Freedom of Expression of Lawyers
The Court in its Grand Chamber judgement on 23 April in the case of Morice v. France held that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the conviction of a lawyer, on account of remarks reported in the press, for complicity in defamation of the investigating judges who had been removed from the judicial investigation into the death of Judge Bernard Borrel. The Grand Chamber noted that Mr Morice had expressed a value judgement with a sufficient factual basis, and that his comments were part of a debate on a matter of public interest as they referred to the functioning of the justice system.
The CCBE, who intervened in the case as a third party, welcomes the judgement and notes that the freedom of expression of lawyers ensures they can contribute to the proper administration of justice and bolster the confidence of the public in the justice