Casablanca Lawyers Fund: decision on March 3

March 3, 2022 will be a decisive day for Casablanca lawyers. The Court of Appeal chose this date to rule on the legality of the solidarity fund project. Announced by the bar association council, the establishment of this mechanism is contested by a member of the bar.

The case was adjourned after a hearing on February 7. The last of a trial opened in November 2021 and held in the Council Chamber, therefore behind closed doors. Much awaited by the profession, the decision will be public.

As presented by the bar, the fund should be used to issue ” social Security benefits “ lawyers, especially those in difficult situations. The tool is not contested in itself, but rather the instruments of its implementation. The order would like to finance it by imposing new vignettes on certain legal proceedings. There is also talk of deductions from lawyers’ fees in cases where they would sit as arbitrators.

Lawyer at the Casablanca Bar, Me Jihad Agouram also practices arbitration. He is at the origin of the appeal initiated against the bar, to which Médias24 had reserved an article.

In summary, Me Agouram disputes the mandatory nature of direct debits, citing, among other things, consistent case law in this area. In 2001, the Supreme Court (predecessor of the Court of Cassation) affirmed that “the lawyer can only waive part of his fees by virtue of a consensual contract”. In 2012, two judgments of the Court of Cassation will confirm the prohibition of “direct deductions from the fees lawyers without their agreement or authorization”.

“Imposing a system of social works makes it slide from a consensual and voluntary system between the members – which constitutes its original function – to a tax system, the exclusive attribution of the legislator”, according to Me Agouram.

The bar argument

Facing the applicant, two colleagues and tenors of the courtrooms: Me Abdelkbir Tabih and Me Mohamed Chehbi (ex-president) were hired by the order to defend the merits of the (future) fund. The duo of lawyers believes that the “applicant did not cite the legal text that the bar would have transgressed”, contenting himself with using “judicial decisions from other judges in specific cases”.

However, “the independence of justice” also extends “to that of the judge to pronounce a judgment in the case submitted to him, without being bound by a doctrine or a previous judgment”, we read in the co-signed memorandum. by the two lawyers, of which Médias24 holds a copy.

In short, the judgments of the Court of Cassation would in no way commit the judges in the case in question, according to the defence. The Court would thus only be bound by “the law as the sole basis for any judicial decision”. Especially “as there is no text which renders void a decision of the bar association council which the applicant considers to be prejudicial to his personal money”, decide the two lawyers, launching in passing a subtle little poke.

But what is the decision of the bar based on? Me Chehbi and Me Tabih cite article 91 of the law governing the profession. This provision allows the order to develop and administer “social projects for the benefit of members of the bar”, as well as the “provision of the resources necessary to guarantee aid and pensions”. This implies measures for the search “for resources to finance direct aid”, insist the defendants.

For its part, the rules of procedure of the bar (article 129) addresses the question of resources, by evoking “income and stamp duties and requests for setting fees”.

The defense argument is not limited to the legal bases. He even goes so far as to invoke the “democratic rules”, which would imply according to them “that a minority bends to the opinion of the majority”.

“The lawyers registered with the Casablanca bar have delegated their will in the management of the affairs of the profession to the bar association council, which represents them all, that is to say 4,775 lawyers. “However, in this case, “the appeal comes from a single lawyer, who contests the will expressed by 4,774 colleagues”, concludes the brief.

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