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What is a staff holder?

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 President of the Bar is the primus inter pares. He has priority over all other lawyers at the hearing. The lawyers arrange their work and agenda accordingly.

The term of President of the Bar lasts one year. In practice, a staff president 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 are many. 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.