Henri Capitant Law Review (English)

The legal professions

Editorial - M. Goré

French law favors the diversity of the legal professions. Undoubtedly, this French tradition, above all, stems from history. It is therefore a multi-century evolution that explains the role of public prosecution in France, the rights and duties as well as the guarantees of the members of the Council of State, or lastly, the unique nature of the notarial role. But although the multiplicity of these legal professions is intimately linked to French history, it is not necessarily set in stone. Indeed, the diversity of the legal professions is today evident in many ways. It can be seen in their respective competencies: representation and assistance by attorneys; the drafting of authenticated instruments in the case of notaries. It can be seen in their differing types of status: there are the “liberal professions”; there are appointed officials holding public office for remuneration; notaries who operate under the oversight of the Ministry of Justice; professors who are civil servants; in-house corporate lawyers who are salaried employees; and the hierarchical, indivisible, and irremovable status of public prosecutors. It can be seen in the organizational structures of their practices, facilitating access to the professions, their professional canons and codes of ethics, providing guarantees for those appearing before the courts. Within their handling of the rule of law: the technique of cassation is the exclusive bailiwick of attorneys who work for the Council of State and Court of Cassation, as it relates to the unique character of the proceedings conducted by the Council of State and Court of Cassation, the courts before which they practice. This, in turn, calls for specialization, which itself requires a suitably adapted education and training, all while revolving around a common base. Attorneys, notaries, law professors, and judges, each follow a specific curriculum dictated by the unique nature of their respective missions, each of whom is to be, in his or her own way, a servant of the law. Because the legal profession is neither uniform nor ordinary. Specifically, it is a customized service that is offered by all French legal professions.


If diversity of professions is necessary for the rule of law, it is also necessary for the purpose of gauging the place of law within French society. If the attorney embodies a culture of litigation, the notary is more the minister of the contract, for the sake of legal certainty, and his first consideration is societal harmony and order. The hierarchical nature of the rules for seducing evidentiary proof, a characteristic of the Romano-Germanic family of legal systems, is inseparable from the role of written instruments and the notarial role. As for the Council of State, it provides not only for a jurisdictional mission, but also a mission of counsel to the government. This diversity of professions, which taken together with the conceptual nature of the rule of law, likewise opens the door to competition and dialogue among the professions. It suffices to mention the interaction between universities and judges. It is not surprising, therefore, that the professions have not kept up with the economic and social developments of French society. Certain professions such as avoués [solicitors] have disappeared, whereas others have seen the scope of their practice expand to include an extra-judicial setting (sports agent, trustee), while yet others, such as corporate in-house lawyers, have adapted their profiles and missions with regard to the prevention and management of business risks or increasing business competitiveness.


Should we, therefore, along the lines of another legal system, abandon our multiple legal professions? This is far from certain. Refuting the notion of a single type of legal expert, French law relies on this diversity of the legal professions to ensure compliance with a certain ideal of justice. If it is necessary to preserve the diversity of professions in France, it is also because this diversity is wanted and desired by the beneficiaries of legal rules, i.e., by the users of the law. Because this is synonymous with freedom. Is that not the whole point?

Marie-Elodie ANCEL

  • Job: Professeur à l’UPEC, Université Paris-Est Créteil
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Paris-Est Créteil

Laurent AYNES

  • Job: Professeur à l’Ecole de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I

Christine BIQUET

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université de Liège, Belgique
  • Country: Belgique
  • Address: Université de Liège, Belgique

Pascale BLOCH

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Paris 13 Nord
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Paris 13 Nord

Mircea BOB

  • Job: Maître de conférences à l'Université de Cluj-Napoca, Roumanie
  • Country: Roumanie
  • Address: Université de Cluj-Napoca, Roumanie

Sami BOSTANJI

  • Job: Professeur à la Faculté de droit et des sciences politiques de Tunis, Tunisie
  • Country: Tunisie
  • Address: Faculté de droit et des sciences politiques de Tunis, Tunisie

Bruno CAPRILE BIERMANN

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université del Desarrollo, Chili
  • Country: Chili
  • Address: Université del Desarrollo, Chili

Philippe DELEBECQUE

  • Job: Professeur à l’Ecole de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I

José Angelo ESTRELLA FARIA

  • Job: Secrétaire général Unidroit
  • Country: Italie
  • Address: Rome, Italie

Antonio GAMBARO

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université de Milan, Italie
  • Country: Italie
  • Address: Université de Milan, Italie

Yves GAUDEMET

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II

Judith GIBSON

  • Job: Juge, district court, Nouvelle Galles du Sud, Australie
  • Country: Australie
  • Address: Nouvelle Galles du Sud, Australie

Marie GORE

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II Présidente du Cercle des Lecteurs
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II

Michel GRIMALDI

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II

Ichiro KITAMURA

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université de Tokyo, Japon
  • Country: Japon
  • Address: Université de Tokyo, Japon

Elena LAUROBA

  • Job: Professeur à la Faculté de droit civil de l'Université de Barcelone, Espagne
  • Country: Espagne
  • Address: Université de Barcelone, Espagne

Paul LE CANNU

  • Job: Professeur à l’Ecole de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris I

Yves LEQUETTE

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II

Alain LEVASSEUR

  • Job: Professeur à la Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert, Louisianne
  • Country: États-Unis
  • Address: Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert, Louisianne

Philippe MALINVAUD

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Panthéon-Assas, Paris II

Thibault MASSART

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université d’Orléans
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université d’Orléans

Igor MEDVEDEV

  • Job: Maître de conférences à l'Académie juridique de l'Etat de l'Oural, Russie
  • Country: Russie
  • Address: Académie juridique de l'Etat de l'Oural, Russie

Fernando MONTOYA

  • Job: Professeur à la Faculté de droit de l'Université Externado de Bogota, Colombie
  • Country: Colombie
  • Address: Université Externado de Bogota, Colombie

Benoît MOORE

  • Job: Professeur à la Faculté de droit de l'Université de Montréal, Canada
  • Country: Canada
  • Address: Faculté de droit de l'Université de Montréal, Canada

Ngoc Dien NGUYEN

  • Job: Professeur à la Faculté d'économie et de droit de l'Université nationale du Vietnam, Hô Chi Minh Ville, Vietnam
  • Country: Viétnam
  • Address: Université nationale du Vietnam, Hô Chi Minh Ville, Vietnam

Rozen NOGUELLOU

  • Job: Professeur à l’UPEC, Université Paris-Est Créteil
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Paris-Est Créteil

Soo-Gon PARK

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université de Kyung Hee
  • Country: Corée du Sud
  • Address: Université de Kyung Hee

Paul-Gérard POUGOUE

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université de Yaoundé, Cameroun
  • Country: Cameroun
  • Address: Université de Yaoundé, Cameroun

Frédéric ROLIN

  • Job: Professeur à l’Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • Country: France
  • Address: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Hans SCHULTE-NÖLKE

  • Job: Professeur à l'Université d'Osnabrück, Allemagne
  • Country: Allemagne
  • Address: Université d'Osnabrück, Allemagne

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