Thu, Aug. 05, 2004

Retired Judge May Counsel

CK - Washington.   The Federal Supreme Court decided in an order, case number 1 BvR 737/00, on July 29, 2004 that a retired judge without admission to the bar or other permission to counsel in legal matters, such as under the Rechtsberatungsgesetz, the statute governing permission to work professionally as a legal advisor (RBG), is not criminally liable even in a persistent activity involving the representation and counsel of others free of charge.

The court noted that the statutory limitation of representation only by members of the bar or others authorized to advise in certain legal matters is constitutional. It also held that the court had not yet ruled on the commercial aspect of the prohibition. The statute renders criminal the provision of such services in a commercial manner. The instant case gave the court ammunition to declare that the commerciality requirement necessitates a case-by-case factual analysis. In this case, none of the pertinent constitutional values appeared to have been violated, and the constitutionally protected right to pursue professional activities trumps the statutory restriction of the RGB.


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