The Honor Court of the Estonian Bar Association has launched, on its own initiative, proceedings against attorney Maria Mägi-Rohtmets in order to probe, in connection with the photo scandal surrounding Reform MP Marko Mihkelson, the compliance of publicly commenting on a closed court case with the Bar Association's Code of Ethics.
According to Estonian Bar Association President Imbi Jürgen, professional ethics impose higher standards on a lawyer than on their client.
"An attorney is required and entitled to use in the interests of the client only those means and ways that are not against the law or the rules of professional ethics," Jürgen said, citing § 8 of the Code of Ethics.
"If a client requests behavior from an attorney that is against the law or the honor and dignity of the attorney, the attorney must first explain the possible consequences of these demands to the client," she continued. "Should the demands persist, they have the right to terminate the legal service agreement with the client."
Launching Honor Court proceedings does not automatically mean that a breach of ethics has occurred; whether or not a breach of ethics has taken place is determined in the course of Honor Court proceedings.
The Honor Court will issue a reasoned decision within a period of six months; on compelling grounds, the Honor Court has the right to extend proceedings by three months, the Bar Association said Friday.
Last Thursday, daily Postimees and thereafter other publications published stories claiming that Reform MP and Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee chair Marko Mihkelson had taken photos of his wife and her children, some of which were inappropriate. According to information published in the media, the Mihkelson family and the father of the MP's wife's children have been engaged for years in various disputes.
Attorney Maria Mägi-Rohtmets, the lawyer representing the children's father, is among those who have commented in the media on the matter.
Editor: Aili Vahtla