Disciplinary proceedings have been started against French barrister, Alexis Dubruel, based in Lyon, who had demanded that a judge be disqualified from hearing a case, where Dubruel acted for one of the parties, because of the judge’s Jewish last name.
The case in question was not high profile, being an access dispute which involved a girl’s grandmother seeking visitation rights to see her grand-daughter. The lawyer’s unusual request stemmed from the girl’s father’s name being Moïse (Moses) whilst the judge’s surname is Lévy, reports The Algemeiner. This, Dubruel contended, created a conflict.
On November 27, French newspaper Libération reproduced a facsimile of the odd request from the barrister part of which (translated) read:
"The presiding judge whose disqualification is sought has the surname "Levy". The "Papa" of the person in this case Miss X (...) had been prosecuted for the offence of taking away a minor under 18, is named Moses (Moïse). The first page of reference for the word "Lévy" on Wikipedia says that the word is, “according to tradition, the founder of the Jewish religion, Judaism, which is sometimes called, for this reason, Mosaic, that is to say, the religion of Moses. The materiality of these findings is incontestable."
According to RFI, the Lyon appeal court dismissed Dubruel’s request and fined him the maximum possible penalty of €750 last Tuesday afternoon.
The local lawyers’ organisation, the Lyon Bar also announced last week that it was referring Dubruel’s conduct to a Disciplinary Board on the grounds that Dubruel had alleged the judge lacked impartiality due to his name being Jewish in a case where the father of the defendant is called Moses. Speaking to Libération, barrister Meysonnier Philippe de Lyon said, “The case will be taken to the Disciplinary Board in the week. We are completely outraged by such remark.”
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira pledged her ‘total support’ of Judge Albert Levy. There is also the possibility that Alexis Dubruel will face prosecution in the criminal courts for his conduct.
This is not the first time Judge Albert Lévy has encountered anti-semitic attacks. According to RFI, in the 1990s, when working in the southern port of Toulon, Lévy was the subject of an anti-Semitic hate campaign and his life threatened when he investigated possible links between France’s far-right Front National party and organised crime. Earlier this year, Lévy received police protection after law enforcement authorities discovered a plot to kidnap the judge by the banned Islamist group Forsane Alizza.