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DIJON: Solemn return of lawyers

The festive ceremony of the Dijon bar was held in the salons of the Gaston Gérard stadium this Friday, December 3. “Justice only needs one thing: means commensurate with the mission with which it is invested within our democracy”, claimed the chairman Stéphane Creusvaux in front of 300 people.

To deal with the gloom of the health crisis, the solemn return of lawyers from the Dijon bar was tinged with lightness without forgetting to spice it up with a touch of politics.

The evening took place this Friday, December 3, 2021 in the halls of the Gaston Gérard stadium by mobilizing the technical means of the Dijon Football Côte-d’Or event team. President Stéphane Creusvaux presided over the ceremony attended by 300 people, mainly lawyers.

Also present were François-Xavier Dugourd (LR), vice-president of the departmental council of Côte-d’Or, Nathalie Koenders (PS), vice-president of the metropolitan council of Dijon, Nadjoua Belhadef (PS), deputy mayor of Dijon, Olivier Caracotch, public prosecutor of Dijon, and his predecessor, Éric Mathais, now public prosecutor of Bobigny, as well as Bruno Laplane, president of the court of Dijon, without forgetting representatives of the police and the gendarmerie .

“A bit of madness after two years of frustration”

At the end of his mandate, Stéphane Creusvaux summarizes “a sports baton”. Hence an arrival punctuated by music and bengal fires, from the stadium lawn, to the applause and encouragement of the participants. “It’s hard to resist a little madness after two years of frustration.”

With humour, by parodying a television programme, Alexis Faivre, first secretary of the 2020 conference of the bar association, and Élise Rolet, first secretary of the 2021 conference, take the public “through the corridors of the judicial city” by ignoring political correctness.

The magistrates of the correctional court, the administrative court, the assize court and the judge for family affairs take it for their rank while a lawyer, a certain “Émeric Durand-Mojito” having been “exfiltrated from the government”, makes the object of special attention.

“The audience embodies the meeting between litigants and their judges”

Lines of humor that reveal the place of the hearing in the justice process: “the hearing for what it embodies, the meeting between litigants and their judges, (…) space during which history writing becomes living history, (…) justice can only remain a democratic pillar if it is embodied by men and women who preserve its humanity”.

The two speakers warn of the drift towards “soulless algorithmic arbitration” and “office justice, invisible to those who are its subjects and in whose name it is nevertheless rendered”. “If there are no more meetings, it’s a safe bet that the decisions will no longer be respected, the judgments will have no more value than a simple administrative decision”, they anticipate.

“A Dijon bar united in adversity”

When Stéphane Creusvaux takes the floor again to unfold the highlights of his mandate, the laughter continues as he recounts in his own way the practical consequences of the yellow vests movement, the nine-week lawyers’ strike in the face of the pension reform at the start of the year 2020 or even the emergence of the health crisis in March 2020.

“Hold on, stay the course in the storm, learn to adapt, distance order advice: Teams, Skype, BlueJeans. Continue whatever the cost but at all costs: be there for everyone, together, leave no one by the side of the road”, recalls Stéphane Creusvaux

“I breathe, I blow. Find solutions to relieve colleagues, financially, but not only. Solidarity, brotherhood, that’s the ordinality, that’s what makes the strength of our profession: the unity of individuality. A bar of Dijon united in adversity”, claims the outgoing president in front of the elected president, Jean-Philippe Schmitt, who will take over in January 2022.

The chairman also pays tribute to Maître Arnaud Jeaugey, who accidentally passed away during the summer of 2021: “it was a great sadness for our bar; he was a rigorous, discreet lawyer, of a very great brotherhood”.

“The Keeper of the Seals had to back down”

Another highlight: the appointment of a former lawyer at the Chancellery with Éric Dupond-Moretti who becomes Emmanuel Macron’s Minister of Justice. “The excitement of the beginnings gave way to doubt and annoyance,” says Stéphane Creusvaux.

After the attempt to create a status of lawyer in business, the provisions on the professional secrecy of lawyers included in the bill on confidence in the judicial institution carried by Éric Dupond-Moretti make cringe at the bar of Dijon and provoke a demonstration (read our article).

Despite the letter addressed to the lawyers and a direct exchange with the minister (read our article), Stéphane Creusvaux hits the nail on the head on this issue: “advisory activity and defense activity cannot be treated differently”. And to judge that “the Keeper of the Seals had to back down, at least in part, by retaining the amendment proposal of the Conference of Presidents of the Bar and, above all, by including the President of the Bar therein”.

“Means” to improve confidence in justice

“Justice only needs one thing: means commensurate with the mission with which it is invested within our democracy, just like health and education. It is neither the filmed trials nor the Estates General of Justice that will make it possible to establish the confidence of our fellow citizens in the judicial institution. (…) Only sufficient financial and human resources and in the long term will be able to establish confidence in the judicial institution”, claims the President of the Bar.

Returning to the footballing metaphor, Stéphane Creusvaux concludes his speech by thanking the council of the order – “a captain is nothing without a good team” – and wishes “great matches” to the president elected for “two more serene seasons”.

Jean-Christophe Tardivon



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