What is a bar association?
Every lawyer is a mandatory member of a Bar Association. The eight Dutch-speaking Bars together form the Order of Flemish Bars.
8 Dutch-speaking bar associations
There are currently eight Dutch-speaking bar associations in Belgium:
- judicial district West Flanders: desk West Flanders
- Judicial district of East Flanders: Dendermonde, Ghent and Oudenaarde Bars
- judicial district of Antwerp: bar association Antwerp
- Judicial district of Limburg: Bar of Limburg
- Judicial district of Brussels: Bar of Brussels
- Judicial district of Leuven: Leuven Bar
The lawyers at the Court of Cassation form a separate Bar Association and are not part of the Order of Flemish Bars.
The Order of Lawyers consists of the lawyers listed on the table of the Order, on the list of trainee lawyers or on the list of lawyers practising under the professional title of another Member State of the European Union (EU list).
Discover the 8 bar associations here
Council of the Order
Each Bar Association has a Bar Council, the governing body of the Bar. The Bar Council is chaired by the President of the Bar and consists of a number of members (depending on the size of the Bar). Those members are elected by the Bar's lawyers for one year.
The duties and powers of the Bar Council are many. The council is 'master of the tableau': it decides on entry on the tableau, the list of trainees and the EU list. The Bar Council can draw up regulations, except for those matters that fall within our competence. There the council can only make additional regulations. The Bar Council is also responsible for organising second-line legal assistance or pro bono.
For fee disputes, certain tasks are assigned to members of the Bar Council (mediation, arbitration, advice for the benefit of the court).
The President of the Bar is the head of the Bar Association and the hub of the Bar, both administratively, regulatory, disciplinary and representative. He tries as much as possible, if possible daily, to be present in the courthouse at the disposal of the lawyers.
The term of office of President of the Bar is one year. In practice, a President of the Bar serves for two years and is traditionally re-elected after his first year. Given the many responsibilities assumed by the President of the Bar, some bar associations also elect a Deputy President of the Bar.
The duties and powers of the President of the Bar. He has the leadership and representation of the Bar Association: composition of the agenda of the Bar Council, representation at the level of the Order of Flemish Bars and representation of his Bar Association at home and abroad. He also has an advisory role in relation to judicial organisation (advice on court regulations).
The President of the Bar has an arbitration and advisory function: where he can, he tries to conciliate, where necessary he takes decisions and settles disputes between lawyers, if necessary at the hearing itself. Every lawyer is subject to the staff-holding authority.
For disciplinary purposes, the President of the Bar also fulfils important powers. Although the 2006 Disciplinary Act took disciplinary powers away from the Bar Councils and entrusted them to a Disciplinary Board created in each resort of the Court of Appeal, the powers of the Chief of Staff have been further extended. He has a right of initiative and can transfer a disciplinary case to the chairman of the disciplinary board. He can take protective measures and impose a palace ban.
The President of the Bar is responsible for the administrative functioning of the Bar. He is assisted in this by the treasurer, the secretary, and the staff of his Bar.