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Professional Ethics And Accountancy For Lawyers

Professional Ethics consist of an ethical code of conduct of persons in the field of legal sector and persons who practice the law. People of the legal profession have the duty to the court and to administer justice . it is important for the legal practitioners to act on the basis of integrity, give assistance to the court, and even to promote the public faith in the legal system.

While performing their duties they have to deal with other persons of the legal profession with integrity and courtesy. Advocates are also known as the officers of the court who play an important role in the administration of justice for the people. The code of conduct for advocates defines the rules of advocates conduct and principles of advocating ethics.

The rules that govern the professional conduct comes out from the duties that they owe to the court, the client, their opponents and other advocates. Our society depends upon the rule of law, advocate performs a special role . Advocate is called to serve both the interest of justice and those rights and privileges that are entrusted to him/her to defend the rights of his/her client.

Advantages of having codified professional ethics

1. It will keep the advocates up with the new perspectives brought to the profession according to the social requirements and expectations. The dignity of the profession will be required to be maintained in order to retain the trust of the public in it.
2. Ethical codes prevent interference of government . If a degree of standardization is needed, it will keep Governmental interference outside.
3. Ethical codes are important in developing higher standards of conduct. The code also brings about a sense of judgment towards the profession.
4. The existence of the code will have great educative, corrective and appreciable value for both the lawyers and the common men.

In India the legal profession was originated during the British Rule as earlier there was no existence of the legal profession during the Hindu Rule and Mughal Dynasty period. At that period of the administration of justice was in the hands of the king and the king court was treated as the highest court of the country. The king was respected as the representative of the god who would render justice to the people. No one could appeal against the order of the king , persons disobeying the king’s order was charged with sedition.

The salient features of The Advocates Act 1961 were:

1. Combined all the existing laws on the legal profession.
2. Provisions for Bar Council of India at Central Level and State Bar Council in each state.
3. Provisions for similar roll of Advocates throughout India.
4. Empower advocates whose name is in similar roll to practice in all courts of India.
5. The difference between the Advocates and Vakil was removed, people who practiced Law were known as Advocates.
6. Provisions to confer status as Senior Advocate-(having extraordinary knowledge in field of law).
7. Autonomous status to Bar Councils.

Rules on the professional standards that an advocate needs to maintain are mentioned in Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules. These rules have been placed there under section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961.

Rules on an Advocate’s duty towards the court:

1. To Act in a proper manner

An advocate must behave in a proper/safety manner during the time of his case as well as while acting before the court. He should conduct himself with self-respect. Whenever there is a ground for complaint against a judicial officer, the advocate has a duty to submit his grievance to the concerned authority.

2. Respect the Court

The advocate must show respect towards the Court. He has to keep in mind the dignity and respect towards the judicial officer.

3. No communication in private

The advocate should not communicate with the judicial officer in private regarding any matter pending before the court. The advocate should not influence the decision of a court in any matter through illegal acts such as coercion, bribe, etc.

4. Refusal to act in an illegal manner towards the opposition

An advocate should not act in an illegal manner towards the opposing counsel. He should use his best effort to restrain his client from acting in an illegal manner or perform any unfair practice towards the judiciary, o to the opposing counsel.

5. Refusal to represent clients who insists in any unfair means of practice

An advocate shall refuse to represent the client who insists on using unfair or improper means. He shall be respectful in using his language in correspondence and arguments in the court. He shall not damage the reputation of the parties on false grounds during the pleadings.

6. Appear in proper dress code

The advocate should be present at all times in the court only in the proper dress code prescribed by the Bar Council of India Rules, and the dress code must be presentable.

7. Not to appear in matters with financial interest

The advocate should not act on behalf of any matter in which he has a financial interest. He should not accept a brief from a company in which he is a Director.

8. Not to stand as surety for the clients

The advocate should not stand as a surety for his client, or certify the soundness of a surety that his client requires for the purpose of any legal proceedings.

Advocate’s duties towards his client:

1. Bound to accept briefs.
2. Not to withdraw from service.
3. Not to appear in matters in which he is a witness.
4. Full and frank disclosure to the client.
5. Uphold interest of the client.
6. Not to suppress any material of evidence.
7. Not to disclose any information of his client and himself.
8. Not to receive any interest in actionable claim.
9. Not to charge depending on the success of matters..
10. Keep proper accounts etc.

Advocate’s duty towards his opponent counsel:

1. Not to negotiate directly with opposing party
The advocate should not in any way directly communicate with the opposing party regarding any matter of the case except through the advocate representing the party.

2. Carry out legitimate promises made
The advocate should make best of all possible legitimate promises made to his party.

3. Other duties:-
· Not advertise or solicit work.
· Sign board and nameplate must be of reasonable size.
· Not promote an unauthorized practice of law.
· Obtain the consent of the fellow advocates in some cases.

State Bar Council and its Disciplinary Committee:

Section 35 of the Advocates Act deals with the provisions regarding formulation and functioning of Disciplinary Committee under the State Bar Council. Under this, if any legal practitioner is found guilty of any professional misconduct, after providing an opportunity of being heard may make any of the following orders:
1. Dismiss the complaint
2. Scold the advocate
3. Suspend the advocate for a period as it may deem fit;
4. Remove the name of the advocate from the State roll of advocates.

In the case of Nortanmal Chauaisia v. M.R. Murli, the Supreme Court held that the term Misconduct had not been defined under the Advocates Act. But the term refers to the breach of discipline, although it would not be possible to lay down what would lead to misconduct or indiscipline, which is very wide enough to include wrongful act, whether done intentionally or unintentionally. It also means improper behavior, intentional wrongdoing or violation of a rule of the standard of behavior.

Professional ethics are the duties that are must to be followed by an advocate in his profession. They are referred as the moral duties which every person in this field should have knowledge. An advocate who don’t work with sincerity and do not follow the rules of conduct is said to have violated the code of ethics of this profession. The main aim of legal ethics is to maintain honor, dignity of the legal profession to ensure the spirit of friendly co-operation, fair dealing of the counsel with their clients and also to secure the responsibilities of the lawyers towards the society.

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