fault.
The lawyer declares the fault to the insurance company of the Bar Association
The insurance company offers you an amicable indemnity: accepting the amicable indemnity stops the procedure
You refuse the compensation. In case of legal proceedings, the calculation of the amount of the compensation is based on the loss of chance. A loss of chance is the amount that could have been awarded by the court if the case had been won

My lawyer committed a disciplinary fault
Like professional misconduct, disciplinary misconduct will sanction the lawyer for failure to comply with one of these 4 categories of deontological obligations:

Independence
Loyalty
Confidentiality
Information, advice and diligence

First of all, you can file an action for liability. But you can also file a complaint with the President of the Bar.

Following an investigation, the President of the Bar may decide to bring the lawyer before the Bar’s Disciplinary Board. The latter will then sanction the lawyer who has failed to meet his obligations. Sometimes this sanction includes disbarment.

However, the Disciplinary Board cannot award you damages.

To learn more, read also: Deontology: what are the obligations to which lawyers are bound?

What to do if there is a dispute about the amount of the fees?
Disputes over fees are the exclusive competence of the president of the bar association to which the lawyer belongs. To dispute the fees, you must therefore file a fee assessment procedure with the latter or first refer to the consumer ombudsman of the legal profession.

Referring to the consumer ombudsman of the legal profession
Jérôme Hercé is the national mediator appointed by the National Bar Council. His role is to resolve disputes between a lawyer and a client when the latter refers the matter to him. The client must be a consumer to benefit from this possibility.

Here is the procedure for referring a case to the national mediator:

Send a written complaint to your lawyer by registered mail. In this complaint, ask your lawyer to resolve the dispute amicably.
Wait for the lawyer’s reply.
If the attempt to resolve the dispute amicably fails, you may refer the matter to the mediator. After the lawyer’s response, you have one year.
Refer to the mediator by e-mail or post.
The mediator will help you to resolve the dispute with the lawyer by finding an agreement.
To help you, here is an address to reach the mediator by :

– E-mail: [email protected]

Referring to the President of the Bar
The complaint must be made by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or delivered directly to the bar association concerned, in return for a receipt. The President of the Bar has 4 months to respond after receipt.

If the President of the Bar does not reply after 4 months or if his reply is unsatisfactory, you have the right to appeal. Indeed, you can appeal to the first president of the Court of Appeal.

Can I file a complaint if my lawyer does not win the case?
The lawyer is subject to an obligation of means.

The obligation of means is to do everything in one’s power to achieve the result. It is contrary to the obligation of result where it is the responsibility of the person to obtain the result under penalty of being held liable.

Since the lawyer is not obliged to obtain a result, he cannot be held liable on this point.

Nevertheless, the lawyer must inform you if a procedure is likely to be unsuccessful. If he fails to do so, you can take your case to the district court or the high court, and perhaps obtain damages.

Can I change my lawyer during the proceedings?
In case of a dispute with your lawyer or in case of disagreement, you have the right to appoint another one.

First of all, you must inform the lawyer by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt of your wish. Then, you must pay him the fees due to him. Finally, you can collect your file from your former lawyer and give it to the new one. You must sign an affidavit stating that you have recovered your entire file. This will avoid any litigation.

Can the lawyer abandon my file?
The lawyer can drop a case at any time. He must also inform you by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

Can the lawyer refuse to defend me?
He can refuse to defend you after having read the file. He may consider the case too complex, too long, or not within his competence.

What should I do if my lawyer does not want to give me my file back?
When you decide to change lawyers or at the end of their mission, the lawyer has the obligation to give you back all the documents in the file, except for confidential correspondence with the opposing lawyer.

Moreover, he cannot refuse to return the file to you even if you have not paid the fees.

You can request the return of the documents by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. It should be noted that your request is made in accordance with the Decree of July 12, 2005 relating to the rules of ethics of the legal profession, article 14.

In the event of a dispute with the lawyer on this point, you can refer the matter to the President of the Bar Association;

What should I do if my lawyer does not appear at the hearing?
In case of repeated absence of the lawyer, it is necessary to seize the competent jurisdictions. It is the district court and the high court that are competent to hear the case. The choice of court depends on the amount of the case. This possibility allows you to obtain damages.

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