Code of ethics
Code of ethics
CODE OF ETHICS OF THE COMPANY LAWYER
The company lawyer is subject to the observance of a professional code of ethics, which defines his/her role, responsibilities and the manner in which he or she exercises his/her profession. The company lawyer's Code of Ethics company lawyeris based on 5 pillars:
- The company lawyercompany lawyer acts in the public interest.
The Statute of the Company lawyercompany lawyer was created to allow companies, in the general interest, to obtain the best possible internal advice. Case law explicitly confirms this perspective.
- The company lawyercompany lawyer explicitly undertakes to comply with the law.
Therefore, he or she will never advise against the law.
- The company lawyercompany lawyer is intellectually independent.
Even though the company lawyer, as an employee, works in a relationship of subordination, he or she remains intellectually independent in his/her work and in the legal advice he/she gives.
- The company lawyercompany lawyer practises a regulated profession and uses the protected title correctly
The title of “juriste d'entreprise” (French) or "bedrijfsjurist" (Dutch) is exclusively reserved to the members of the Institute of Company lawyers. Unauthorised use of the title is punishable by criminal law.
- The advice given by a company lawyer to his or her employer is confidential.
This confidentiality is the necessary condition for the correct execution of the duty of company lawyer. The company lawyer can only properly fulfil his or her task as an independent advisor of the company if he or she can communicate his/her advice in confidence. The Brussels Court of Appeal confirmed this confidentiality in its judgment of 5 March 2013 (and this ruling is final following the judgment of the Court of Cassation of 22 January 2015). Click here for more information on company lawyer confidentiality.
Following his/her registration, each company lawyer is obliged to follow a course on the Code of Ethics organised by the IBJ-IJE.
Violations of the company lawyer's Code of Ethics may lead to disciplinary penalties. This procedure is detailed in the IBJ-IJE's deontology rules, which have been established by Royal Decree.
Disciplinary power is exercised in the first instance by the Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee’s decisions can be appealed to the Appeals Committee.