INSTITUTION OF ADVOCATE'S OATH OF OFFICE IN THE POLISH LEGAL ORDER
Advocate's oath of office is a solemn declaration taken publicly in a prescribed form, by which a new attorney obliges himself both to accomplish properly his professional duties and to respect primary principles of advocate's deontology. The taking of the oath of office is a conditio sine qua non to the admission to commence legal practice. Normative sense of the given institution coexists with its symbolic dimension as a source of attorney's ethics and identity. The article presents institution of advocate's oath of office in the Polish legal order, from 16th century to nowadays. The first mention of the advocate's swearing-in in Poland dates back to the year 1543. Over the span of nearly five centuries the analyzed institution has undergone significant changes. In the interwar period the advocate's oath of office gained the secular dimension. Up to this time the oath nominally had been taken to God, which was verbalised in the following phrase: 'I swear to Almighty God, One in the Holy Trinity'. In the First Polish Republic attorneys took the oath before land courts. Since the Second Polish Republic advocate's oath is taken in the presence of the Dean of District Bar Council. In the times of the Noble Republic of Poland the text of advocate's oath of office was more and more extensive and casuistic. Nowadays it articulates only rudimentary principles of lawyer's deontology. Subsequent versions of the oath's text starting from the 1932 Law on the Advocates' Profession did not differ radically, embracing similar rules governing advocate's professional practice. After Second World War the text of advocate's oath, in contrary to oaths of office of polish judges and prosecutors, avoided political ideologization. Currently new member admitting to the Bar swears to use all his strength to protect citizens' rights and freedoms, to strengthen the legal order of the Republic of Poland, to perform his duties eagerly, conscientiously and in accordance with the provisions of law, to protect professional secrets and to conduct himself with dignity, honesty, propriety and according to the principles of social justice. The course of taking the advocate's oath of office is a result of customary practice of the Bar. Advocates recite the oath's words collectively. One can put into consideration change of this swearing-in manner, so that new advocates may declaim the oath's words one at a time. The proposed solution would increase the solemnity of the swearing-in ceremony. The paper ends with some de lege ferenda remarks. There is a need to provide in a statute the possibility of completing advocate's swearing-in with the words 'So help me God'. One should also place a referral to the advocate's oath of office in the Advocates' Code of Ethics. The author of the article in care of legal certainty and security postulates also to determine unequivocally on a statute level a few further issues, such as consequences of the oath's infringement or sanctions for refusing to take the oath (removal from the list of advocates).
Zaklad Teorii Prawa i Doktryn Polityczno-Prawnych Wydzial Prawa i Administracji, Uniwersytet Rzeszowski ul. Grunwaldzka 13 35-068 Rzeszow
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