This is a mess for the council of the Paris Bar Association, in the midst of the election of the new president. On Thursday, November 18, the capital’s Court of Appeal disavowed the Paris bar, which had imposed disciplinary sanctions on one of its members, through two judgments. The case hit the headlines three years ago. In October 2018, Sophie Vermeille who claimed to work for hedge funds that bet on the fall of financial instruments linked to Casino and its parent company Rallye, denounced the financial fragility of the empire of Jean-Charles Naouri.
The reply was not long in coming. The lawyer had been the subject of two criminal complaints from the giant of the mass distribution, in particular for defamation and dissemination of misleading information. The Autorité des marchés financiers had launched an investigation. And Casino’s lawyers, the powerful Jean Veil and Matthieu Brochier, the son of one of the founders of the prestigious Darrois firm, had filed an ethics complaint against their colleague with the council of the order.
“No disciplinary breach by Mme Vermeille is not characterized “, estimated the judges
Among all these arrows, only one had hit its target: that of the President of the Bar. No less than three disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against Mr.me Vermeille, including one as a precaution aimed at his immediate suspension from the bar. On December 10, 2019, for having failed in her duty of loyalty, delicacy or even brotherhood, the lawyer was finally suspended for six months, suspended, at the end of a procedure of which she had denounced “Partiality”.
The court of appeal agreed with him. “No disciplinary breach by Mme Vermeille is not characterized “, judged the judges, pointing out a report of the authority of prosecution drafted “Without exercising the prudence and measure required by an objective and impartial investigation”. The law lesson continues in a second judgment. Mme Vermeille was then suspended for a month in July 2020 for a disputed email, this sanction was canceled by the judges because the basis had not been respected: the lawyer had been sanctioned for a breach that was not indicated in the act of prosecution.
“The council of the bar association is able to sit down on all the principles of the right to a fair trial when asked with insistence”, lamented Mme Vermeille in an email sent to the largest firms in the Place. In October, the Paris Court of Appeal had already denounced, concerning disputes within the Racine cabinet, the partiality of the Paris bar.