Representation in court

The central precondition of the Austrian Lawyers’ Order (similar to comparable rules of other civilised democratic legal orders) stretches the lawyer’s area of duty a long way, as it decrees that “the representational law of a lawyer spans across all courts and authorities of the Republic of Austria and [covers] the warrant to represent professional parties in all judicial and extra judicial, public and private affairs.” (§ 8 RAO)

This is one side of the coin. But beyond this the precondition of the warrant to represent professional parties is actually reserved for lawyers (paragraph 2). Lawyers are often irreplaceable in an increasingly complicated legal world, and are among the most important people in a position of trust in legally decisive phases of life. In this sense their functions go much further than mere litigation, even where it only comes to legal advice.

However, they are also constitutionally unrivalled in one certain area above all and in that area they are actually the only specialists. When it comes to representation in court it is exclusively the lawyer who is the appointed expert – especially when it comes to clashing interests (against which, in so-called non-contested proceedings, the lawyer’s statutory duty is much more narrowly defined than the public is generally told). Hence lawyers are generally associated with conflict and therefore also predominantly competitive characteristics – and (unfortunately in a negative sense) the frequent connotations of cantankerousness and egotism.

And nevertheless we insist that only those who have learnt the art of dispute can really avoid conflict and not just temporarily evade or suppress it. And only those who know that the law is on their side will come to a good result (even in negotiations which are difficult or fall through). The only people in the wrong are those who place themselves (or let themselves be placed) at one or the other extreme, causing continual confrontation or constant re-adjustment. Truly good lawyers – and we count ourselves among them – know exactly when they have to be hard and authoritative and when they have to be flexible and amenable.



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