When one is a lawyer at the Seine-Saint-Denis Bar, sometimes one is designated to be a criminal duty.
What does this mean concretely?
9 am: the day begins – the whole team (the coordinating lawyer and several other confreres) is present.
The coordinator is appointed for a certain period in order to manage and organize the permanences (he distributes the day’s files to the other lawyers of the team and manages any difficulties).
Thus, such Lawyer will deal with cases relating to minors, such other cases before the Examining Magistrate and, if necessary, the Judge of Freedoms and Detention etc.
In the same way, some confreres will be in charge of dealing with the immediate appearance files (that is to say those concerning the persons who appear before the Judge immediately after their custody ).
In Bobigny, it is the 17th Chamber which judges these files.
The duty counsel – I should say the lawyers, because given the volume of cases handled every day by the 17th Chamber, the coordinator will generally appoint at least 2 colleagues – will be entrusted from the morning (once the coordinator will have recovered) a certain number of files, whose quantity can vary from 4-5 to ten sometimes.
Between 10 and 11 am: it is up to the lawyer to read conscientiously each file (more or less thick depending on the offense or offenses selected, the number of defendants etc.), to take notes, to look for any nullities procedure (and if they exist to draw conclusions to that effect).
Between 12 and 13 hours: once the Lawyer has read all the files entrusted to him (and as you can see, he has very little time to do so), he will have to go to “filing” of the Tribunal – the location of the defendants who are awaiting trial in the 17th Chamber.
He will be able to see the defendants one after the other to discuss each file, inform them of the existence of possible nullities of procedure which he intends to raise before the Tribunal and organize their defense (very often, the family of the the accused is present at the hearing, which will allow the duty counsel to obtain a number of documents that may be useful to his defense).