Three pillars of the lawyer’s self-conception

Three elementary guarantees are necessary for the unlimited and undisturbed perception of the central tasks of the lawyer’s position. These do not so much exist to provide protection for the lawyer as to serve his clients – a fact which should always be remembered. Although the close relationship between the advisor and advisee, representative and the represented, necessarily carries potentially harmful consequences, others can be disadvantaged by this as well. In other words, that which benefits one side can also be an advantage to the other.

It is only possible to think and act exclusively for one’s own clients within a sphere of total contextual (political) and economic independence. The lawyer’s position of self-management in individual provinces’ bar associations should, in an ideal situation, not serve to protect his own vested rights. Instead it should help to prevent influence from outside, for example from every governmental, ideological and religious (not to mention financial) force. And because each individual lawyer should only be financially dependent on his clients, he should only live from the fees they pay him.

The counterpart to this is exclusive client loyalty, conversely enjoined on the lawyer. This is indispensable, as the difference in knowledge between the lawyer and client (immanent, regarding the lawyer’s advice) cannot tolerate any other dependence, which could put absolute mutual trust into question.

On the other hand, the latter unlimited trust can only exist when it is protected by corresponding confidentiality. In all courts and before all authorities without exception, the right of the lawyer to forfeit giving evidence about things that were confided to him within his professional occupation, is a duty at exactly the same level as the discretion of privacy regarding his client, from which only the client can release him.



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