Kazakhstan Disbarment of lawyers for 'violating professional ethics'
31 January 2014

Kazakhstan Disbarment of lawyers for ‘violating professional ethics’


Two lawyers from Kazakhstan were disbarred for simply doing their job.The lawfulness of one disbarment will now be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

What happened?
Lawyers Lyubov Agushevich and Polina Zhukova represented a defendant in criminal proceedings. During his trial, they submitted motions and requests for recusals. While the lawyers claim that they were just defending clients’ rights by using their professional skills, the presiding judge interpreted their actions as violations of professional ethics.

According to the judge, the lawyers’ misconduct included the submission of a statement of innocence of their client and filing a motion to examine a witness who attended the hearing. The judge also blamed one of the lawyers for ‘putting a question which she knew the answer to’ and ‘reading out a page of the case file’. 

The ministry of Justice initiated proceedings against Agushevich and Zhukova for violating professional ethics upon the same grounds and their licenses to practice law were withdrawn. As a result, the lawyers are not entitlement anymore to carry out the legal profession.

One of the lawyers has challenged her disbarment. Polina Zhukova filed a motion to resume proceedings in her case and reconsider the lawfulness of her disbarment. Following its decision to uphold this motion, on 23 January, the Supreme Court started review proceedings.  The hearing in the case took place on 26 February 2014, but no decision has as yet been made.

Lawyers for Lawyers  is concerned about the situation of lawyers in Kazakhstan. We were informed about other lawyers dealing with sensitive cases who are subjected to harassment or disbarment on improper grounds, presumably, to prevent from doing their work. The disbarment of Lyubov Agushevich Polina Zhukova and  other lawyers in Kazakhstan seems to be in violation of international standards, amongst others the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. Moreover, it may have a chilling effect as lawyers may be reluctant to defend persons in cases they would consider sensitive.

Next steps
Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the decision of the Supreme court to review the disbarment of Polina Zhukova and will continue to closely monitor her case as well as other cases of disbarment or suspension of lawyers on improper grounds. We will also file a submission in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of Kazakhstan later this year. 


Meer nieuws uit 

9 August 2022

Continued administrative detention and harassment through judicial proceedings of Salah Hammouri

Occupied Palestinian Territory

The undersigned organisations are gravely concerned about the continued administrative detention and the harassment through judicial proceedings of French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender, Salah Hammouri. As a lawyer, Salah Hammouri represents political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. On

Lees verder
1 August 2022

Letter concerning the continued judicial harassment of Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco


In a letter, Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the judicial harassment of Mexican lawyers Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco. Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco are working as lawyers of the Comité

Lees verder
28 July 2022

Joint statement on the trial and detention of Chang Weiping


Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), The 29 Principles, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), The Rights Practice and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada are concerned about the (pre-)trial and detention of human rights lawyer

Lees verder
28 July 2022

Iran: UPR mid-term report


In preparation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran in 2025, Lawyers for Lawyers has written a mid-term report. In this report, we set out to what extent Iran has implemented the recommendations it accepted during the 2019 UPR process

Lees verder