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Legal closure of a website the National Council of Bars obtains the closure of a website offering legal advice in contravention of legal provisions.
The hunt for the “pirates” of the Act has begun well. The National Bar Council ( CNB ), which announced last June its intention to prohibit the operation of websites offering missions legally devolved to lawyers, made its first victim: the legal concierge site. Particularly reasoned and exemplary, the judgment of the court of Nanterre insisted on the following points:
a commercial company is not authorized to offer legal advice to individuals or companies. This is to be distinguished from legal information and the provision of model documents to be completed;
· legal advice is reserved by French law for lawyers, in order to guarantee professional secrecy and the assurance of the client. The client must be put in contact with a lawyer if he encounters a particular problem and wishes to be advised;
no distinction is made between the simplicity and the complexity of the case, the question or the problem encountered. Any provision of legal advice falls within the sole competence of the lawyer or the beneficiary of an approval.
The company La Conciergerie Juridique:-
The company “La Conciergerie Juridique” had been summoned by the CNB before the court of Nanterre on the grounds that this “commercial company carried out, under cover of legal information missions and support in administrative procedures, a remunerated and usual activity of legal advice and drafting”. acts under private signature for others reserved by the law of December 31, 1971 (…) only to legal professionals” (articles 54 and following of the law of 1971).
The Court followed the CNB in its arguments and ruled that the company in question “operated well – and without the guarantees of regulated professions or beneficiaries of an approval, subject in the interest of users to requirements in particular of secrecy professional and insurance – a reserved legal advice activity, thus contravening the legal requirements”.
In this case, the judge insisted on the “personalization of the services offered to potential customers”, recalling that there is a difference between an information service, of the informative or documentary type, within the meaning of article 66-1 of the law of 1971 – which consists, for example, in providing the customer with a standard model contract to be completed by him – and a personalized legal advice service accompanying the provision or not of a standard model.
The website was criticized, on the one hand, for assisting customers “in their problems” and finding solutions for them, whether in “real estate law, labor law, obligations, contract and consumer law, company law and family law. , and on the other hand, to carry out unlawful legal canvassing campaigns (self-promotion) via its website within the meaning of article 66-4 of the law of 1971. The CNB hopes that
this condemnation – which follows a decision of the Court of Cassation, rendered in a case questioning the actions of a consulting firm in cost optimization in social matters – will serve as an example for other “pirates of the law”. Otherwise, they will have to close up shop.