On November 27, 2019, the Board of the Azerbaijani Bar Association delivered a decision to suspend the activity of the lawyer Shahla Humbatova and applied to the court for her disbarment.
The reason for the decision was that the lawyer Shahla Humbatova submitted falsificated receipt to the court, received the lawyer fee from the applicant in public catering establishments, did not appear in the court proceedings without good reason and did not pay membership fees to the Bar Association for more than 6 months (Note: according to the Law “On lawyers and legal practice”, failure to pay membership fees without good reason for the period of more than six months is the basis for the termination of the activity of the lawyer.)
As for the circumstances of the case, it must be underlined that citizen R.G. filed an complaint to the Board with a request to take appropriate measures regarding the lawyer Shahla Humbatova and stated that although she had paid a total of 1,300 manats to the lawyer for inquiries and participating in the court proceedings, Shahla Humbatova had not given her a receipt, even had asked her to sign blank papers, had submitted documents to the court about compensating damages of 3,000 manats with regard to lawyer's fee, which had paid the lawyer at the “McDonalds” and “Mado” cafes. The lawyer had not appeared in the court, in addition to this, R.G. indicated amongst others that the disputed flat had not been transferred to her ownership due to the late submission of the statement of claim and documents to the court by the lawyer.
The Disciplinary Commission came to the conclusion that the section II, III of Article 1, section I of article 5, section I of article 16, article 18 of Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On lawyers and legal practice”, the clauses 1.2, 1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5 of the Statue "On the rules of conduct of lawyers" and the clause 5.13 of the Charter of the Azerbaijani Bar Association were violated by lawyer Shahla Humbatova, since despite the fact that R.G. did not pay 3,000 manats, the lawyer wrote a receipt for payment of this amount and presented it to the court as proof and always referred to this proof to the end of the court proceedings as the basis of the applicant's claim, did not pay the membership fees without good reason for the period of more than six months.
On the other hand, the lawyer Shahla Humbatova appealed to the Board with the request that she was not be able to proceed her nine cases due to the suspension of her lawyer activity and asked for permission to complete these cases.
Invited to the meeting of the Presidium on 04.12.2019, Shahla Humbatova stated that she had submitted the falsificated receipt to the court on the basis of the client's instructions. During the Board meeting she admitted that she had committed the violation of the law.
Besides, with regard to that decision of the Board on disciplinary measure, completion of nine cases mentioned in Shahla Humbatova's application was allowed.
Meanwhile, it has recently been reported on some media outlets (rating.az, turan.az) that 4 international human rights organizations (Freedom House, Civil Rights Defenders, International Partnerships for Human Rights, Lawyers for Lawyers) have submitted a joint appeal to the Bar Association regarding the case of lawyer Shahla Humbatova. In this regard, we emphasise that the information stated is false and regarding this matter, the Bar Association has not received any appeal.
The Azerbaijani Bar Association reiterates that, termination of a lawyer's membership is subject to the review and jurisdiction of a domestic court under the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On lawyers and legal practice”. To this respect, the media shall refrain from spreading distorted news when sharing information regarding the matter.