Bar Association Act

Bar Association Act

Passed 21.03.2001
RT I 2001, 36, 201
entered into force according to § 83.

Amended by the following Acts:

Passed

Published

Entered into force

19.12.2001  

RT I 2001, 102, 676

10.01.2002, in part 01.01.2002 and 01.01.2003

18.12.2002

RT I 2003, 4, 22

23.01.2003

14.04.2004

RT I 2004, 30, 208

01.05.2004

28.06.2004

RT I 2004, 56, 403

01.03.2005

15.06.2005

RT I 2005, 39, 308

01.01.2006

15.12.2005

RT I 2005, 71, 549

01.01.2006

15.02.2007

RT I 2007, 24, 127

01.01.2008

21.11.2007

RT I 2007, 67, 413

28.12.2007

12.03.2008

RT I 2008, 15, 108

01.11.2008

19.06.2008

RT I 2008, 30, 191

01.07.2008

10.12.2008

RT I 2008, 59, 330

01.01.2009

03.12.2008

RT I 2009, 1, 1

01.01.2010

18.11.2009

RT I 2009, 59, 385

01.01.2010

09.12.2009

RT I 2009, 68, 463

01.01.2010

22.04.2010

RT I 2010, 19, 101

01.06.2010

22.04.2010

RT I 2010, 22, 108

01.01.2011, enters into force on the date which has been determined in the Decision of the Council of the European Union regarding the abrogation of the derogation established in respect of the Republic of Estonia on the basis provided for in Article 140 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Council Decision 2010/416/EU of 13 July 2010 (OJ L 196, 28.07.2010, p. 24 - 26).

27.01.2011

RT I, 23.02.2011, 3

01.01.2012

17.02.2011

RT I, 14.03.2011, 3

24.03.2011

05.12.2012

RT I, 21.12.2012, 1

01.03.2013

25.02.2016
 
RT I, 04.03.2016, 1
 
14.03.2016
 
07.06.2016 RT I, 22.02.2016, 21 01.08.2016

 

Chapter 1

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

§ 1.  Scope of application

This Act provides the organisation of Estonian Bar Association (hereinafter Bar Association) and the legal bases for the activities of advocates, associated members of the Bar Association and advocates of a foreign state.

§ 2. Definition and legal status of Bar Association

(1) Estonian Bar Association, founded on 14 June 1919, is a self-governing professional association which organises the provision of legal services in private and public interests and protects the professional rights of advocates.

(2) The Bar Association is a legal person in public law.

(3) The Bar Association shall operate pursuant to the law, legal acts of the bodies of the Bar Association, and good morals.

(4) The Bar Association shall be registered in the state register of state and local government agencies pursuant to the procedure provided for in the statutes of the register.
[RT I 2002, 57, 357 – entered into force 01.08.2002]

§ 3. Competence of Bar Association

The Bar Association is competent to:
1) admit members to and exclude members from the Bar Association;
2) exercise supervision over the processional activities of the members of the Bar Association and their compliance with the requirements for professional ethics;
3) exercise supervision over the professional activities of advocates of foreign states who are practising in Estonia and their compliance with the requirements for professional ethics;
4) organise in-service training for advocates;
5) organise the provision of state legal aid and ensure the provision of state legal aid through its members;
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
6) administer the assets of the Bar Association;
7) resolve other matters relating to advocates’ professional activities.

§ 4. Assurance of legality of activities of Bar Association

(1) Upon exercising supervision over the organisation of state legal aid and application of funds allocated for state legal aid, the Minister of Justice shall:
1) repeal, partly or in full, a legal act adopted by a body of the Bar Association which is contrary to the law or regulation;
2) forbid performance of an act by a body of the Bar Association which is contrary to the law or regulation;
3) require a body of the Bar Association to perform an act if failure to perform an act by a body of the Bar Association or delaying the performance is contrary to the law or regulation.

(2) If the Bar Association finds that the directive by the Minister of Justice specified in clauses (1) 1)–3) of this section is unlawful, the Bar Association shall file a corresponding complaint with an administrative court.

(3) If the Minister of Justice finds that a legal act adopted or act performed by a body of the Bar Association unspecified in subsection (1) of this section is contrary to the law, he or she shall file a corresponding protest with an administrative court.

(4) The Minister of Justice shall be entitled to contest the decisions of the court of honour pursuant to the procedure and in the extent specified in § 18 (2), (3) and (4) of this Act.

(5) An interested person may file a complaint with an administrative court against a legal act adopted or act performed by a body of the Bar Association.

(6) A copy of the resolution and minutes of the general assembly of the Bar Association shall be sent to the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice has the right to request other documents of the bodies of the Bar Association for examination and receive information related to the activities of the Bar Association. Information containing a professional secret of an advocate shall be excluded from the document sent to the Minister of Justice in the extent reasonably necessary to maintain professional secrecy, unless otherwise provided in this Act. The Board of the Bar Association shall decide on the secrecy of a document.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 5. Dissolution of Bar Association

The Bar Association may be dissolved only by an Act.

Chapter 2

ORGANISATION OF BAR ASSOCIATION

 

§ 6. Bodies of Bar Association

(1) The Bar Association shall act through its bodies.

(2) The bodies of the Bar Association are the general assembly, the Board, the Chairman, the audit committee, the court of honour and the professional suitability assessment committee.

(3) The competence of the bodies of the Bar Association shall be provided by law.

(4) The legal acts and resolutions adopted by the bodies of the Bar Association shall be mandatory for the members of the Bar Association.

§ 61 Delivery of resolutions and notices

The resolutions and notices sent by the Bar Association shall be deemed to be delivered to an advocate if they have been sent to the e-mail address made public on the website of the Bar Association on the basis of subsection 44 (6) of this Act.
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 7. General assembly

(1) The general assembly is the highest body of the Bar Association. The general assembly shall consist of all members of the Bar Association. Sworn advocates have the right to vote.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(2) The Board shall convene an ordinary general assembly at least once a year.

(3) The Board shall convene an extraordinary general assembly on its own initiative, on the proposal of the audit committee or at the request of at least one-tenth of the members of the Bar Association.

(4) The Board shall notify the advocates of the time and place of an ordinary general assembly at least one month before the assembly is held. The Board shall notify the advocates of the time and place of an extraordinary general assembly at least two weeks before the assembly is held.

(5) The general assembly has a quorum if more than one-half of the advocates with the right to vote participate. If fewer advocates participate in a general assembly, the Board shall, within two weeks as of the convocation of the general assembly, convene a new general assembly who shall have a quorum regardless of the number of participants.

(6) An advocate may also participate in the general assembly through a representative by authorising another advocate with the right to vote to participate and vote in the general assembly in his or her name. One advocate cannot represent more than two advocates in the same general assembly.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 8. Resolutions of and voting at general assembly

(1) The general assembly shall adopt resolutions by open vote unless the general assembly decides otherwise. A resolution is adopted if more than one-half of the advocates with the right to vote participating at the assembly vote in favour and this Act does not provide for a greater majority requirement.

(2) Every advocate with the right to vote has one vote at the general assembly.

(3) Elections of bodies of the Bar Association at the general assembly shall be conducted in accordance with the following principles:
1) votes are given to each candidate separately;
2) votes are given by secret ballot;
3) the candidate who receives the greatest numbers of votes shall be elected unless this Act provides for a different majority requirement.

(4) The bodies of the Bar Association shall be elected in the following order: the Chairman, the members and alternate members of the Board, the members and alternate members of the audit committee, and finally the members and alternate members of the court of honour who are advocates.

(5) In the election of the Chairman, the candidate who receives more than one-half of the votes of the participants shall be elected. If no candidate receives the required majority of votes, a second round shall be held between the two candidates who received the largest number of votes. The candidate who receives the larger number of votes in the second round shall be elected. If votes are divided equally, lots shall be drawn.

§ 81. Adoption of resolutions without convening general assembly

(1) Advocates with the right to vote at the general assembly shall be entitled on the proposal of the Board to adopt resolutions within the competence of the general assembly without convening the general assembly. In this case resolutions shall be made electronically.

(2) An advocate with a right to vote may not refuse to participate in the deciding of issues pursuant to the procedure specified in subsection (1) of this section without good reason.

(3) If a resolution is made pursuant to the procedure provided for in subsection (1) of this section, a resolution shall be adopted if more than one-half of the advocates with the right to vote have voted in favour and this Act does not provide for a greater majority requirement.

(4) Bodies of the Bar Association cannot be elected pursuant to the procedure provided for in subsection (1) of this section.

(5) The specific procedure for deciding of issues pursuant to the procedure specified in subsection (1) of this section shall be specified in the internal rules of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 9.  Competence of general assembly

The general assembly shall:
1) determine the number of the members and alternate members of the Board and of the audit committee and the number of the alternate members of the court of honour who are advocates;

2) elect the Chairman, the members and alternate members of the Board and of the audit committee and the members and alternate members of the court of honour who are advocates;

3) approve the report on the implementation of the budget of the Bar Association for the previous financial year and approve the budget for the new financial year;

4) approve the annual economic activity report of the Bar Association and the annual report of the audit committee;
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

5) adopt the internal rules of the Bar Association and the requirements for the professional ethics of advocates;

6) resolve complaints submitted against the resolutions of the Board of the Bar Association or the acts of the Chairman if so requested by at least one-tenth of the members of the Bar Association;
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

7) approve the insignia of the Bar Association;
8) determine the bases for payment of remuneration to advocates for work performed in the interests of the Bar Association;

9) determine the conditions of and procedure for the payment and the amount of the membership fee of the Bar Association as well as the conditions of and procedure for the payment of other fees and compensation of costs, and the amount of the fee;
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

10) [Repealed - RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

11) decide other matters provided by law and in the internal rules of the Bar Association.

§ 10. Chairman

(1) The Chairman shall represent the Bar Association in all legal acts. The Chairman belongs to the Board of the Bar Association, organises the activities of the Board and chairs the sessions of the Board.

(2) The Chairman shall be elected from among sworn advocates for a term of three years.

(3) In the absence of the Chairman, his or her duties shall be performed by the Deputy Chairman.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 11. Board

(1) The Board is a permanent governing body of the Bar Association. The Board shall consist of at least seven members.

(2) The Board shall be elected from among sworn advocates for a term of three years.

(3) The members of the Board shall not be members of the audit committee, court of honour or the professional suitability assessment committee.

(4) The Board shall adopt resolutions by the majority of the votes of the members of the Board in favour. A member of the Board not participating in a session may vote via means of communication on which a notation shall be made in the minutes. A resolution shall be adopted if more than one-half of the members of the Board vote in favour.
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entered into force 24.03.2011]

(5) The sessions of the Board shall be public unless the Board has declared a session or a part thereof to be held in camera.

(6) The Board may also adopt resolutions without convening a session in which case the Chairman shall send the draft resolution either in written form or electronically to the members of the Board by establishing a term for reply. Voting shall be implemented by sending a written or electronic response with digital signature. The results of voting shall be recorded and replies of the members of the Board shall be annexed to the minutes. Failure to reply by the given term shall be deemed to be as voted against.
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entered into force 24.03.2011]

§ 12. Competence of Board

The Board shall:
1) direct the Bar Association;
2) administer the assets and organise the accounting of the Bar Association;
3) elect the Deputy Chairman of the Bar Association from among the members of the Board;
4) appoint a Chancellor who shall perform the executive and organisational duties assigned by the Board;
5) appoint the members of the professional suitability assessment committee who are advocates and the substitute members thereof;

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]
6) on the basis of a resolution of the professional suitability assessment committee, decide on admission to the Bar Association and on grant of the professional title of a sworn advocate;

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]
7) decide on grant of right to act as an associated member of the Bar Association;
71) [Repealed - RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
8) exercise supervision over the processional activities of the members of the Bar Association and their compliance with the requirements for professional ethics;
9) exercise supervision over the professional activities of advocates of foreign states who are practising in Estonia and their compliance with the requirements for professional ethics;
10) appoint a patron for a clerk of a sworn advocate;
11) exclude an advocate from the Bar Association at his or her request or on other grounds provided by law;
12) [Repealed - RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
13) organise in-service training for advocates;
14) organise the verification of professional suitability of advocates;
15) if elements of a disciplinary offence become evident, make a proposal to the court of honour for the commencement of proceedings of the court of honour with regard to the advocate;
16) issue the Bar Association membership certificates and advocates’ certificates;
17) organise the provision of state legal aid by advocates pursuant to the State Legal Aid Act and establish the procedure for the grant of state legal aid;
18) perform other duties arising from the law or relating to the directing of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

 

§ 13. Audit committee

(1) The audit committee shall audit the economic activities of the Bar Association and the activities the Chairman, the Board and the Chancellor. Organising the provision of state legal aid and application of funds allocated from the state budget shall also be deemed to be the economic activities of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(2) The audit committee shall consist of at least three members, elected from among sworn advocates for a term of four years.

(3) The audit committee shall elect the chairman of the audit committee from among its members.

(4) The audit committee adopts resolutions by a majority of the votes of the members in favour.

(5) The members of the audit committee shall not be members of the Board, the court of honour or the professional suitability assessment committee, and they shall not be employed by the Bar Association.

§ 14. Audit of economic activities of Bar Association and annual report
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(1) The financial year of the Bar Association is the calendar year.

(2) The Board shall submit the annual report to the audit committee for review and for issue of opinion, and then to the general assembly for approval within six months as of the termination of the financial year.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(3) The annual report shall be published in the yearbook of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(4) At the request of the general assembly, the audit committee or at least one-tenth of the members of the Bar Association, the Board shall appoint an auditor to audit the economic activities or the annual accounts of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(5) The audit committee shall submit the audit report to the general assembly.

(6) The Minister of Justice or a person appointed by the Minister of Justice has the right to inspect the organisation of provision of state legal aid and application of funds allocated from the state budget, including the inspection of the related documents and receipt of information thereon. With the consent of the Board of the Bar Association, the Minister of Justice has the right to appoint an auditor to audit other economic activities of the Bar Association at the expense of the state.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 141. Financing of activities of Bar Association

(1) The activities of the Bar Association are financed from the membership fee of the Bar Association and other fees. The provision and organisation of state legal aid is financed from the state budget pursuant to the procedure provided by the law.
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(2) The rate of membership fee of the Bar Association shall be established by the general assembly in an amount which ensures the sufficient financing of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 15. Court of honour

(1) The court of honour shall hear matters concerning disciplinary offences committed by advocates, and other matters which are placed within the competence of the court of honour by law.

(11) The court of honour may adjudicate disputes arising from a contract with a client, including a contract entered into with a consumer, pursuant to conciliation procedure on the bases and pursuant to the procedure provided for in the internal rules of the Bar Association. The bases and specific procedure of the conciliation procedure shall be established in the internal rules and the rules of procedure approved by the Board.
[RT I, 31.12.2015, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2016]

(2) The court of honour shall be formed for a term of four years and shall consist of seven members.

(3) The court of honour shall consist of four sworn advocates elected by the general assembly of the Bar Association, two judges elected by the Court en banc and one jurist designated by the council of the Law Faculty of the University of Tartu.

(4) The members of the court of honour shall not be members of the Board, the professional suitability assessment committee or the audit committee.

(5) Sworn advocates who have practised as sworn advocates for at least ten years may be elected to the court of honour.

(6) The members of the court of honour shall elect the Chairman of the court of honour from among the members who are sworn advocates.

(7) The court of honour shall hear matters in a panel of at least three members.

(8) The court of honour shall make a decision by the majority of the votes of the members who participated in the hearing of the matter.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 16. Commencement of proceedings of court of honour

(1) Any interested person has recourse to the court of honour or the Board for the commencement of proceedings of the court of honour. An application for the commencement of proceedings of the court of honour shall be submitted within six months after the date on which the complainant became or should have become aware of the circumstances on which the application was based.

(2) A court of honour shall commence proceedings of the court of honour on the initiative of an interested person, itself or a body of the Bar Association if elements of a disciplinary offence become evident in the activities of an advocate.

(3) The court of honour shall decide on the commencement of proceedings of the court of honour within two months as of the date on which the court of honour became aware of elements of a disciplinary offence.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

(4) The Minister of Justice may apply for commencement of proceedings of the court of honour if there is doubt that elements of a disciplinary offence may become evident in the activities of an advocate in connection with:
1) provision of state legal aid;
2) acting as a trustee in bankruptcy.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(5) The court of honour shall commence proceedings of the court of honour if it is applied for by the Minister of Justice on the basis of subsection (4) of this section or if the court has imposed a penalty on the advocate or forbid the advocate to file petitions in the proceeding or removed the advocate from proceeding or provision of state legal aid. The court of honour shall not be required to commence proceedings of the court of honour if the disciplinary offence has expired or if resolving of the matter is not within the competence of the court of honour.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(6) The Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy (hereinafter the Chamber) may apply for commencement of proceedings of the court of honour if there is doubt that in his or her activities as a trustee in bankruptcy, an advocate is in breach of a resolution of a body of the Chamber or good professional practice or has committed a disciplinary offence specified in § 19 (1) of this Act.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 17. Proceedings of court of honour

(1) Proceedings of the court of honour are mandatory for the members of the Bar Association.

(2) The advocate has the right to examine the records of the matter, provide statements to the court of honour, present objections, submit reasons and considerations related to all questions which arise in the course of proceedings in the court of honour, submit petitions of challenge against a member or recording secretary of the court of honour, if circumstances give reason to doubt his or her impartiality, submit evidence and applications and participate in the inspection and examination of evidence, submit questions to persons invited to a session and receive a copy of the decisions of the court of honour. If the advocate fails to appear at a session of the court of honour without good reason, the matter may be heard without his or her attendance.

(3) The court of honour may adjudicate a matter in written proceedings if an interested person or an advocate has not applied for adjudication of the matter in oral proceedings.

(4) The court of honour shall be required to establish material circumstances in the matter being heard and collect evidence for that purpose on its own initiative, if necessary. Upon the request of the court of honour, an advocate shall be required to submit evidence to the court of honour in his or her possession. The court of honour may apply for assistance from an administrative court in order to collect or secure evidence. An administrative court shall adjudicate the request of the court of honour by a ruling according to the provisions of grant of permission to take administrative measures of the Code of Administrative Court Procedure.
[RT I, 23.02.2011, 3 – entered into force 01.01.2012]

(5) The court of honour shall adjudicate a matter concerning a disciplinary offence and make a reasoned decision within six months as of commencement of the proceedings of the court of honour. The court of honour shall also make a reasoned decision if the court of honour does not establish an offence. The court of honour may extend the hearing of a disciplinary offence up to three months in case of good reason. The period during which the matter concerning the disciplinary offence cannot be heard due to circumstances which depend on the advocate with regard to whom the proceedings of the court of honour were commenced shall be excluded from the period of proceeding a disciplinary offence.

(6) Taking into consideration the matter being heard and the personal characteristics of the advocate concerned, the court of honour may suspend the professional activities of the advocate for the time of the proceedings of the court of honour. Suspension of professional activities for the time of the proceedings of the court of honour is not deemed to be a disciplinary penalty.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

 

(7) The specific procedure of the proceedings of the court of honour shall be established by the internal rules of the Bar Association. The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act apply in the proceedings of the court of honour in the extent unregulated in this Act and the internal rules of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(8) If deprivation of the right to act as a trustee in bankruptcy has been imposed on an advocate as disciplinary penalty, the court of honour shall send the decision to the Chamber for implementation.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 18. Contestation of decisions of court of honour

(1) An interested person may file an action with an administrative court against a decision of the court of honour.

(2) The Minister of Justice may file a protest with an administrative court against a decision of the court of honour if disciplinary offence matter is connected with:
1) provision or organisation of state legal aid;
2) acting as a trustee in bankruptcy.

(3) The court of honour shall immediately forward the decisions of the court of honour against which the Minister of Justice is entitled to file a protest according to subsection (2) of this section to the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice shall also be entitled to request other documents of the proceedings of the court of honour for examination in the given matters of proceedings of the court of honour.

(4) The Minister of Justice may file a protest with an administrative court against a decision of the court of honour within 30 days after the receipt of a decision of the court of honour.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 19. Disciplinary liability

(1) The court of honour may impose a disciplinary penalty on a member of the Bar Association for violation of legislation which provides for the activities of advocates and law offices or for violation of the requirements for professional ethics if the disciplinary offence has not expired by the time of commencement of proceedings of the court of honour.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(2) Disciplinary penalties are:
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
1) reprimand;
2) fine in favour of the Bar Association from 64 to 16 000 euros;
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entered into force 01.01.2011]
3) suspension of professional activities for up to one year;
4) disbarment;
5) deprivation of the right to act as a trustee in bankruptcy for up to five years.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(3) During the period of suspension of professional activities as a disciplinary penalty, an advocate shall not provide legal services or mediate or organise the provision thereof. In case of violation of the prohibition specified in this subsection, an advocate shall be disbarred.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(4) Upon imposing a disciplinary penalty, the court of honour shall, inter alia, take into account the gravity of the disciplinary offence, nature of the matter being heard and previous punishment of the advocate.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(5) Only one disciplinary penalty may be imposed by the court of honour for one and the same disciplinary offence. Upon imposing a disciplinary penalty, punishment pursuant to misdemeanour or criminal procedure imposed for the same offence and disciplinary penalty imposed by other body or official shall not be taken into account. Continuation of a disciplinary offence shall be deemed as a new disciplinary offence if an advocate does not terminate the violation after the decision of the court of honour has been made public.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(6) Disciplinary penalty may not be imposed if the disciplinary offence has expired. Disciplinary offence expires three years after the commission thereof. The limitation period of a disciplinary offence starts from the moment on which an advocate terminates the commission of an action. The limitation period of a disciplinary offence shall be suspended for the period of hearing the disciplinary matter in the court of honour and court, including for the period of filing a complaint, appeal and an appeal in cassation. The court of honour has the right to hear the disciplinary matter regardless of the limitation period.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(7) A disciplinary penalty expires three years after entry into force of the decision to impose a penalty. A disciplinary penalty specified in clause (2) 4) of this section does not expire.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 20. Internal rules of Bar Association

(1) Pursuant to law, the internal rules of the Bar Association shall provide the following:
1) procedure for creation, suspension and termination of membership of the Bar Association;
2) rights and obligations of advocates in relations with the Bar Association;
3) procedures for the activities of the bodies of the Bar Association;
4) procedure for adoption of resolutions of the bodies of the Bar Association and for election of the bodies of the Bar Association;
5) procedure for substituting for the members of the bodies of the Bar Association;
6) issue, extension and revocation of advocates’ certificates and Bar Association membership certificates;
7) organisation of advocates’ examinations;
8) other issues which must be provided for in the internal rules pursuant to law.

(2) The internal rules of the Bar Association are deemed to be adopted or amended if at least two-thirds of the advocates who have the right to vote and participate in the general assembly vote in favour.

(3) The internal rules of the Bar Association and amendments thereto shall be published in the Riigi Teataja.
[RT I 2010, 19, 101 – entered into force 01.06.2010]

§ 21. Bar Association register

(1) The Board of the Bar Association shall maintain the Bar Association register. The Bar Association register shall consist of registry cards and advocates’ files.

(2) A registry card shall be opened for each advocate and it shall contain the following information:
1) the registration number;
2) the name and personal identification code of the advocate;
3) data concerning education and academic degree;
4) areas of activity of the advocate;
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]
5) the name and commercial registry code of the company of advocates which is the place of business of the advocate or, in case of an advocate practising as a sole proprietor, the commercial registry code and the address of the law office, means of communication and office hours;
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]
6) the date of admission to the Bar Association;
7) the professional title of the advocate and the time of when the title was obtained;
8) a notation concerning suspension of membership in the Bar Association;
9) the time and grounds for exclusion from the Bar Association or for disbarment.

(3) An advocate’s file maintained electronically shall be opened for each advocate and it shall contain the following information:
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2013]
1) a copy of a document certifying education and academic degree; 
2) the resolution of the professional suitability assessment committee regarding the passing of an advocate’s examination;
3) [Repealed - RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]
4) the text of the advocate’s oath signed by a sworn advocate;
5) copy of the passport or other identity document;
6) the resolution of the Board concerning admission of the advocate to the Bar Association;
7) the resolution of the Board concerning appointment of a patron to the advocate and appointment of the advocate as a patron;
8) the resolution of the Board concerning the grant of a professional title to the advocate;
9) a decision concerning the exclusion of the advocate from the Bar Association, or his or her disbarment;
10) decisions of the court of honour made with regard to the advocate.

(4) The Board may, on its own initiative or at the request of the advocate, add other documents concerning the professional activities of the advocate to his or her file.

(5) An advocate shall notify the Board immediately of any change in the data specified in clauses (2) 2)–5) or (3) 1), 3) or 5) of this section in order for the changes to be entered in the register.

(6) The registry card information, except the personal identification code and residence of an advocate, is public and is made available to the public in an electronic database.

(7) A person with legitimate interest may have access to an advocate's file. The Board shall decide whether a person has legitimate interest to access an advocate’s file.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

Chapter 3

ADVOCATE

 

§ 22. Members of Bar Association

(1) Sworn advocates and clerks of sworn advocates are members of the Bar Association (hereinafter advocates).

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(2) All persons who comply with the requirements provided for in this Act and have passed the advocate’s examination may be members of the Bar Association.

(3) In Estonia, only members of the Estonian Bar Association may provide legal services as advocates, unless otherwise provided in this Act.

(4) Membership in the Bar Association is certified by a Bar Association membership certificate and an advocate’s certificate. The advocate’s certificate shall contain the information specified in clauses 21 (2) 2), 6) and 7) of this Act.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 221. Advocate emeritus

The title of an advocate emeritus may be granted to a person who has reached the retirement age and has been excluded from the Bar Association.

Grant of the title and the status of an advocate emeritus shall be provided for in the internal rules of the Bar Association.
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 23. Requirements for advocates

A person may be admitted to the Bar Association, if he or she:

1) has active legal capacity;
2) resides in Estonia or is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia, another member state of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland;
[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]
3) complies with the educational requirements presented for judges according to clause 47 (1) 1) of the Courts Act or whose professional qualification acquired in a foreign state has been recognized according to § 65 of this Act;
[RT I 2008, 30, 191 – entry into force 01.07.2008]
4) has oral and written proficiency in Estonian;
5) is honest and of high moral character and with the abilities and personal characteristics necessary for work as an advocate.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2013]

In order to be admitted to the Bar Association, a person must submit a written application and pass an advocate’s examination. In the application, a person shall certify that the circumstances provided for in subsection 27 (1) which exclude admission of a person to the Bar Association do not exist with respect to the applicant.

Members are admitted to the Bar Association by a resolution of the Board.

The Board of the Bar Association shall publish notices concerning admission of advocates to the Bar Association in the official publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.
[RT I 2005, 71, 549 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 24. Sworn advocates’ clerks

(1) Persons who have passed the examination of a sworn advocate’s clerk may be admitted to the Bar Association as sworn advocates’ clerks.

(2) Sworn advocates’ clerks shall practise under the supervision of their patrons.

§ 25. Sworn advocates’ senior clerks

[Repealed - RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

 

§ 26. Grant of professional title of sworn advocate

(1) A member of the Bar Association may become a sworn advocate on the basis of a written application if he or she has passed the sworn advocate’s examination and has practised as a clerk of a sworn advocate for at least three years.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

 

(11) If a person, immediately prior to admission to the Bar Association, has worked for at least two consecutive years in an office or position which requires at least a nationally recognised Master’s degree in law or a qualification equal thereto for the purposes of subsection 28 (22) of the Republic of Estonia Education Act or a foreign qualification equal thereto, the Board of the Bar Association may allow the person to take the sworn advocate’s examination if he or she has practiced as a clerk of a sworn advocate for at least one consecutive year.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(12) If a person is allowed to take the examination in the case specified in subsection (11) of this section, the time of working shall be calculated as of the acquisition of the qualification specified in the same subsection.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

 

(2) The professional title of a sworn advocate shall be granted by a resolution of the Board.

(3) A person may be admitted to the Bar Association as a sworn advocate if he or she has passed the sworn advocate’s examination and:
1) is a professor of law;
2) was a sworn advocate and becomes a member of the Bar Association within five years after he or she was excluded from the Bar Association on the grounds provided for in clauses 36 (1) 1) or 4) of this Act;
3) was a judge, notary or prosecutor for at least three years and becomes a member of the Bar Association five years after termination of activity as a judge, notary or prosecutor.
02.09.2011 10:55
Sub-item number amended. Basis: § 10 (4) of Riigi Teataja Act.
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entered into force 24.03.2011]

(31) A person may be admitted to the Bar Association as a sworn advocate if he or she has acted as a justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the European Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights or General Court of the European Union or as a Chancellor of Justice for at least three years.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(4) A sworn advocate shall be at least 24 years old.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 27. Grounds for refusal of membership in Bar Association

(1) A person shall not be admitted to the Bar Association if he or she:
1) does not comply with the requirements for advocates;
2) has been disbarred or removed from the position of a notary;
3) has been punished pursuant to criminal procedure for an intentionally committed criminal offence;
4) is in public service, is employed under an employment contract or a contract of service;
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
5) is a bankrupt;
6) operates in a profession which is contrary to the requirements for the professional ethics of advocates or the principle of independence;
7) has been deprived of the right to be an advocate, judge, prosecutor, notary or operate as an undertaking by a court judgment.

(2) Working in teaching or research capacity shall not prevent a person from being admitted to the Bar Association.

§ 28. Oath of sworn advocate

(1) After the Board of the Bar Association has adopted a resolution concerning the grant of the professional title of a sworn advocate to a person, the advocate shall take the oath of a sworn advocate. An advocate may practise as a sworn advocate after he or she has taken the oath.

(2) A sworn advocate shall take the following oath before the Board of the Bar Association:
“I swear to remain faithful to the Republic of Estonia and its constitutional order and perform all duties required from the profession of a sworn advocate.”

§ 29. Professional suitability assessment committee

(1) The professional suitability assessment committee of the Bar Association shall be formed for a term of five years and shall consist of eleven members.

(2) Members of the professional suitability assessment committee shall not be members of the Board, the court of honour or the audit committee.

(3) The professional suitability assessment committee shall consist of:
1) six sworn advocates appointed by the Board of the Bar Association and two substitute members thereof;
2) two judges elected by the Court en banc and two substitute members thereof;
3) a representative of the Ministry of Justice, appointed by the Minister of Justice and a substitute member thereof;
4) a public prosecutor elected by the Prosecutors’ Assembly and a substitute member thereof;
5) a jurist appointed by the council of the Law Faculty of the University of Tartu and a substitute member thereof.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

 

(4) The members of the professional suitability assessment committee shall elect the chairman of the committee from among the members who are sworn advocates.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 30. Competence of professional suitability assessment committee

(1) The professional suitability assessment committee shall:
1) examine persons who apply for admission to the Bar Association or for qualification as sworn advocates;
2) carries out an aptitude test for professional qualification acquired in a foreign state;
3) assess the professional suitability of an advocate periodically or at the request of the Board.

(2) The professional suitability assessment committee has a quorum if at least five members of the committee are present and the majority of those present are members who are sworn advocates. A meeting of the professional suitability assessment committee shall be chaired by the chairman of the committee or a member of the committee who is a sworn advocate and designated by the chairman.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 31.  Advocate’s examination and examination fee

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(1) Advocate’s examination is the verification of the professional knowledge and personal characteristics of a person who applies for admission to the Bar Association or for qualification as a sworn advocate.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2013]

(2) Advocate’s examinations are: the examination of a sworn advocate’s clerk, and examination of a sworn advocate.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2013]

(3) Advocate’s examinations shall be organised as necessary but not less frequently than once a year. The frequency of advocate’s examinations and other organising issues shall be specified in the internal rules of the Bar Association.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.03.2013]

(4) The professional suitability assessment committee shall determine the time and place of an examination.

(5) The fee for taking the advocate’s examination or re-examination may not be more than 300 euros. Taking of a re-examination is always for a fee.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 32. Content of advocate’s examination

(1) An advocate’s examination may consist of an oral and a written part.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(2) The specific organisation of the oral and written part of an advocate’s examination shall be specified in the internal rules of the Bar Association.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(3) [Repealed - RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(4) Whether the personal characteristics of a person who applies for admission to the Bar Association are suitable to exercise the activities of an advocate shall be assessed on the basis of the examination and a conversation held during the examination. In assessing the suitability of personal characteristics, the professional suitability assessment committee may take into consideration other information concerning the person who applies for admission to the Bar Association which is relevant to the performance of advocate’s duties, inter alia, the professional suitability assessment committee may make inquiries and ask for the opinion of the patron.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 33. Evaluation of examination results

(1) The results of the parts of an advocate’s examination shall be evaluated on a ten-point scale.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(2) The grade for an examination shall be the average of the grades given by the members of the committee, rounded to the whole number. A grade below five is deemed to be non-satisfactory.

(3) If an examinee receives a non-satisfactory grade for at least one part of the examination, the examinee is deemed to have failed the examination.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(4) The personal characteristics of a person who applies for admission to the Bar Association are graded by the committee as suitable or unsuitable.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

(5) If the committee has graded the personal characteristics of an examinee as unsuitable, the examinee is deemed to have failed the examination. The committee shall give reasons for such resolution.

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 34. Re-examination

  [Repealed - RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 341. In-service training for advocates

(1) An advocate is required to undergo periodic legal in-service training. The Board may release an advocate from the obligation to undergo in-service training during the assessment period in which he or she has defended a Doctoral or Master’s level degree in a specialty relating to the professional activities of an advocate.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(2) The bases and procedure for in-service training shall be decided by the Board of the Estonian Bar Association. Upon organisation of in-service training, the specialisation of a sworn advocate to a certain area of law shall be taken into account. The bases and procedure for in-service training shall be reviewed by the Board as required.

[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

(3) An advocate, if five years have passed since he or she passed the last advocate’s examination (hereinafter assessment period), is required to submit information concerning the in-service training completed by the person during the assessment period to the professional suitability assessment committee no later than fifteen days after the end of the assessment period.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(4) At least three months before the date when the assessment period prescribed in subsection (3) of this section ends, the professional suitability assessment committee shall notify the advocate thereof and shall explain which information the advocate has to submit for the assessment of his or her professional suitability.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(5) The professional suitability assessment committee shall assess the compliance of the volume of the professional development of the advocate with the procedure established pursuant to subsection (2) of this section on the basis of the information submitted by the advocate according to subsection (3) of this section. If necessary, the professional suitability assessment committee may request that the advocate submit additional evidence concerning the completion of in-service training.

[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

(6) If an advocate has not undertaken professional development in the required volume or in the prescribed manner during the assessment period or has failed to submit information concerning the completion of in-service training to the professional suitability assessment committee by the specified due date, the professional suitability assessment committee shall organise an assessment in order to verify his or her professional expertise. The assessment shall take place within nine months after the end of the assessment period. The advocate shall be notified of the decision regarding the date of the professional suitability assessment at least one month in advance.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(61) The fee for the organisation and reorganisation of an assessment may not be more than 300 euros. The organisation of a new assessment is always for a fee.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(7) An advocate who has failed to appear for an assessment or who has been deemed to be unsuitable to exercise the activities of an advocate as a result of the assessment shall be notified by the professional suitability assessment committee of the decision regarding the date of the new assessment at least one month before the taking place of a new assessment. A new assessment shall take place within nine months after failure to appear for an assessment or deeming to be unsuitable to exercise the activities of an advocate.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 35. Suspension of membership in Bar Association and professional activities of advocate

(1) Membership in the Bar Association may be suspended by a resolution of the Board if a person:

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

1) is temporarily unable to provide legal services for six consecutive months due to health reasons or other reasons;

11) has failed to perform the obligation to undergo in-service training prescribed in § 341 of this Act and six years have passed since he or she passed the last advocate’s examination or his or her professional suitability was assessed;

[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

2) joins public service or commences work under an employment contract or a contract of service in an office or position which requires the completion of studies of higher education in law on the condition that the employer’s area of activity or content of work does not include the provision of legal services to third persons;

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 36. Exclusion from Bar Association

(1) An advocate shall be excluded from the Bar Association by a resolution of the Board of the Bar Association if:
1) the advocate has submitted a corresponding application;
2) the sworn advocate’s clerk fails to take the examination of a sworn advocate three times;

[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]
21) the advocate has failed to perform the obligation to undergo in-service training prescribed in § 341 of this Act and seven years have passed since he or she passed the last advocate’s examination or his or her professional suitability was assessed;
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]
3) the professional suitability assessment committee has certified that the advocate does not comply with the requirements for professional suitability, except in the case prescribed in clause 21);
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]
4) the advocate has not practised as an advocate for more than three consecutive years due to health reasons or other reasons;
5) the advocate has been deprived of the right to be an advocate or operate as an undertaking by a court judgment;
6) the advocate is a bankrupt;
7) the advocate enters a profession which is contrary to the requirements for the professional ethics of advocates or the principle of independence;
8) the advocate commences work under an employment contract or a contract of service not specified in clause 35 (1) 2) of this Act.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(2) On the basis of an application of an advocate, he or she shall not be excluded from the Bar Association during proceedings of the court of honour held against him or her and for the time during which the professional activities of an advocate have been suspended as disciplinary penalty.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(3) An advocate shall not be excluded from the Bar Association if he or she enters into an employment contract with the Bar Association or engages in teaching or research or if his or her membership in the Bar Association is suspended on the grounds provided for in clauses 35 (1) 2)-4) of this Act.

§ 37. Disbarment

An advocate shall be disbarred:
1) as a penalty for a disciplinary offence imposed under the procedure provided for in this Act;
2) on the basis of a resolution of the Board if a judgment of conviction for an intentionally committed criminal offence or any other criminal offence has entered into force with regard to the advocate which renders the professional activities of the advocate impossible;
3) on the basis of a resolution of the Board, if the advocate fails to pay the membership fee of the Bar Association by the due date without good reason and regardless of a warning given by the Board.

§ 38. Consequences of exclusion from Bar Association or disbarment

(1) If a person is excluded from the Bar Association or is disbarred, he or she loses the right to practise as an advocate.

(2) If an advocate is excluded from the Bar Association or is disbarred, the documents and information contained in other media relating to the professional activities of the advocate shall remain with the company of advocates. If the person disbarred or excluded is the sole shareholder of a company of advocates or operates as a sole proprietor, he or she shall ensure the preservation of the specified documents and other media in the archives. If necessary, the specified documents and other media shall be transferred to the Board of the Bar Association.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(3) If a person is disbarred, the advocate’s certificate and the Bar Association membership certificate shall be immediately transferred to the Board of the Bar Association.

(4) If a person is excluded from the Bar Association, the advocate’s certificate shall be transferred to the Board. At the request of a person who is excluded, he or she may retain the Bar Association membership certificate. The Board of the Bar Association shall make a notation concerning the exclusion in the Bar Association membership certificate of a person who is excluded.

(5) The Board shall publish a notice concerning the exclusion of a person from the Bar Association or his or her disbarment in the official publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

§ 39. Patron

(1) A patron is a sworn advocate who supervises the activities of a sworn advocate’s clerk.

(2) A sworn advocate who has granted his or her consent may be appointed as a patron. The sworn advocate’s clerk and his or her patron shall agree on the remuneration of the sworn advocate’s clerk and the mutual rights and obligations of the sworn advocate’s clerk and his or her patron in a patronage agreement which is deemed to be an authorisation agreement.

(3) A sworn advocate may have up to three clerks. The Board may allow a sworn advocate with sufficient skills, experience and means to have more than three clerks.

(4) If a sworn advocate’s clerk has not received the consent of any sworn advocate to be his or her patron, the Board of the Bar Association shall appoint a patron for the sworn advocate’s clerk.

Chapter 4

ADVOCATES’ ACTIVITIES

 

§ 40. Legal services

(1) Legal services mean providing legal counselling, representing and defending a person in court or in pre-trial proceedings or elsewhere, preparing a document for a person or performing other legal acts in the interests of a person as professional activity.

(2) Legal services must be timely and professional and based on profound examination of circumstances, evidence, legal acts and judicial practice. An advocate shall, if necessary, collect evidence in the interests of the client.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(3) Persons who are not members of the Bar Association except for patent agents upon the conditions provided for in subsection (4) of this section shall not provide legal services through or by the medium of a law office.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(4) A patent agent may provide legal services through a law office within the area of professional activities specified in the Patent Agents Act. The management of law office shall ensure compliance of the activities of a patent agent with the requirements for advocates.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(5) If, according to the law, only an advocate may provide legal services or represent a person or if a person wishes to file a claim or complaint in connection with the activity or inactivity of an advocate or law office and the person has not found an advocate him or herself, the Bar Association shall immediately find an advocate who shall provide legal services to the person on the basis of the person’s application. Unless the person in need of legal aid and the advocate agree differently, the advocate shall be entitled to request a fee according to the regular price applied to the services of the respective advocate.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 41. Competence of sworn advocates

(1) A sworn advocate is competent to:
1) represent and defend clients in court, in pre-trial proceedings and elsewhere in Estonia and in foreign states;
2) collect evidence;
3) in the provision of legal services, freely choose and use the means and methods which are in conformity with law;
4) receive information necessary for provision of legal services from state and local government agencies, examine documents, receive copies of and extracts from such documents, unless the receipt of the information or documents by the advocate is prohibited by law;
41) process personal data of a person other than the client received on the basis of a contract or law, including sensitive personal data without the consent of the respective persons if it is necessary for the provision of legal services;
[RT I 2007, 24, 127 – entered into force 01.01.2008]
5) in the framework of provision of legal services to a client, to verify for the client transcripts of and signatures on documents to be submitted to the court and other state offices;
6) act as an arbitrator or conciliator pursuant to the procedure provided for in the Conciliation Act;
[RT I 2009, 59, 385 – entered into force 01.01.2010]
7) act as a trustee in bankruptcy if he or she is a member of the Chamber.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(2) The verification specified in clause (1) 5) of this section has the same legal force as official authentication. If an advocate verifies the principal’s signature on a power of attorney given by the principal, the given verification has the same legal force as notarial authentication. The specific procedure for the formalisation and registration of and statistical reporting on verification acts within the competence of a sworn advocate shall be established by a regulation of the Minister of Justice.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 42. Competence of sworn advocates’ clerks

(1) Sworn advocates’ clerks shall have the competence of sworn advocates within the limits provided by law.

(2) A sworn advocate’s clerk is not competent to perform the duties specified in clause 41(1) 6) and 7) of this Act or represent or defend a client in the Supreme Court unless otherwise provided by law.

(3) Sworn advocate’s clerks may execute the assignments specified in clause 41 (1) 6) of this Act with the actual permission of the Board of the Bar Association.

(4) Sworn advocate’s clerks may provide legal services only under the supervision of his or her patron who is a sworn advocate.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 43. Guarantees to advocates’ activities

(1) In the provision of legal services, an advocate shall be independent and shall act pursuant to law, the legal acts and resolutions adopted by the bodies of the Bar Association, the requirements for the professional ethics of advocates, good morals and conscience.

(2) Information disclosed to an advocate shall be confidential. An advocate or employee of the Bar Association or a law office who is being heard as a witness may not be interrogated or asked to provide explanations on matters that he or she became aware of in the course of provision of legal services.

(3) Media related to the provision of legal services by an advocate are intact.

(4) An advocate shall not be identified with a client or the client’s court case due to the performance by the advocate of his or her professional duties.

(5) An advocate shall not be detained, searched or taken into custody on circumstances arising from his or her professional activities, except on the basis of a ruling of a county or city court. A law office through which an advocate provides legal services shall also not be searched on circumstances arising from his or her professional activities.
[RT I 2001, 102, 676 – entered into force 10.01.2002]

§ 44. Obligations of advocates

(1) An advocate is required to:
1) use all means and methods which are in conformity with law in the interests of a client while preserving his or her professional honour and dignity;
2) notify a client of activities relating to the provision of legal services;
3) maintain a list of matters in which the advocate acts as a representative;
4) store media related to the provision of legal services separately from other media in his or her possession.
[RT I 2001, 102, 676 – entered into force 10.01.2002]

(2) Advocates shall continuously enhance their professional knowledge and expertise.

(3) In the provision of legal services, an advocate shall not acquire the rights of his or her clients.

(4) An advocate shall not provide legal services if he or she provides or has provided legal services in the same matter to a person whose interests are contrary to those of the client or if provision of legal services is prohibited by law.

(5) On an advocate’s own initiative and with the consent of the management of the law office, the advocate may waive the obligations assumed by a contract entered into with a client or to terminate the contract if the client has requested the performance of an act which is in violation of the law or requirements for the professional ethics, or if the client violates any of the essential conditions of the client contract.

(6) Each advocate shall have an e-mail address for the delivery of procedural documents to him or her. One or more advocates may have the same e-mail address as the company of advocates. The e-mail address shall be made public on the website of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entered into force 01.01.2009]

§ 45. Maintenance of professional secrets

(1) An advocate is required to maintain the confidentiality of information which has become known to him or her in the provision of legal services, the confidentiality of persons who request the advocate to provide legal services and of the amount of remuneration paid for legal services. Such obligation shall have an unspecified term and it shall also apply after the termination of the activities of the advocate. Such obligation shall extend to the employees of law offices and of the Bar Association and to public servants to whom an advocate’s professional secret has become known in connection with their official duties. The obligation to maintain the confidentiality of persons who request the advocate to provide legal services and of the amount of remuneration paid to the advocate for legal services does not apply with regard to provision of state legal aid and the fee paid therefor.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

(2) A client or his or her legal successor may, by his or her written consent, exempt an advocate from the obligation to maintain a professional secret.

(3) The obligation to maintain confidentiality shall not extend to the collection of costs for legal services provided by an advocate who participated in a matter.

(4) Disclosure of information to the Board in the exercise of supervision over the activities of an advocate or to the court of honour in the hearing of a matter concerning a disciplinary offence shall not be deemed to be a violation of professional secrecy.

(41) Disclosure of information to the Minister of Justice in the exercise of supervision in the matters of acting as a trustee in bankruptcy shall not be deemed to be a violation of professional secrecy.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force. 01.01.2010]

(5) In order to prevent a criminal offence in the first degree, an advocate has the right to submit a reasoned written application for exemption from the obligation to maintain a professional secret to the Chairman of an administrative court or an administrative judge of the same court appointed by the Chairman. A judge shall hear a submitted application immediately and shall issue or refuse to issue a written permission.

§ 46. Supervision over activities of advocates

(1) The Board of the Bar Association shall exercise supervision over the activities of advocates.

(2) An advocate subject to supervision is, at the request of the Board, required to:

1) appear at a session of the Board;

2) submit documents related to the activities of the law office or the professional activities of the advocate to the Board or a person appointed by the Board;

3) give explanations to the Board or a person designated by the Board regarding his or her activities;

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

4) allow a person appointed by the Board to access the premises of the law office.

(3) In addition to the Board of the Bar Association, the minister responsible for the area shall also exercise supervision over the activities of an advocate in the matters of acting as a trustee in bankruptcy. An advocate over whose activities the minister responsible for the area exercises supervision shall submit documents related to his or her activities and give explanations regarding his or her activities at the request of the minister responsible for the area.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

(4) If a recipient of state legal aid files a complaint to the minister responsible for the area Justice against an advocate who provides or provided state legal aid to a recipient of state legal aid, the minister responsible for the area may transfer the complaint of a recipient of state legal aid for exercise of supervision to the Board of the Bar Association or apply for the conduct of proceedings of the court of honour from the court of honour.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 47. Proprietary liability

The management of a law office and an advocate shall be solidarily liable for damage caused in the provision of legal services. An agreement which excludes the liability of the management of a law office or an advocate for damage caused intentionally or by gross negligence shall be void.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entered into force 01.01.2006]

§ 48. Professional liability insurance of advocates

(1) In order to ensure compensation for damage caused by the management of a law office or an advocate, the management of a law office is required to enter into a professional liability insurance contract on the following conditions:

1) the insurer shall be a company which has permission to engage in insurance activities in Estonia;

2) the insured event involves direct patrimonial damage caused in connection with the provision of legal services by the management of a law office or an advocate, regardless of the place of provision of legal services. Liability for intentional breach of official duties need not be insured;

[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entry into force 01.03.2005]

3) the minimum amount of insurance coverage for one insured event shall be not less than 63 910 euros;

[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

4) in case the insurance contract has been concluded with a deductible, the insurer shall compensate for the full amount of the damage and claim the deductible from the policyholder.

(2) The minister responsible for the area has the right to establish additional conditions for professional liability insurance contracts of a management of a law office or an advocate, in particular concerning insured events, grounds for reduction of the indemnity or refusal to indemnify and the term for indemnification.

(3) Copy of the professional liability insurance contract shall be promptly submitted to the Board of the Bar Association. The insurer shall notify the Board promptly of the expiry of a professional liability insurance contract if the insurer has not entered into a new contract with the policyholder.

(4) Certificates concerning the professional liability insurance of advocates shall be preserved in the Bar Association.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 49. Law office

(1) An advocate shall provide legal services through a law office. Provision of legal services by an advocate shall be the business of the management of a law office.

(2) The management of a law office shall be a company of advocates or a sworn advocate operating as a sole proprietor.

(3) A company or a sole proprietor may operate one or several law offices.

(4) Sworn advocates operating as sole proprietors may enter into an association contract in order to operate a law office.

(5) The relationships between the management of a law office and an advocate shall be determined by a contract.

(6) Another undertaking or branch of a foreign company besides a company of advocates or branch of a foreign company of advocates shall not operate in a law office. Upon violation of the specified prohibition, a disciplinary penalty prescribed in clause 19 (2) 3) or 4) shall be imposed on the management of the law office which is a sole proprietor or a sworn advocate who is the director of the company of advocates and operates the law office.
[RT I 2005, 71, 549 – entered into force 01.01.2006]

§ 491. Termination of activities of law office

(1) The activities of a law office shall be terminated:
1) on the basis of the decision of the management of the law office;
2) upon the death of a sole proprietor who operates the law office or upon the death of a sole unit-holder or shareholder of a company of advocates which operates the law office;
3) in the event of the bankruptcy or liquidation of the company of advocates which operates the law office;
4) if the management of the law office loses the right to operate the law office.

(2) The activities of a law office shall be terminated under the supervision of the Board of the Bar Association. In the case of bankruptcy of the management of a law office, the court shall appoint a trustee in bankruptcy on the proposal of the Board of the Bar Association.

(3) The management of a law office which is terminating activities or advocates operating in a law office which is terminating activities shall immediately notify the Board of the Bar Association of termination of the activities of the law office or of occurrence of bases for termination specified in subsection (1) of this section. Upon the death of a person who operates a law office, a notary who issued a succession certificate shall submit the notification if no other advocates operate in the law office.

(4) If the bases for dissolution of a law office specified in subsection (1) of this section become evident, the management of the law office which is terminating activities or advocates operating in the law office which is terminating activities are required to:
1) immediately inform all persons who have valid legal aid contracts with the law office thereof;
2) ensure that all urgent and absolutely necessary acts are performed on the basis of valid legal aid contracts;
3) terminate valid legal aid contracts and provide assistance to persons who have valid legal aid contracts with the law office in finding a new legal counsel.

(5) If a person who operates a law office dies and no other advocates operate in the law office, performance of the obligations specified in subsection (4) of this section shall be organised by the Board of the Bar Association or a person authorised thereby.

(6) The dissolution documents of a law office shall be preserved by the Board of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 50. Company of advocates

(1) Sworn advocates may found a company of advocates for the provision of legal services.

(2) A company of advocates operate as a general partnership, limited partnership, private limited company or public limited company. A sworn advocate may be a shareholder of only one company of advocates.

(3) The provisions of law concerning a particular type of company apply to a company of advocates unless otherwise provided by law.

(4) The partnership agreement of a company of advocates operating as a general partnership or limited partnership shall be entered into in writing. The partnership agreement shall be appended to the application for entry of the company in the commercial register.

(5) [Repealed - RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

(6) A company of advocates may merge only with another company of advocates.

§ 51. Advocate operating as sole proprietor

(1) A sworn advocate may operate as a sole proprietor in the provision of legal services.

(2) A sworn advocate operating as a sole proprietor shall be entered in the commercial register.

§ 52. Business name

The business name of a company of advocates or an advocate operating as a sole proprietor shall contain the words “law office” or “advocate”. If necessary, the Board of the Bar Association shall verify that the business name of a company of advocates is not misleading to clients and complies with the requirements provided for in § 12 of the Commercial Code. The Board of the Bar Association may require a company of advocates to change its business name.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 53. Area of activity

(1) A company of advocates shall engage in no other area of activity than the provision of legal services.

(2) A sworn advocate operating as a sole proprietor shall not, under the same business name, engage in an area of activity other than the provision of legal services.

§ 54. Shareholders of company of advocates

(1) Only sworn advocates may be shareholders of a company of advocates.

(2) A successor of a shareholder may join a company of advocates operating as a general partnership or limited partnership only if he or she is a sworn advocate.

(3) In the case of the death of a shareholder, his or her shares in a company of advocates operating as a private limited company may transfer to his or her successor only if the successor is a sworn advocate. In other cases, the company of advocates shall compensate the successor for the value of the share within three months after the issue of the certificate of his or her right of succession.

(4) If a successor of a shareholder of a company of advocates is not a sworn advocate, he or she is required to transfer the share within three months after the issue of the certificate of his or her succession. Upon transfer of the share, the shareholders of the company of advocates have the right of pre-emption during one month as of the day when the deed of transfer of the share was submitted to them.

(5) If a successor of a shareholder of a company of advocates who is not a sworn advocate fails to transfer his or her share during the term provided for in subsection (4) of this section, the company of advocates is required to cancel the share and compensate the successor for the value of the share.

(6) If a shareholder of a company of advocates is excluded from the Bar Association or is disbarred, the shareholder shall transfer his or her share within three months. Upon transfer of the share, the shareholders of the company of advocates have the right of pre-emption during one month as of the day when the deed of transfer of the share was submitted to them.

(7) If a person who is disbarred or excluded from the Bar Association fails to transfer his or her share during the term provided for in subsection (6) of this section, the company of advocates is required to cancel the share and compensate the person who is disbarred or excluded from the Bar Association for the value of the share.

(8) If a person who is disbarred or excluded from the Bar Association is the sole unit-holder or shareholder of a company of advocates and he or she fails to transfer his or her units or shares during the term provided for in subsection (6) of this section, the company of advocates shall be dissolved or transformed into a company of a different class.

(9) If a company of advocates has not cancelled a unit or share which belongs to a person who is disbarred or excluded from the Bar Association during the term provided for in subsection (6) of this section or, in the case specified in subsection (8) of this section, the company of advocates has not been dissolved or transformed into a company of a different class, the Board of the Bar Association shall submit an application for the compulsory dissolution of the company of advocates to the registrar of the commercial register. Upon liquidation of a law office, the provisions of § 491 of this Act shall be taken into account.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 55. Contract with client

(1) For the provision of legal services to a person, the management of a law office shall conclude a written contract with the person; the contract shall specify the name of the advocate providing the legal service, his or her authorisations and duties, the form and amount or rate of advocate’s fee.

(2) The management of a law office shall not authorise an employee of the law office who is not an advocate to provide legal services to a client or grant joint authorisation for the provision of legal services to the advocate and a person who is not an advocate.

(3) The provisions of law regulating authorisation agreements apply to contracts with clients, taking into consideration the specifications provided by this Act.

(4) An advocate shall notify the management of the law office of conclusion of an oral agreement. An oral agreement shall not be entered into to defend a client in a criminal proceeding or represent a client in court or another administrative agency. A contract with a client shall be signed by the management of the law office, the advocate who assumed the task, and the client.

(5) If legal services are provided by a sworn advocate’s clerk, a contract shall set out that the task is performed by a sworn advocate’s clerk under the supervision of the patron.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 56. Substitution of advocate in performance of contract with client

(1) If an advocate is unable to perform a contract with a client for good reason, the management of the law office shall appoint another advocate to substitute for the advocate who previously performed the contract.

(2) An advocate may be appointed to substitute for another advocate only with the written consent of the client.

§ 57. [Repealed - RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entered into force 01.01.2006]

§ 571. [Repealed - RT I 2007, 67, 413 – entered into force 28.12.2007]

§ 58. [Repealed - RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entered into force 24.03.2011]

§ 59. Working hours of law offices

(1) The management of a law office shall provide information regarding the office hours of advocates in the law office.

(2) If a law office is not open during the usual office hours, the management of the law office shall ensure that the information regarding the office hours of advocates is in a visible place at the seat of the law office and that the information is made public on the website of the law office or the Bar Association.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 60. Advocate’s fees

(1) An advocate’s fee shall be agreed upon in a contract with a client.

(2) The management of a law office or an advocate shall make the first proposal to the client as to the amount of a fee and explain the grounds for the formation of the fee.

(3) The Bar Association shall not set limits to advocates’ fees.

(4) A client shall pay the management of a law office on the basis of an invoice in the manner and at the time as agreed.

(5) A contract with a client may prescribe that the client pays the costs of legal services and the advocate’s fee in advance. If a contract with a client is terminated before the performance of a duty, the management of the law office shall refund the advance payment to the client after deducting the fee for the work performed and the costs of legal services.

(6) [Repealed - RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 61. Form of fee

(1) A fee shall be determined:
1) on the basis of time (hourly fee);
2) in a fixed amount (flat fee);
3) contingent on the recovery obtained for the client as a result of the provision of the legal services (contingency fee).

(2) A fee shall be paid in money.

(3) On the basis of an agreement with a client, a fee may be determined as contingent on the results of the work of the advocate or other circumstances.

§ 62. Costs of legal services

(1) A client shall compensate for the necessary costs incurred by the advocate or the management of the law office in the provision of the legal services.

(2) An advocate is required to notify a client of all costs.

§ 63. Submission of invoice

An advocate is required to issue an invoice to a client regarding the advocate’s fee and the costs of legal services; the amounts of the fee and the costs of legal services shall be separately indicated in the invoice.

§ 64. Contestation of advocates’ fees and costs of legal services

If a client finds that a claim for an advocate’s fee or the costs of legal services is unsubstantiated, the client may contest the claim in the court of honour of the Bar Association.

Chapter 41

STATE LEGAL AID
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

 

§ 641. Organisation of provision of state legal aid

(1) The Board of the Bar Association or a person appointed by the Board shall appoint an advocate providing state legal aid in every matter of state legal aid. A member of the Bar Association may refuse from the acceptance and implementation of an assignment appointed to him or her in the cases and pursuant to the procedure provided for in the State Legal Aid Act. Upon organising the provision of state legal aid, the Bar Association shall not treat an advocate unequally without his or her consent in comparison with other advocates.

(2) The Board of the Bar Association shall ensure the continuous organisation and provision of state legal aid and reasonable availability of state legal aid. The organisation and provision of state legal aid shall be deemed to be continuous and reasonably available if the appointment of advocates providing state legal aid has been ensured every day in the amount which is necessary for timely implementation of procedural acts and timely participation of the respective advocates in the procedural acts.

(3) The Board of the Bar Association shall ensure that an advocate who has been appointed to provide state legal aid to a person, provides legal services to the person in the same matter until final adjudication of the matter, unless provided otherwise in the law.

(4) The Board of the Bar Association shall maintain records on the matters of state legal aid and provision of state legal aid by advocates. The accounting period shall be a calendar year.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

Chapter 5

RECOGNITION OF PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND ASSOCIATED MEMBER OF BAR ASSOCIATION

 

§ 65. Recognition of professional qualifications

(1) A person who has the right to practice as an advocate on a permanent basis in a foreign state is admitted to the Bar Association as a sworn advocate on the basis of a written application and without passing a sworn advocate’s examination, if his or her professional qualifications are recognised with an aptitude test according to the Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act. The competent authority specified in subsection 7 (2) of the Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act shall be the Estonian Bar Association.
[RT I 2008, 30, 191 – entered into force 01.07.2008]

(2) The Government of the Republic shall establish the list of professional titles which grant the right to practice as an advocate on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union.

(3) In the review of applications for recognition of professional qualifications, the provisions of this Act and of the internal rules of the Bar Association apply with respect to the professional suitability assessment committee.

(4) A fee of 190 euros shall be paid to the Bar Association for the review of an application for recognition of professional qualifications.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entered into force 01.01.2011]

§ 66. Associated member of Bar Association

(1) The right to act as an associated member of the Bar Association (hereinafter associated member) is granted, on the basis of an application, to a person who wishes to practice permanently in Estonia, who is a citizen of a member state of the European Union and who has the right to practice as an advocate on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

(2) In applying for the right to act as an associated member, a person shall submit a certificate issued by a competent authority of a member state of the European Union certifying that the person the right to practise as an advocate on a permanent basis in that member state of the European Union. The certificate shall be valid if it is issued not more than three months prior to the submission thereof to the Board of the Bar Association.

(3) An associated member shall be a member of the general assembly. He or she has the right to vote in the elections of the Chairman and members of the Board. An associated member as a member of the Bar Association and provider of legal services has the rights and obligations provided in this Chapter.

(4) An associated member shall be entered in the Bar Association register according to § 21 of this Act. Documents certifying that the associated member is a member of the management of a law office or a shareholder of a company of advocates in a member state of the European Union shall be included in the advocate’s file.

(5) The Board of the Bar Association shall publish a notice concerning grant to a person of the right to act as an associated member in the official publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entry into force 01.05.2004]

§ 67. Competence of associated member

(1) The provisions of § 41 of this Act apply to an associated member providing legal services, taking into account the specifications provided for in this section.

(2) An associated member has the right to represent or defend a client in court only together with a sworn advocate.

(3) An associated member has the right to represent or defend a client in the Supreme Court only together with a sworn advocate.

(4) An associated member shall comply with the same requirements for and obligations related to professional activity and professional ethics as other members of the Bar Association.

(5) An associated member shall not be required to hold professional liability insurance provided for in this Act if he or she has a professional liability insurance in a member state of the European Union which allows compensation for damages in Estonia in the extent as provided for in § 48 of this Act. A different guarantee which is provided for by law to ensure compensation for damages shall also be deemed to be professional liability insurance. If the professional liability insurance does not cover damages in the extent as provided for in § 48 of this Act, the associated member is required to enter into a professional liability insurance contract in the necessary amount.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 68. Use of professional title by associated member

(1) In provision of legal services in Estonia, an associated member shall use the professional title which grants him of her the right to practise as an advocate in a member state of the European Union. The name of the body who granted such right or the name of the court where the associated member practises in a member state of the European Union shall be added to the professional title.

(2) The professional title of an associated member shall be expressed in at least one official language listed in subsection (1) of this section in a manner which enables it to be clearly differentiated from the professional titles of Estonian advocates.

(3) An associated member shall add the title "Associated member of the Estonian Bar Association" to his or her professional title.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 69. Associated member as member of management of law office and shareholder of company of advocates

(1) An associated member may be member of the management of a law office and shareholder of a company of advocates and may inherit a share of a company of advocates on the same grounds as a sworn advocate. An associated member operating as a sole proprietor may conclude an association agreement to operate a law office on the same grounds as a sworn advocate.

(2) Associated members may be members of the management of a law office on the basis of an association agreement concluded in a foreign state if the parties to the agreement are persons practising as advocates on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union only.

(3) A foreign company operating as a company of advocates or a branch thereof, whose shareholder an associated member is, may also act as a company of advocates.

(4) A foreign company among whose shareholders there are persons who do not have the right to practise as advocates on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union shall not operate a law office.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 70. Supervision and exclusion of associated members from Bar Association

(1) The professional activities of an associated member shall be supervised over and he or she shall bear disciplinary liability on the same grounds and according to the same procedures as the members of the Bar Association.

(2) An associated member shall be excluded from the Bar Association if he or she loses the right to practise as an advocate on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 71. Notification of competent authority of member state of European Union

The Board of the Bar Association shall notify a competent authority of the relevant member state of the European Union of grant to a person of the right to act as an associated member, of commencement of proceedings of the court of honour against an associated member, of disciplinary penalty imposed on an associated member or of suspension of the activities of an associated member, and communicate the relevant information to the competent authority.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 72. Duty to inform

(1) An associated member shall submit to the Board of the Bar Association information concerning the professional liability insurance and his or her cooperation with other advocates. At the request of the Board of the Bar Association, an associated member is required to submit other information on his or her professional activities.

(2) If a competent authority of a member state of the European Union has commenced disciplinary proceedings against an associated member or if an associated member has lost the right to practise as an advocate on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union, the associated member shall notify the Board of the Bar Association thereof without delay.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 73. Conferral of professional title of sworn advocate to associated member

(1) If an associated member has practised Estonian law on a permanent basis for at least three years in Estonia, he or she has the right to a professional title of sworn advocate.

(2) If an associated member has practised in Estonia on a permanent basis for at least three years but has practised Estonian law for less than three years, he or she shall be entitled to a professional title of sworn advocate. In deciding the matter, the nature of his or her professional activities, knowledge and experience of Estonian law and his or her individual development shall be taken into consideration.

(3) In the cases listed in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, a person shall not be required to pass sworn advocate’s exam. An associated member shall submit a written application and information concerning his or her professional activities which certify his or her actual and continuous professional activity in Estonia to the Board of the Bar Association. The Board of the Bar Association may require additional information.

(4) In the case specified in subsection (2) of this section, the professional suitability assessment committee shall interview the associated member to find out the nature of his or her previous professional activities and knowledge of Estonian law.

(5) An associated member shall not be granted the professional title of a sworn advocate if disciplinary proceedings have been commenced against him or her, or if the associated member has, while practising in Estonia, committed a material violation against requirements for professional activities or professional ethics.

(6) If the professional title of sworn advocate has been conferred to an associated member, he or she shall lose the status of associated member.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

Chapter 6

ADVOCATES OF FOREIGN STATES

 

§ 74. Advocates of foreign states

(1) An advocate of a foreign state means a person who has the right to practise as an advocate on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Union and who is not a member of the Estonian Bar Association.

(2) The provisions of § 41 of this Act apply to the professional activities of advocates of foreign states, taking into account the specifications provided for in this section.

(3) An advocate of a foreign state may not practise as an advocate on a permanent basis in Estonia.

(4) In Estonia, an advocate of a foreign state may represent or defend a client in court only together with a sworn advocate.

(5) In Estonia, the requirements for the professional activities and professional ethics of advocates applicable to members of the Estonian Bar Association also apply to the activities of advocates of foreign states.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 75. Use of professional title by advocates of foreign states

(1) In provision of legal services in Estonia, an advocate of a foreign state shall practice under the professional title of an advocate which grants him or her the right to practise as an advocate in a member state of the European Union. The name of the body who granted such right or the name of the court where the advocate of the foreign state practises in a member state of the European Union shall be added to the professional title.

(2) The professional title of an advocate of a foreign state shall be expressed in at least one official languages listed in subsection (1) of this section in a manner that enables it to be clearly differentiated from the professional titles of Estonian advocates.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 76. Supervision over professional activities of advocates of foreign states

(1) Supervision over the professional activities of advocates of foreign states in Estonia shall be performed by the Board of the Bar Association.

(2) An advocate of a foreign state shall have the obligations specified in subsection 46 (2) of this Act. The Board of the Bar Association may require an advocate of a foreign state to verify his or her right to practise as an advocate in a member state of the European Union.

(3) Regarding representation in judicial proceedings, an advocate of a foreign state shall submit a corresponding notice to the Board of the Bar Association.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 77. Commencement of proceedings of court of honour against and imposition of disciplinary penalties on advocates of foreign states

(1) Proceedings of the court of honour are commenced against advocates of foreign states on the bases and pursuant to the procedure provided for in this Act.

(2) The court of honour may impose penalties specified in clause 19 (2) 2) of this Act on an advocate of a foreign state or deprive him or her of the right to practise as an advocate of a foreign state in Estonia. A decision of the court of honour on deprivation of a person of the right to practise as an advocate of a foreign state in Estonia shall take force as of the approval thereof by the Board of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

§ 78. Notification of competent authority of member state of European Union

(1) The Board of the Bar Association shall notify the competent authority of a member state of the European Union of the commencement of proceedings of the court of honour against an advocate of the foreign state or of imposition of a disciplinary penalty of an advocate of a foreign state, and communicate the relevant information to the competent authority.

(2) The Board of the Bar Association shall comply with the requirement to maintain confidentiality while using and preserving information concerning an advocate of a foreign state received from the competent authority of a member state of the European Union.
[RT I 2004, 30, 208 – entered into force 01.05.2004]

Chapter 7

IMPLEMENTATION OF ACT

 

§ 79. – § 80. [Omitted from this text.]

§ 81. Deletion of Bar Association from register of non-profit organisations and foundations

(1) The Estonian Bar Association is deleted from the register of non-profit organisations and foundations without liquidation proceedings.

(2) The provisions of § 53 (3) of the Non-profit Organisations Act do not apply upon the deletion of the Estonian Bar Association from the register of non-profit organisations and foundations.

§ 82. Bodies and legal acts of Bar Association

(1) The Bar Association shall form its bodies in accordance with this Act by 31 May 2001 at the latest.

(2) The authority of the bodies of the Bar Association formed on the basis of the Republic of Estonia Bar Association Act shall terminate after the bodies of the Bar Association are formed according to this Act.

(3) The Bar Association shall bring its legal acts in conformity with this Act by 31 May 2001 at the latest.

(4) Until 1 January 2003, the bases for calculating state legal aid, the procedure for the payment thereof and the rate of fees payable for state legal aid shall be established by the Minister of Justice, after having considered the opinion of the Board of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2001, 102, 676 – entered into force 01.01.2002]

§ 821. Application of restrictions on activities of advocates

(1) An advocate who belongs to the management board or supervisory board of a legal person or is the director of a branch of a foreign company, a partner or shareholder who holds the right of representation of an undertaking or a procurator of an undertaking (hereinafter participation in management) is required to remove himself or herself from the management if participation in the management is not compatible with the professional activities of an advocate or requirements for professional ethics or if it causes reasonable doubt in the advocate’s independence. Participation of an advocate in management shall not impede or damage the professional activities or reputation of an advocate.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(2) An advocate shall notify the Board of the Bar Association of the legal person or branch in which management the advocate wishes to participate in. An advocate shall also notify the Board of the Bar Association if he or she terminates participation in the management of a legal person or a branch. The Bar Association shall maintain records on participation of advocates in management and shall publish the relevant data on each advocate by law offices on the website of the Bar Association.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

(3) The activities of undertakings and branches of foreign companies operating in a law office, except the activities of companies of advocates or branches of foreign companies of advocates in a law office shall be terminated not later than by 1 January 2003.
[RT I 2001, 102, 676 – entered into force 10.01.2002]

(4) By 10 January 2010, an advocate shall notify the Board of the Bar Association of the legal person or branch in which management he or she participates in, regardless whether the advocate has notified the Board of his or her participation in management earlier.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entered into force 01.01.2010]

§ 822. First professional suitability assessment of advocates

(1) The first assessment period in respect of sworn advocates and the senior clerks of sworn advocates ends on 31 December 2006 if five years have passed since their last advocate’s examination before 31 December 2006, and they shall undergo the professional suitability assessment prescribed in § 341 of this Act.

(2) The bases and procedure for the in-service training for advocates which is the bases for the first professional suitability assessment of advocates shall be established pursuant to the procedure prescribed in subsection 341 (2) of this Act not later than by 31 December 2005.
[RT I 2004, 56, 403 – entered into force 01.03.2005]

§ 823. Transitional provisions of clerk of sworn advocate and senior clerk of sworn advocate

(1) Senior clerks of sworn advocates shall pass the sworn advocate’s examination and the re-examination if necessary no later than on 28 February 2018.

(2) Until the term specified in subsection (1) of this section, the senior clerk of a sworn advocate shall have the right to use the former professional title and to act within the competence of senior clerk of a sworn advocate having applied before 1 March 2013, including the right to vote at the general assembly.

(3) If a senior clerk of a sworn advocate does not pass the sworn advocate’s examination by the term specified in subsection (1) of this section, he or she shall be deemed to be a clerk of a sworn advocate.

(4) The persons having passed the examination of a sworn advocate’s clerk before 1 March 2013 may take the sworn advocate’s examination after two years of practice as a clerk of a sworn advocate.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entered into force 01.03.2013]

§ 824.  Specification for implementation of subsection 35 (7)

Subsection 35 (7) of this Act shall be applied to a person whose membership or professional activity has been suspended before the entry into force of this section since 1 March 2018.

[RT I, 04.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 14.03.2016]

§ 83. Entry into force of Act

(1) The right of a sworn advocate’s senior clerk to act as a trustee in bankruptcy specified in subsection 42 (2) of this Act enters into force at a date as specified in a separate Act.

(2) Clause 9 10) and subsection 60 (6) of this Act enter into force on 1 January 2003.

(3) Section 48 of this Act enters into force on 1 January 2003.

(4) Sections 66-78 enter into force into force on a date as specified in a separate Act.
[RT I 2001, 102, 676 – entered into force 01.01.2002]