Netherlands: Advocaat Ben Je 24 Uur Per Dag

Last Updated: 9 July 2018
Article by Frans Crul

Advocaat ben je altijd, zeven dagen per week, 24 uur per dag. Dat is de belangrijkste les die een beginnend advocaat meekrijgt bij zijn beëdiging. Elk handelen van een advocaat, ongeacht of hij daarbij handelt in de uitoefening van zijn beroep, is dan ook potentieel onderworpen aan het advocatentuchtrecht. Dit geldt voor de advocaat die met drank op achter het stuur kruipt (zie bijvoorbeeld, ECLI:NL:TAHVD:2015:32) en ook – weten we sinds 15 december 2017 – voor de advocaat die door de Ondernemingskamer wordt aangesteld als bestuurder (Voorzitter Raad van Discipline Amsterdam 15 december 2017, ECLI:NL:TADRAMS:2017:285, JOR 2018/39).

Bij de klacht die aan de Voorzitter werd voorgelegd draaide het om het volgende. Op 24 oktober 2014 heeft de Ondernemingskamer van het Gerechtshof Amsterdam (OK) een advocaat benoemt tot tijdelijk bestuurder van Holding In den Eng BV (In den Eng), nadat de gebroeders Peter en Leo in den Eng (allebei aandeelhouder/bestuurder) met elkaar in onmin waren geraakt. In de uitoefening van zijn taak als OK-bestuurder heeft de advocaat onder andere een makelaarscourtage betaald en – na toestemming van de eveneens door de OK aangewezen beheerder van de aandelen – aan zichzelf een bedrag overgemaakt als 'voorschot nakosten en zekerheid kosten verweer in rechte'. Dit voorschot was, aldus de OK-bestuurder, ingegeven door de wantrouwige en conflicterende houding van Peter in den Eng. De kans dat de OK-bestuurder na afloop van de enquêteprocedure persoonlijk aansprakelijk zou worden gesteld voor zijn handelen als bestuurder, werd door de beheerder en de OK-bestuurder kennelijk reëel geacht.

De enquêteprocedure is geëindigd nadat de broers In den Eng een minnelijke regeling hadden getroffen. Daarbij zijn alle aandelen overgegaan naar Peter, die daarmee ook weer (enig) bestuurder werd van In den Eng. Vervolgens heeft Peter namens de vennootschap en namens zichzelf bij de Raad van Discipline geklaagd over het handelen van de OK-bestuurder. De klachten zien op de betaling van de makelaarscourtage en het voorschot (aan zichzelf). Door het verrichten van deze betalingen, waarvoor geen rechtsgrond zou bestaan, zou de OK-bestuurder de minnelijke regeling tussen de broers onnodig in gevaar hebben gebracht en daarmee werkzaamheden hebben gecreëerd voor zijn eigen gewin. Hiermee zou de OK-bestuurder tuchtrechtelijk verwijtbaar hebben gehandeld als bedoeld in art. 46 Advocatenwet.

De klacht richt zich dus expliciet op het handelen van de advocaat in zijn hoedanigheid van OK-bestuurder. De Voorzitter stelt voorop dat het tuchtrecht betrekking heeft op het handelen en nalaten van advocaten in de uitoefening van hun beroep en beoogt een behoorlijke beroepsuitoefening te waarborgen. Dat neemt niet weg dat het tuchtrecht ook geldt voor de advocaat die optreedt in een andere hoedanigheid. Ook in die andere hoedanigheid dient een advocaat zich dusdanig te gedragen dat het vertrouwen in de advocatuur niet door diens doen of nalaten wordt geschaad. Doet hij dat wel, dan zal in de regel sprake zijn van een handelen of nalaten in strijd met hetgeen een behoorlijk advocaat betaamt.

Aan de hand van die maatstaf beoordeelt de Voorzitter de klacht en komt tot het oordeel van tuchtrechtelijk verwijtbaar gedrag geen sprake is en dat de klacht kennelijk ongegrond is. De advocaat heeft het vertrouwen in de advocatuur niet geschaad. De vraag of advocaten handelend in hoedanigheid van een door de OK benoemde bestuurder onderworpen zijn aan het tuchtrecht voor advocaten wordt hier aldus voor het eerst beantwoord. Het antwoord op die vraag is dus bevestigend.

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