It is an unprecedented decision that was voted on Tuesday, July 20, the Council of the order of lawyers of Paris. As part of the trial of the attacks of November 13, which opens on September 8, the remuneration received by the lawyers of the civil parties will be partly donated to their colleagues in the defense, in order to ensure a form of financial compensation. Indeed, the system of payment of lawyers is – in the context of this trial – heavily unbalanced.
>> Trial of the November 13 attacks: the Belgian lawyers who will defend the accused will hardly be paid
For several weeks, the lawyers of the fourteen defendants pointed out their difficulties of remuneration within the framework of this lawsuit. Indeed, all counsel are, during terrorism trials, paid for through legal aid. This sum is fixed and paid by the State, according to the number of clients defended and not the work to be done or the duration of the trial: 272 euros per day.
However, in the case of the trial of the attacks of November 13, given the number of victims at the Bataclan or on the terraces for example, the lawyers for the civil parties often have several dozen clients. Even if there is a degressive system, some will accumulate legal aid until they receive several hundred thousand euros, the trial stretching over nine months.
On the defense side, it’s the opposite: there is only one legal aid per defendant while there are often two to carry each file. They will therefore have to share the sum. It’s about “young lawyers who dedicate a year of their life to an extremely difficult defence”explains master Jean-Marc Delas, who represents around thirty victims and the association Life for Paris.
“We will be mobilized almost every day for nine months. During this time, we cannot recover other files and assist other customers”Negar Haeri, lawyer for one of the fourteen defendants
Asked, the Chancellery has so far refused to loosen the purse strings, despite the exceptional nature of the trial. It was therefore the Council of the Order of Lawyers of Paris which found the solution, voted almost unanimously in a deliberation: lawyers who represent more than two victims of the attacks of November 13 will be punctured by 10% of their legal aid.
These sums will be donated to the defense lawyers so that they limit the financial damage in their respective offices. “The remuneration had to allow us to survive because it is not about enrichment”emphasizes Negar Haeri, lawyer for one of the fourteen defendants. “This is not a trial that will make money for those who are defending, on the contrary, abounds Maître Delas.
>> Trial of the November 13 attacks: “We hope to show the general public what it means to be a victim of terrorism”
This form of pooling is a real relief for defense lawyers. “We wondered to what extent we were going to be able to assist our clients. It was the very organization of the trial that was at stake. It is a sprawling case with very high stakes and it is in our interest to understand what happened past. Our clients must therefore be able to appear in the best possible conditions.”breathes Negar Haeri.
If some civil party lawyers express their dissatisfaction, evoking a question of principle, many validate this solution. “It’s in everyone’s interest. In a good trial, the defense lawyers are treated appropriately. It is not abnormal that there is some form of contribution to the quality of the trial”, reacts Jean-Marc Delas. In addition to this distribution solution found in the name of solidarity and fairness, the defense lawyers do not despair that the Chancellery will end up – too – making a gesture in their favour.