The board of directors of the Estonian Bar Association (Eesti Advokatuur) decided on Tuesday that Robert Sarv, a sworn lawyer (vandeadvokaat), is excluded from its membership. Sarv says he will continue to work as a lawyer (lawyer) and, although he does not agree with the decision, will not challenge it, ETV news program “Aktuaalne kaamera” reported on Tuesday evening ( AK).
Estonian Bar Association President Jaanus Tehver told AK that: “The Fitness to Practice Committee did not justify its decision because of an oversight, but because of several continuous violations, which are prosecuted even after attention has been drawn to their commission.”
“Inappropriate public statements and reputational damage to the legal profession were among the many allegations,” Tehver added.
Tehver pointed out that the Estonian Bar, as a professional body independent of the state, can act in the public interest without hesitation against any wrongdoing, including that of the state itself.
That means the association itself needs to set high standards, Tehver said. “This independence also means that the Estonian Bar Association itself must ensure that lawyers meet professional aptitude requirements.”
“That’s the context for the whole decision today – working as a lawyer requires upholding the highest professional standards,” Tehver added.
Sarv had been a member of the Estonian Bar since September 2011 and a sworn lawyer since February 2015, ERR reports.
Among Sarv’s recent clients was soccer coach Fredo Getulio Aurelio, who last year was suspected of sexual abuse and banned from working as a soccer coach.
The investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress (link in Estonian) reports that the Honorary Court of the Bar Association has repeatedly discussed complaints against the Sarv in recent years and that, in the opinion of its committee of professional aptitude (Advokatuuri kutsesobivuskomisjon), the Sarv did not act on a punctual basis, in the course of his work as a lawyer, but behaved inappropriately on several occasions.
Eesti Ekspress states that being disbarred by the Estonian Bar Association does not prevent Sarv from continuing to act as a lawyer or legal adviser in the future if he wishes and, in practice, can provide clients with virtually the same level of legal service as a sworn attorney. lawyer member of the bar.
However, he cannot be a partner in a law firm or run his own law firm.
Bar Association Assessment Schedule
At a session last June, the Board of the Estonian Bar Association decided to assess Sarv’s professional suitability as a sworn lawyer.
The board reviewed various documents and court records relating to his professional activities and held an assessment interview with him on January 13th.
Based on that interview, the board concluded that Sarv’s knowledge of job requirements and his ethical beliefs did not match the requirements to work as a lawyer, resulting in his expulsion on Tuesday of this week.
Sarv had given its opinion on the assessment of his professional suitability on February 1, the association said, and did not oppose either his assessment or his ban, and will not challenge the decision.
Sarv, however, has the right to appeal the decision to the Administrative Court of First Instance in Tallinn.
Sarv: I wanted to leave the association for a long time, I will continue to work as a lawyer
Sarv publicly told ERR on Tuesday night that he had wanted to quit the bar anyway since the start of last year and remained a member after his two colleagues and his mother persuaded him to do so.
Sarv said he would continue to work as a lawyer – the Estonian term would be a jurist – and reiterated to the ERR that he would not challenge the association’s decision, although he disagreed. with this one.
The association is characterized by pettiness and ambiguity, Sarv added, and he has no desire to remain in its ranks.
He also said he realized disbarment was inevitable once he attended the suitability interview last month.
Sarv said: “When I went there, my initial question was whether they were willing to correct their factual and out of context errors. They refused to do so and said they just had their questions. At that point, I realized that being kicked out of the bar was only a matter of time.”
Emerald Legal, the firm in which Sarv has been associated until now, will continue its activities, Sarv added, and he will still be able to work there, as a lawyer, and as a member of the board of directors, but cannot be listed on the private market. list of shareholders of the public limited company.
“I just can’t be a shareholder,” he added.
The Estonian Bar Association has been a member of the International Bar Association (IBA) since 1992 and a full member of a body bringing together the bars of the Member States of the European Union (CCBE) since 2004, the association reports on its website.
The association had 1,083 members as of October 7, 2021.
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