The Court of Cassation states that "the principle of equality does not preclude the existence of decorations awarded in recognition or distinguished merits in the service of the Nation, it was able to retain that, when a lawyer deals with her professional robe the insignia of the distinctions she has received, no breach of equality between lawyers is constituted, nor any violation of the essential principles of the profession.
The decision is signed by President Batut.
Following deliberation of December 5th, 2016, the council of the Bar Association of Toulouse (Conseil de l'ordre des avocats de Toulouse) adopted an amendment to Article 2 of its rules of procedure entitled "attitude to hearings", prohibiting the wearing decorations on the robe of the lawyers.
The Bar Association of the Toulouse complained to the Court of Appeal of Toulouse to have cancelled the mention of Article 2 of the rules of procedure of the Toulouse Bar, provided for by the deliberation of the Council of December 5TH 2016, prohibiting the wearing of decorations on the courtroom of the lawyer.
In the decision of October 24th 2018, the Court of Cassation validates the wearing of decoration on the robe of the lawyers.
She states that: "The Court of Appeal relied on Articles R. 66 and R. 69 of the code of the Legion of Honor and the Military Medal, referred to in Article 27 of Decree No. 63-1196 of December 31st 1963 creating a national order of merit, texts which it rightly deduced the right for the decorated to wear the insignia that confers the attribution of a French decoration ";
"That after having stated, with good reason, that the principle of equality does not preclude the existence of decorations awarded in recognition of eminent or distinguished merits in the service of the Nation, it was able to remember that, when a lawyer wears on his professional robe the insignia of the distinctions he has received, no breach of equality between lawyers is constituted, nor any violation of the essential principles of the profession "; finally,
"The complaint alleging a breach of equality between the litigants was not invoked before the Court of Appeal".
This decision seems logical in the light of the texts in force.
Cass. Civ. 1st ch. October 24TH 2018, n° 17-26166
Frédéric CHHUM, Avocats à la Cour (Paris et Nantes)
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