Kazakhstan: ICJ welcomes the Supreme Court decision to grant an appeal of a disbarred lawyer

On 6 December, the ICJ concluded a trial observation mission to Kazakhstan on the case of the disbarment of lawyer Polina Zhukova.

Lawyers Lyubov Agushevich and Polina Zhukova were disbarred following disciplinary proceedings initiated by the Ministry of Justice regarding their defence of a client in court proceedings.

The alleged misconduct, which lead to the disbarment of the lawyers, included inter alia a statement of innocence of their client, submitting motions to the court, submitting requests for recusals, one lawyer “putting a question which she knew the answer to”, reading a page out of the case file, and filing a motion for an examination of the witnesses who attended the hearing.

These actions were interpreted by the presiding judge in the criminal case in which the lawyers represented the defendant as violations of professional ethics, and were later used as grounds for the termination of their licenses to practice law.

ICJ observers, Justice Ketil Lund, an ICJ Commissioner and a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway, and Zulfikor Zamonov, a lawyer from Tajikistan, observed the Supreme Court appeal hearing in the case on 5 December.

The Supreme Court upheld the motion of lawyer Zhukova to resume proceedings in her case and reconsider the issue of the lawfulness of her disbarment.

“The ICJ welcomes the decision to review the case against the lawyer and will continue following the case,” said Temur Shakirov, Legal Adviser of the ICJ Europe Programme.

Read also:

Disbarment proceedings against lawyers in Kazakhstan

Disciplinary action against lawyers in CIS countries: analysis of international law and standards


Róisín Pillay, Director, ICJ Europe Programme, roisin.pillay(a)icj.org

Temur Shakirov, LegalAdviser, ICJ Europe Programme, temur.shakirov(a)icj.org

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