The practice of bringing attorneys to disciplinary responsibility for (allegedly) committing administrative offenses deserves attention. While the penalties imposed for traffic violations vary from exclusion from the Bar for drunk driving to a reprimand for fleeing the scene of an accident, the situation with "disorderly conduct", "disobedience to a legal request of an official" and "distribution of extremist materials" is much more straightforward: all the attorneys who have allegedly committed these offenses were expelled.
All in all, 19 attorneys were brought to disciplinary responsibility for committing administrative offenses, 11 of them — for allegedly committing an offense under Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences ("disobedience to a lawful order or demand of an official exercising his official duties"). That is, judging by the review, the leadership of the bar would prefer to have attorneys, who unquestionably obey all the demands of officials. At the same time, the validity of bringing attorneys to administrative responsibility is often questionable. For example, it is hard to imagine how in one legal advice office in a small town three attorneys at once begin to "disobey the legitimate demands" of the representatives of the authorities. We remind you that we have posted reports from several "court" sessions, in which the attorneys were held administratively liable, such as Vitaly Braginets
and Tatsiana Lishankova
. Note that we are not aware of any cases in which attorneys were held liable under Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences before 2020.
The Basic Rules on the Role of Lawyers place an obligation on governments to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference, and without prosecution or judicial, administrative, economic or other sanctions for any acts performed in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics, or threats of such prosecution and sanctions. The same rules enshrine the right of lawyers to form professional associations to represent their interests.
At the same time, we see that bar associations do not protect their members, but instead deprive them of their right to the profession on formal grounds. Apparently, the leadership of the territorial bar associations and the Belarusian Republican Bar Association are not particularly concerned about the fact that in the end some legal advice offices (and, consequently, individuals in need of legal aid) are left with no attorneys at all