What is a lawyer?
A lawyer is there to advise and assist you. Throughout the various stages of your life, you may come into contact with the law. A lawyer will then guide you through the legal maze. Even if you are an entrepreneur, the advice and assistance of a lawyer is no luxury.
Professional rules of the lawyer
A lawyer must respect a number of professional rules that make him the appropriate adviser, mediator, negotiator and defender.
- Deontology: A lawyer is subject to strict deontological rules. These are collected in the Code of Ethics for Lawyers. At each bar, a staff member ensures that lawyers respect the dignity, probity and discretion of their profession.
- Professional secrecy: Professional secrecy is one of the basic values of the legal profession. The information that a client entrusts to a lawyer must not be disclosed unless it is precisely necessary to defend that client's interests.
- Independence and partiality: A lawyer works independently of the government, the judge or the client. He may not defend parties with opposing interests in the same case. He has no personal interest and is loyal to his client.
- Third-party account: Every lawyer must use a separate account to carry out financial transactions for clients or third parties. He may not use his personal account for this purpose.
- Continuing education: Every lawyer must undergo continuing education. He may take courses, teach or publish. Advocaat.be monitors the quality of these courses and each bar association checks whether lawyers comply with their obligation.
Lawyer and GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or GDPR for short (AVG) aims to better protect the personal data of natural persons within the EU. Lawyers are, on the one hand, covered by those rules themselves, but on the other hand, they also take care of your interests as a litigant or company when dealing with privacy issues.
What is GDPR?
A single regulation on the protection of personal data applies within the entire EU. That European regulation applies to anyone who uses or collects data or information about individuals. Personal data is data such as name, address, e-mail, but IP addresses, tags and cookies also fall under that definition.
Your rights as a natural person
You already had the right to information and access to data, as well as the right to object and correct. From now on, you also have the right to be forgotten and to ask for all data to be deleted from a database. Also new is the right to transfer data and the right to oppose 'profiling'. This means that, based on your data and with the help of automation, a certain profile is assigned to which an offer is then tailored.
Your obligations as a company
For companies, GDPR means that they must take the necessary measures to process their customers' data correctly and safeguard their rights. A lawyer must also ensure this towards his clients. So he must treat your personal data with due care and transparency and clearly communicate what he uses it for.
What can a lawyer do for you?
A lawyer advises, mediates, negotiates or defends your interests as a person or company, even if a problem arises that is linked to the protection of personal data. In doing so, he is bound by professional secrecy. What you as a client entrust to your lawyer remains confidential.
For example, a lawyer may advise a company on preventive measures under the new regulation. But if things do go wrong, he will also defend your interests. Both if you are a litigant whose rights have been violated and if you, as a company, are taken to task for a breach of these rules.
Charter of the lawyer
On 25 November 1993, all then staff holders of the Orders of Advocates signed a charter of the lawyer: the essential characteristics of the legal profession in 10 points:
- Everyone has the right to the assistance of a lawyer.
- The lawyer exercises a liberal profession: his independence and integrity guarantee effective intervention.
- The lawyer advises, negotiates and defends with the diligence required by the honour of his profession.
- The lawyer watches over respect for rights and freedoms.
- The lawyer is his client's confidant and bound by professional secrecy.
- Defending the client's interests, which he represents with respect for the law and deontology, is the lawyer's primary concern.
- The lawyer keeps his client closely informed of the evolution of the assignment entrusted to him.
- The lawyer takes care to constantly perfect his knowledge in order to master the complexity and evolution of the law.
- The lawyer follows social developments. He must be aware of the internationalisation of law and directs his practice accordingly.
- The proper performance of the lawyer's profession is guaranteed by his/her Bar Association and the rules it issues.