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French Legal News - Legal Professions

On 21 January 2005, the Conseil constitutionnel approved the text of legislation to extend the jurisdiction of juges de proximité, a new category of non-professional judges created under the 6 February 2003 Act to handle petty matters, both in civil and criminal cases. Juges de proximité were initially granted jurisdiction over petty cases where the value of the claim was less than Euro 1,500. Under the amended legislation they will be able to handle claims up to a value of Euro 4,000.

On 23 November 2004, the First Civil Division of the Cour de cassation judged that, according to Directive 98/EC, an English lawyer who had worked in a French law firm for more than 3 years but had failed to register initially with the French Bar as an English Lawyer could not then be regarded as an “avocat.”

The 11 February 2004 Act reforming the organization of the judiciary and legal professions was published in the Journal officiel on 12 February 2004. The Act contains provisions on numerous professions such as barristers, solicitors, clerks of commercial tribunals, notaries, judicial experts, public auction consultants and industrial property consultants. As far as barristers and solicitors are concerned, two main reforms have been introduced. The EU Directive no. 95-8 of 16 February 1998 was finally transformed into domestic law. Barristers and solicitors from other Member States will now be allowed to set up a practice in France. The one-year training course that future avocats follow in Bar schools in France has been extended to 18 months with alternative practical and teaching sessions.


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