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Iranian Bar Associations: Struggle for Independence

“In order to examine and pronounce on the decisions made by the High Council of Attorneyship and Provincial Organizations of Attorneys, from the viewpoint of adherence to Shari’a, law, public interests, people’s acquired rights, as well as examining the competence of those applying for an Attorney’s License and membership in the Board of High Council of Attorneyship, there shall be a committee established called the Supervision Commission which will be composed of seven judges, lawyers and attorneys appointed by the Head of the Judiciary for a period of four years.”

Even the Chairperson of the Supervision Commission shall be appointed directly by the Head of the Judiciary. Article 26 provides:

“The Chairperson of the [Supervision] Committee who is responsible for chairing the meetings, planning the agenda and communicating the decisions of the Committee shall be selected by the Head of the Judiciary.”

Such Commission will be empowered to grant and revoke the licenses of all attorneys. In fact, as referred to in, inter alia, articles 29 and 30, it has ultimate authority over a wide range of attorneys’ disciplinary and professional affairs such as the competence of the attorneys and the elections of the Boards of Directors.

Article 29- “The Supervision Commission shall supervise the propriety of the election and pronounce its opinion within 20 days. If it detects an infraction with the influence on the final result [of the election], the Committee shall nullify the election as a whole, or in part with respect to specific ballot-boxes or candidates, and order the re-organization of the election within 20 days.
Article 30- "If the Supervision Commission detects lack or loss of competence in any one of the attorneys or the members of the Board, for reasons other than disciplinary infractions, it will nullify his/her [Attorney’s] License. The Supervision Commission, when sufficient reasons exist, can suspend said person from practicing law until the file is completed and a final decision is made within a period not exceeding six months.

The Supervision Commission will also control the admission, education and final examination of trainee attorneys. According to article 36, “The names of those accepted in the entrance exam shall be sent to the Supervision Commission. The Secretariat of the Supervision Commission shall inquire about the requirements from the relevant bodies … After the responses are received, the Supervision Commission examines the applicant’s file. If the applicant’s competence is accepted by the Commission the file shall be sent to [relevant] Provincial Organizations to issue the Trainee Attorney’s License...”. In accordance with the late article 36, “…[t]he Trainee Attorneys’ License shall be signed by the Chairperson of the Provincial Organization and the Chief Director of the Justice Administration of the Province.”

Nonetheless, if, the Supervision Commission does not confirm the applicant’s competence and this decision is protested, the Commission itself is the body to consider the protest and its decision shall be deemed final. According to article 36, “… in the case of incompetence, the applicant can protest within ten days to the Commission. The decision of the Commission in this respect is final.”

Accordingly, article 38 of the Bill provides: “After the completion of the training course, examination of the trainees and confirmation of their theoretical and practical competence shall be made by Examining Commissions (hey’at-haye-ekhtebar).

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