64. As regards the nature of the interim measure, its object and purpose, the Court notes that the Bar Association was entrusted with law enforcement duties in this regard. The Court further accepts the Government’s argument that the measure aimed to protect public interests and the reputation of the legal profession and therefore the administration of justice itself. In this respect, regard being had to the key role of lawyers in this field, it is legitimate to expect lawyers to contribute to the proper administration of justice, and thus to maintain public confidence therein. However, for members of the public to have confidence in the administration of justice they must have confidence in the ability of the legal profession to provide effective representation (see Morice v. France [GC], no. 29369/10, §§ 132, 133, 23 April 2015; Nikula v. Finland, no. 31611/96, § 45, ECHR 2002 II; and Steur v. the Netherlands, no. 39657/98, § 36, ECHR 2003 XI). Therefore, the Court acknowledges that situations can arise in which it can be justified to take interim measures to protect public interests and the reputation of a legal profession. For instance, when a practising lawyer is accused in criminal proceedings a need for an interim measure can exist to ensure that this lawyer does not represent clients before courts or authorities or at least before the same courts or authorities which deal with the lawyer’s criminal case itself.
65. Nonetheless, the Court notes that a withdrawal of the right to represent before certain or all courts or authorities has a significant effect on the practicing lawyer’s reputation and business as his or her practice depends on long-standing ties to his or her clients.
66. Therefore, the interim measure to withdraw the right to represent before certain authorities and courts has to be considered to determine effectively the civil right at stake.
67. It follows that Article 6 § 1 is applicable to the present proceedings concerning the interim measure and the Government’s objection must therefore be dismissed in this regard. The Court finds also that the applicant’s complaint concerning the lack of an oral hearing in the proceedings concerning the interim measure is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further finds that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
Curtea Europeană a Drepturilor Omului
(Hotărârea din 5 aprilie 2016, Helmut Blum împotriva Austriei CE:ECHR:2016:0405JUD003306010)