François Kremer, (Luxembourg Bar Association): Representing the Order
According to François Kremer, President of the Luxembourg Bar Association, a President of the Bar has a duty to support his colleagues, while at the same time promoting the legal profession in the face of an ever-changing society. Interview.
Could you introduce the Bar in a few words?
The Bar is a professional organisation which brings together some 3000 lawyers practising in the judicial district of Luxembourg. The Council of the Bar is responsible for safeguarding the honour of the Order, maintaining the principles of dignity, probity and tactfulness which form the basis of the legal profession, and the Bar's customs which enshrine them. It ensures that legal representation is provided by their members alone, and that these members abide by the regulations of the profession. The Council of the Bar reports any offenders who infringe or breach these rules to the Disciplinary and Administrative Council. The Council of the Bar ensures that lawyers comply with their legal obligations with regard to combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The President of the Bar is the elected head of the Order. He chairs the Council of the Order and is responsible for representing the Order to the outside world.
"The President chairs the Council of the Order and is responsible for representing the Order to the outside world"
What are your objectives as President?
In addition to the missions conferred by the law, the President of the Bar is attentive to the needs of the Order: Difficulties may arise between colleagues, which then require arbitration, or individuals may have ethical issues with their lawyer. The President of the Bar supports its members in the practice of their profession and promotes the legal profession in the face of societal changes. Recently, as spokesperson for the profession, I spoke publicly on behalf of the Order to strive to obtain, along with the Council of the Order, assistance for lawyers faced with the COVID-19 crisis, and also to defend confidentiality and basic rights in the context of the proposed changes stemming from the CAD6 directive. Another aim of ours is to accompany our 3000 members in the digital transition of the profession, a major challenge for the Bar in the context of paperless justice. This digital transformation of justice has in fact accelerated during the Covid crisis. It will be important to ensure that these technical advances continue in the future.
What challenges and opportunities do you identify for Luxembourg in the next 5 years?
The President of the Bar is elected by the members of the Bar for a two-year term, which is preceded by the vice-president's term and followed by the outgoing President's term; it is therefore a cycle of six years in total. My term of office, which will come to an end next autumn, has been based on four main themes: one, defending the profession, human rights and professional secrecy against an obligation to denounce aggressive tax practices and the Tax Administration in the Panama Leaks case. Secondly, promoting mediation and arbitration in order to avoid needlessly filling up the courts; and working together with the Judiciary on the creation of an electronic register for the investigation of cases. Thirdly, ensuring that ethical rules are respected so that the profession remains honourable, courteous and humane. Finally, I was involved in organizing and holding the 63rd Congress of the International Union of Lawyers in November 2019 under the presidency of outgoing President François Prum. The Congress welcomed more than 1,000 foreign lawyers to debate the two themes: - Innovation and Law, and Business and Human Rights.