We enter into a contract in our everyday lives and we are not even aware of it. For example, buying a packet of milk or refilling our fuel tank. For such basic things, we don’t need an advocate to look deep into the matter and check whether the contract is being made or not. But when it comes to property disputes, criminal matters, family matters or any other high-level matters where the usage and interpretation of the laws are essential, we need an advocate to take our case, look into the matter and administer justice. For that, an advocate has to maintain his dignity and honor in front of everyone, stay composed and consider decisions according to the ultimate interest of the clients by proving to the court that his client is innocent. There are various code of conduct, attitude, behavior and certain professionalism that an advocate must possess in order to create a place in the legal world and make money. This research will give you a brief information on how an advocate must react in front of the court and in front of the clients. We shall now look deep into the topic.
The profession of advocate had its foundation around the 12th Century in Europe & the east. This very profession came to existence in England by Henry II. In the middle of the 19th century, there was a committee made for the barristers and it was named Bar. Before that time, they were known as Benchers. In the British Raj, the Supreme Court of Calcutta was established and they allowed legal practicing in India under the Regulating Act, 1773. After that, “The Legal Practitioners Act, 1879” was passed which gave some protection and rights for the advocates, attorneys in the High Courts. To remove various defects in the legal systems that time Indian Bar Committee was set up in 1923 by the British Government. After some recommendations were made to the govt, the committee was named “The Bar Councils Act, 1926”. Still, the act was not extended to the whole of India. After independence the government appointed “All India Bar Committee” in 1953. The committee had various recommendations and suggestions after which The Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted. Professional ethics are now followed under The Advocates Act, 1963, and the Bar Council of India. The BCI and All India Bar is a legal entity and a corporate body. The first function of the act enshrines how a professional of law that gives justice to the people must act and conduct and etiquette throughout the country. We shall have a deep look at the concept.
Duties of an advocate
Legal services and Advocacy are considered as one the noble profession as they serve justice to the people. There are various ethics and etiquettes but the ethics & etiquettes that an advocate must possess for its professional life are different. An advocate is also an essential part of the court to start a proceeding very intelligently. There are several aspects entrusted to an advocate and they are as follows-
Examination, cross-examination or chief examination &
While ensuring these functions, an advocate must alongside act wisely, cautiously, and of course legally. There are certain ethics & etiquettes so that an advocate’s conduct is under control and these enforce certain duties upon them. Ethics are the first stage of society and they are moral philosophy or moral science. Etiquettes are the second stage of the society that ensures an advocate is elite in giving polite arguments and answers. Humans have approached and experienced various ethics in their lives. In fact, every religion teaches them one of their own. Etiquettes are restricted to some extent to some professionals excluding advocates and rules of ethics and etiquettes have some statutory & authoritative powers behind it that if an advocate fails to do so, it is said that he has committed professional misconduct and shall be punished under the provisions of the law.
Duties/ attitude of an advocate towards the court
Advocates are observed as the officers to courts, respected by other different communities, and a gentleman who has to think before acting since he is not only representing himself but the whole legal community and the bar. So, an advocate has to act ethically and morally in a professional as well as non-professional capacity. He has to dauntlessly support the interests and well-being of the client and oppose the other party and also remember the ethics and etiquettes altogether. As a broad guideline, Section 1 of Chapter II of Part IV of The Bar Council of India enshrines the ethics and etiquettes of an advocate.
Duties/ Attitude of an advocate towards the court under the provisions of The Bar Council of India.
Dignity and respect are very common and important aspect while representing the case in front of the court. If a judicial officer suffers serious injuries, an advocate has the right and duty to file a formal complaint with the appropriate authorities.
An advocate must always show esteem and gratitude to the court and not try to influence the decision awarded by the court by meeting outside of the court by any illicit or illegal means such as bribe or coercion since the respect and dignity that is maintained by him is very precious to live in a free community.
The advocate should possess deep respect towards the judge.
An advocate should make sure that he must not act illegally towards anyone or the opposition counsel or any opposing party even if the opposition is a terrorist, rapist, murderer, etc.
Advocate should not represent the client who insists on using unfair means or any illegal things. He should only work according to the studies and he had done in correspondence to provide justice and maintain peace in the society instead of blindly following the words of the client who barely knows the law and try to act in a very unparliamentary way.
An advocate should at all times adhere to the dress code given under the BCI. Other than the dress code prescribed it shall not be considered as the same dignity of him as it should be. In times of covid-19 an advocate appeared in front of the court without the dress code through online medium. He was then humiliated by the bench for not adhering to the rules.
Every profession has a certain dress code and professionals representing certain groups are designated to wear the dress code. The Advocates Act, 1961 enshrines the rules for a lawyer’s dress code to be a black robe or court with white shirt and a white neckband”
An advocate must not take a case or present a case or present against a case of any family member or if any family member is a member of the bar or bench and his father, grandfather, son, grandson, uncle, brother, nephew, first cousin, husband-wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law.
An advocate must not put on bands or gowns in public areas or other than the court premises. An exception to it, in ceremony or if the bar council or the court may allow it to wear at a certain prescribed place.
An advocate should not plead or appear in a case where he is the beneficiary of the financial interests. For example, an advocate should not take a case of the bankruptcy where he is the creditor of bankruptcy.
An advocate must not represent before the judiciary against the establishment where he himself is the member of the same organization, a group, industry or any company.
An advocate should not be a surety of his clients.
The duty of an advocate is to cooperate with the courts.
He must not act strange or speak loudly or laugh inside the court when he is representing a case.
If there are two proceedings, then an advocate must respectfully ask and take the permission to the concerned authority.
While the proceedings are going, he should not leave the court to his friend or his colleague or to the junior without the court’s permission.
In a case, the wife was the judge and husband weas the advocates in the same case. The court ruled that the advocate should not appear in front of his judged wife since the job of the judge is to review a judicial question and the wife might raise the question and the husband might not answer the questions raised by his wife. After the case has been taken in the hands of the advocate, it is his duty as well as attitude that he has to stick with his client and leave no stones unturned by all legal means to prove the innocence of his client and his allegiance towards the client.
Duties/ attitude of an advocate towards the clients.
Advocates' job is a virtuous and a decent one in society. It is a public service. Simultaneously, it is very difficult for an advocate to come into the competition of those beast advocates already holding the position. It is important to win over the hearts of the clients because they want their attorneys to be hard-working and result-oriented. Most of the time clients prefer their advocates to be trustworthy and of workmanship whom they easily can reach and explain their difficulties. Clients prefer their advocates to be polite with them and devote their entire time to them. After the engagement of the attorney and client, advocates must stick to the facts and make out the relevant laws to win the case and the clients as well. The advocate must take the file of the case and start working on it even if the client is present or not and the working of the advocate has to be in correspondence with the opinions of the client shared. There are two kinds of relationship between the client and the advocate:
Ø Contractual Relationship: This type of relationship is a contract-based relation between the two that when the case is awarded the relationship is then ended or it is ended with the time of the contract. In India, clients are generally with the thought that if the advocate is with a strong background only then they come into the relationship. When the cause of the case is heard by the advocate, it is up to him to decide whether he wants to take the case or not. If the advocate agrees, he will charge a fee and if the client is ready to pay the amount, then the contract is made. If the client fails to pay the amount, then the advocate has certain rights relevant.
Ø Fiduciary Relationship: In this kind of relationship, the client approaches the advocate and opens up about a secret or some privileged information that is related to his life then the advocate has to keep this hidden all his life and never tell anyone. Fiduciary Relationship is a kind that never ends Rule 33 of The BCI enshrines that an advocate should not switch the parties and give proper advice to his clients.
Duties/ Attitude of an Advocate Towards the Clients under The Bar Council of India.
An Advocate should accept his payments before appearing in front of any tribunal or a court or in any mediation. The fees must be in the average of his co-advocates. In special cases or situations, the rules may be bent to a certain limit.
After the briefs have been accepted, a duty of an advocate is that to never withdraw from serving the clients in their best interests.
The dignity of the advocate is maintained if the advocate is disclosing all the options, limitations, merits and demerits of the case. He should not sweet talk to the clients that they can win the case or other things. He should also give a disclaimer to his clients what could be the judgements and what could be the consequences after appealing.
Advocate in no case should prove the innocence of the accused or the real culprit. By any means, an advocate must not hide or conceal any material evidence from the court.
Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 enshrines the rules that an advocate must not release or disclose the communication/ advice between the advocate and the client to others.
An advocate must not listen to any other being other than the client or the client’s agent in the matter of the case.
If the case is won, the advocate is not bound to charge any kind of percentage from his clients of the property or from the award by the bench.
The property (Movable/ Immovable) should not be taken for bid/ trade/ conduct any kind of business if it is amidst a legal proceeding.
Any privileged or confidential information disclosed to the advocate should not be used to advantage or in the personal interests of the advocate.
There has to be an account for all the payments done by the clients and it has to be accessible to the client. The account has to be made by the advocate himself. After the proceedings are done and fees have been paid, it is the duty of the advocate to return all the money that is left. He should also provide a copy of all the accounts.
Any advocate who violates these rules and laws is considered that they have violated the professional ethics. And proficient morals are only the responsibilities to be followed by an advocate. These morals are not only to be followed by the advocates but by each and everyone in the society so that the goal of peace and harmony among the people must reach its maximum. The core subject of professional ethics and morals is that the dignity and honor of the legal experts are maintained and there is no chaos in the court between the advocates and the judges. An advocate is considered to be a public servant; so, cooperation with others and fair dealing in every situation are very necessary for advocates. Like every profession or individual has their code of conduct, in the same way, advocates have their code of conduct to present themselves in front of the court, clients, opponents, or colleagues. He must maintain the decorum of the courts and be a marvelous lawyer by presenting the case in the best interest of the lawyer. Only after following these rules, laws, and conducts, an advocate can achieve and be an excellent lawyer.
The Regulating Act, 1773.
Advocates Act, 1961.
The Bar Council of India.
The Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
About the Author Jasbir Singh, Law Student from Jagran University Bhopal - India