Perpignan: a new residence and an unprecedented pair of presidents for the lawyers of the Pyrénées-Orientales

The situation is totally unprecedented in the department. Since January 1, 2022, as in Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse …, a pair has just succeeded the president Raymond Escalé at the head of the Pyrénées-Orientales bar association. For 2 years, there will therefore be two, Me Jacques Malavialle, president, and Me Hélène Castello-Picard, vice-president, to preside over the destinies of some 330 black dresses which also have a brand new address in Perpignan.

There are still a few boxes to undo and a few paintings to hang. But the brand new “House of Lawyers” of the Pyrénées-Orientales already displays a character full of eloquence at n° 13 rue de l’Ange in Perpignan. A large and beautiful building to house since January 31 the second most important bar within the jurisdiction of the Montpellier Court of Appeal. Voluntarily anchored in the heart of the city, close to the various jurisdictions and a stone’s throw from the historic Arago courthouse but also from the future judicial city which should grow on the adjoining slab by 2028. The Minister of Justice Eric Dupond -Moretti confirmed this during his visit to the department three weeks ago.

The new council chamber of the bar association.
Nicolas Parent – Nicolas Parent

But this is not the only innovative touch for Catalan lawyers who, for the first time, have elected an equal pair, made up of a president, Me Jacques Malavialle, and a vice-president, Me Hélène Castello-Picard, in order to ensure the defense, representation and regulation of their profession. “This formula aims to bring different visions, to be complementary but also more complete. Then, it allows clarity in the distribution of missions, a sharing of the workload but above all of the human adventure”, they explain, hoping to open the way to register this model of duet in time. And all the more enthusiastic that they work together with “a real team” former and current board members.

The chairman will therefore oversee the civil division, relations with the ad hoc jurisdictions but also with the University and with the 11 other counterpart organizations that are members of the Catalan Bar Association, including Barcelona. His collaborator will devote himself to the criminal aspect: the link with the magistrates and the prosecution, the criminal permanence for police custody, indictments… “the window of the bar, like the emergency doctors who always find themselves on the front line”, but also to the permanence, initiated last year, to systematically assist minor victims or perpetrators and the toll-free number (0801 904 104) for victim assistance, “great forgotten of the trials”.

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Both will strive to maintain the good functioning drawn, despite everything, from the Covid crisis such as the mandate, established by their predecessor or the hearing schedules. And they will tackle a common project to bring black dresses even closer to civil society.

“Better inform, defend and protect citizens, outside of trial”

Free interviews are already provided in the various places of access to the law in Perpignan, Prades, Rivesaltes and Céret. It is about going beyond. An economic commission was created in order to propose partnerships, as it is already recorded with the Chamber of trades or the community of communes of Argelès-Elne, with the trade unions, the Chamber of commerce, the order of chartered accountants, the Chamber of Agriculture… in order to offer training. “Our expertise can be used and above all we must play a key advisory role”, they specify. “The future of justice is pre-justice. The State no longer has the means to continue like this and the role of judges will be limited to certain disputes. It is up to us to resolve the problems upstream, to strengthen mediation and deal with disputes that would not touch the bar of a court. It is a question of better informing citizens, protecting them and defending them also outside the trial”.

The building has been completely renovated, keeping its soul, to accommodate the house of lawyers.

The building has been completely renovated, keeping its soul, to accommodate the house of lawyers.
Nicolas Parent – Nicolas Parent

Modern premises of 880 m2 on four levels

A few dozen meters from its former address on Place Arago, the new “Maison des avocats des P.-O.”, rue de l’Ange, covers 880 m2 spread over four levels climbing along an interior patio overlooked by an Eiffel-style canopy. A completely renovated residence which once housed the Victoria Hotel and which, it is said, served as the headquarters of the militia under the Occupation before hosting prostitutes. More recently, the building housed the services of the Territorial Public Service Management Center and has therefore just been bought by the professional body of lawyers.

From now on, six employees of the order, in charge of managing the activities of the bar and of the CARPA (the fund for the payment of funds for all judicial or legal acts), occupy these modernized premises. Reception lounge, meeting, training, mediation or expertise rooms, space dedicated to the union of young colleagues… are available to all the lawyers in the department and their clients. A place of work but also of life where there is even a piano for any potential music lover. “We respected the soul of the building and he can only give it back to us”, summarizes the president Malavialle.

Knowing that the bar has kept its library and its adjoining office within the court to ensure the confidential interviews necessary during the hearings.

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