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Iranian Bar Associations: Struggle for Independence

Article 90- “…Each branch of the Initial Disciplinary Court shall consist of one judge, with at least first [judicial] rank, selected by the Board of the Organization…
Note 1- The judge chairs the branch and two attorneys function as consultants of the Court. The Chairperson of the Disciplinary Court delivers its judgements after consulting with the attorney members….” 

Similarly, according to article 91 of the new Bill, the Disciplinary Prosecutor for Attorneys must be a judge appointed by the Head of the Judiciary; and attorneys can only function as his assistants and under his supervision.

Article 91- “The Disciplinary Prosecutor’s Office for Attorneys shall be established together with every Disciplinary Court. The Prosecutor chairs the Prosecutor’s Office and shall be appointed by the proposal of the Chief Judicial Director of the Province and approval of the Head of the Judiciary; and may have the required number of assistants. The Prosecutor’s Assistants shall be selected from attorneys and must function in prosecution affairs under the supervision of the Prosecutor.”

The similar scenario has been planned for the Disciplinary Court of Appeal for Attorneys and a judge selected by the Head of the Judiciary chairs the Court. Quite strangely, the two judges of the Court of Appeal may deliver the verdict together without any need of majority (favourable opinions of three members).

Article 93- “The Disciplinary Court of Appeal for Attorneys shall consist of a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson [both] from judges selected by the Head of the Judiciary, and three attorneys as members [of the Court] selected by the High Council of Attorneyship. The decisions of the Disciplinary Court of Appeal of Attorneys shall become official with the favourable opinion of three members including of judges or favourable opinion of two judges.”

The Supervision Commission also prepares the required regulations of the law and the Head of the Judiciary shall approve them. This is while, currently, according to article 22 of the Law of Independence of the Bar Associations, the Bar Associations are responsible for preparation and proposal of their needed regulations although the Head of the Judiciary is the responsible authority to approve it.

Article 121- “Regulations referred to in this Law, shall be prepared by the Supervision Commission and approved by the Head of the Judiciary within six months of the date this law comes into force.”

The Supervision Committee, in addition, will take over the assets and properties of the Bar Associations. In fact by virtue of article 122 of the new Bill the Bar Association would be dissolved within a year after this Law comes to force and loses its ownership on its properties and assets in favour of the Supervision Commission.

Article 122- “Within two years after this law comes to force, the Bar Associations and the Centre for Legal Advisors, Lawyers and Experts of the Judiciary shall transfer the records of lawyers that received their licenses or engaged in the training course to the relevant Provincial Organizations. The Supervision Commission, considering the legal and Shari’a rules, shall make required decisions about the assets and properties and cashes of the Bar Association and the lawyers of the Centre [for Legal Advisors].”

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