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The French bar from Revolution to Empire

Leuwers Hervé

In 1790, the National Assembly did away with the barristers. From that time on, any citizen (even if he was not a legal practitioner) could defend someone in court. Defence ceased to be a professional monopoly. There were no longer any barristers, there were now "unofficial defenders"... Ten years later, Bonaparte wanted an in-depth reorganization of the legal system; he decided that judges would be appointed and no longer elected, as they had been under the Revolution; in 1804, he restores the barristers, and the bar associations (ordres d’avocats) in 1810. At the time of the Empire, these decisions was fairly well-received. In 1810, many barristers were under the impression that they were witnessing the rebirth of the associations that had disappeared with the Revolution. This interpretation of the 1810 decree is nonetheless misleading. Napoleon's decree did not "restore" the Bar Associations of the Old Regime, it reinvented them, it created them again. The imperial bar is, in a way, the son of the Revolution, like Napoleon.

Keywords: history, France, the bar, French Revolution, Napoleonic Empire
Link: Leuwers H. The French bar from Revolution to Empire // Annual of French Studies 2020: Wars and Revolutions in Modern Times.М. P. 36-51.