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Breach of Professional Ethics by Lawyers

The Indian legal system

India has the second-largest legal profession in the world, with more than 600,000. Most service providers are independent contractors or small, family-owned companies. The majority of businesses deal with domestic legal issues and do business in line with the country's adversarial judicial system. Legal services were conceptualised as a "noble profession," rather than as services, which resulted in the development of a stringent regulatory framework.

The judiciary has backed these ideas, stating that "Law is not a trade, not briefs, not merchandise, and the heaven of commercial competition should not vulgarise the legal profession." These regulations are justified by public policy and "dignity of profession." The Madras High Court determined that, in light of Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, consumer redressal forums have the authority to handle complaints against solicitors in Srinath V. Union of India (AIR 1996 Mad 427).

However, courts have determined over time that "Legal Service" is a "service" provided to clients and that, in the event of a service deficiency, solicitors are responsible to their clients. The Competition Act of 2002's Section 2(U) defines "Service" in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. As a result, it may be claimed that legal services are now governed by trade-related laws, where market forces and consumerism should have full freedom.

The legal profession is evolving

As a result of globalisation, which has expanded country engagement and access to home economies, international trade has experienced a revolution. The legal services sector has seen both quantitative and qualitative repercussions as a result of the same. Over the past 10 years, the corporate legal sector has been subject to more legal impact than the rest of the legal services industry combined.

Before the 1990s, there were "barely any activities in corporate taxation, infrastructure contracts, corporate governance, and investment legislation," as well as in project finance, intellectual property protection, and environmental protection. There weren't many law firms that could handle this kind of work. It is obvious that there is a great need for professional services in the legal services sector.

Over the past several years, the competence of law firms, in-house organisations, and individual solicitors in providing legal services to the corporate sector has grown. These new law firms concentrate on drafting loan agreements, contracts for infrastructure and electricity, agreements for project finance, joint ventures, and technology transfers, as well as agreements for international investments.

There has been a distinct shift in the mindset of the expanding legal sectors towards adopting ADRS to resolve disputes rather than aggressive litigation. As a result, there is a higher need for legal services both domestically and internationally. Today, legal services are a given. At the same time, crucial for the ongoing development of India's legal profession in this period of globalisation.

Sector of legal services

The phrase "legal services sector" alludes to a fundamentally different kind of services from those involved in software development, medicine, or other professional services. Although it is more or less protected from intrusion due to the fact that its historic base is taken from conservative and conventional mind sets that limit the growth of the provision of cross-border services, in addition to laws and the existence of statutory organisations.

The legal services sector is unavoidably bound by jurisdictional limitations, such as the requirement of a degree from the country where the service is to be performed, even on a global scale.

Legal services are divided into many parts, some of which are subject to specific local considerations and others which are not. Local factors that are important must be kept in place where they are present; only exceptions for global market access should be made. Therefore, there is a need to protect national interests on the one hand, while on the other, "there is a need to be a part of a global fraternity and to make advantageous agreements that promote trade in services."

The phrase "Lawyers Professional Ethics to State and Public"

Professional ethics are a collection of rules or guidelines for behaviour that are established by the members of a profession. Every profession has its own set of moral standards. Consider writing articles for a newspaper. Professional ethics dictate that you should have verified the information before publishing the article.

In a word, professional ethics for attorneys in India develop a set of guidelines that specify how they should conduct themselves in the intensely dynamic and competitive industry. In India, attorneys are obligated by law to uphold professional ethics in order to preserve the reputation of their profession.

People are astonished to find that attorneys are required to uphold professional standards and that they are held accountable for dishonest, negligent, and unethical activity. The majority of people are also unaware that Indian attorneys may lose their licence to practise if they are found guilty of unethical action that denigrates their profession. A lawyer must follow the "rules of the profession" in order to serve his client properly and protect the integrity of the legal profession.

The topic of "Lawyers and Ethics"

Non-lawyers frequently use the strong statement "Lawyers are liars" to denounce lawyers or law students. The chance that what the ordinary person assumes to be untrue may not truly be one must be discounted, though. Lawyers, on the other hand, are seen as trustworthy individuals since they have a fiduciary obligation to represent the interests of their clients. Being honest and straightforward means that you won't be taken in by lies, dishonesty, cheating, or any other unethical or unlawful behaviour. That would be seen as professional malpractice if it happened.

There is no denying the relationship between bravery and honesty. A sophisticated and current grasp of the law, as well as outspokenness and other qualities of truthfulness, will strengthen the capacity to stay strong and fearless in the face of hardship and pain.

The refined component of critical thinking, persuasive writing, and communication is bravery. Successful and effective advocates combine great work ethics with consideration. An advocate cannot see oneself as an expert until they have the courage, regardless of how gifted and goal-oriented they are.

The term "lamp of judgement" describes the process of extensively investigating the present circumstance before rendering an informed judgement on it. An advocate should take into account all possible arguments since doing so will help him understand the case's ramifications. By understanding the issue from all sides, the proponents are aware of its benefits and drawbacks. It allows him to anticipate problems and use his other lobbying strategies to resolve them.

Fellowship is one of the most important advocacy torches. An advocate must remain friendly with his colleagues. A supporter of the cause who presents an argument does so in contrast to another supporter of the cause. But they are not at odds with one another because of this; rather, they are just debating the merits of fairness.

Once the courtroom argument is ended, the advocate should show respect to the opposing advocate. Even when arguing their position, a courtroom advocate should show respect for the opposing counsel. They are not attacking each other since the conflict is purely about justice.

Even if an advocate lost the case after the case decision, he ought to show gratitude to the counsel who prevails. It is against professional ethics for an advocate to engage in combat with each and every opposing advocate in the case, since this will turn them all against the advocate.

The duty of an advocate to the profession is to speak well of it, to conduct himself in a way that inspires respect and empathy, and to seek to protect the honour and dignity of the profession. It is forbidden for an advocate to discuss a case or an appeal, distract attention, or make job recommendations.

An advocate is not permitted to find clients by using middlemen. An advocate is not permitted to operate a second business or to hold a full-time salaried position with any corporation, enterprise, or institution.

An attorney can act as a referee or arbitrator. A lawyer cannot serve as a witness or appear in public while wearing a uniform, robes, or gown. He should be fair to his adversary. He shouldn't start using derogatory language. He ought to show respect to his rivals.

Lawyers' Breach of Professional Ethics
Members in this profession have a responsibility to fight for the rights of their customers while refusing to tolerate dishonesty and corruption. The legitimacy and reputation of the profession are determined by how its members conduct themselves. It shows how closely connected the Bar and the Bench are.

Those who have a large lot of obligation imposed upon them by virtue of working in the most credible and reliable profession in society. Dishonourable or dishonourable activity that is unbecoming of an advocate is referred to as professional misconduct. Chapter V of the 1961 Advocate Act addresses the conduct of advocates. It describes clauses relating to penalties for ethical infractions and other offences.

The Advocate Act of 1961's section 35(1) is applicable in this case, according to the proviso. This proviso states that if the State Bar Council receives a complaint or for any other reason has cause to believe that any advocate listed on its register has participated in professional or other misconduct, it must refer the case to its disciplinary committee for determination.

The next section goes into further information about the provisions. Generally speaking, the legal profession is a pleasurable, honourable, and pure vocation rather than a trade or business. Members in this profession have a responsibility to fight for the rights of their customers while refusing to tolerate dishonesty and corruption. The legitimacy and reputation of the profession are determined by how its members conduct themselves.

It shows how closely connected the Bar and the Bench are. Those who have a large lot of obligation imposed upon them by virtue of working in the most credible and reliable profession in society. The Advocates Act of 1961 and the Indian Bar Council do not give a precise definition of professional misconduct because of the Act's scope, but the Act does require disciplinary action when a member of the profession's actions endanger the reputation or credibility of the profession.

What is the recommended code of behaviour for an advocate?
It is required to abide by a strict code of ethics set forth in the bar council regulations.

No soliciting or advertising: Soliciting or advertising work is against the advocate's code of ethics and is improper on the advocate's part. Direct or indirect advertising is prohibited. An advocate is not allowed to market his services by unapproved personal correspondence, touts, circulars, ads, or interviews.

The following indirect marketing techniques are also not allowed:
  1. Publishing circulars or election manifestos with a lawyer's name, profession, and address on them, thereby appealing to the members of the profession practising in lower courts who are able to recommend clients to counsel practising in the HC.
  2. Employing solicitors who represent clients in lower courts directly by visiting the province or sending his clerk or representatives to the several regions to canvass for votes.

A signboard or nameplate for an advocate should also be of a decent size. It shouldn't refer to the advocate's associations, such as the fact that he is or has served in the role of bar council president, is a member of an organisation, has served as a judge or an advocate general, specialises in a particular line of work, or is or was associated with a particular person, group, cause, or issue. not charge anybody for training in order to make them eligible for enrollment; An advocate is not allowed to charge anyone for training in order to make them eligible for enrollment.

Not associate with or use name or professional services for any unlicensed legal practise by a lay agency. An advocate is not authorised to use his name or professional services for any unlicensed legal practise by a lay agency.

Not enter appearance without prior counsel's approval:
A lawyer cannot enter a case in which a party has previously employed another lawyer without that lawyer's approval beforehand. The counsel must explain why such consent was not given in that case, and they are only permitted to reappear with the court's permission.

Duty to opposing party:
A lawyer has a responsibility to act fairly in all circumstances of a case, especially with respect to his client, the court, and the opposition. Only via the advocate for the opposite side may an advocate for one party communicate or negotiate with the other parties on the subject under discussion.

An advocate must uphold any reasonable promises he made to the opposing side, even if they weren't given in writing or weren't legally binding. An advocate has a duty to uphold his client's interests with courage and honour, regardless of any potential consequences for himself or others, because the relationship between a lawyer and a client is particularly fiduciary.

Procedure Was Followed Following The Notice Of Professional Misconduct
  1. If the State Bar Council has cause to believe that an advocate has engaged in "professional or other misconduct," it may take disciplinary action against him "upon receipt of a complaint against him (or suo motu)" in order to exercise the authority granted to it by Section 35 of Chapter V, "Conduct of Advocates."
  2. The terms "legal misconduct" and "misconduct" are not defined under Section 35 or any other part of the Act.
  3. The Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council is authorized to impose punishment, including removing the offending advocate's name from the Bar Council's rolls and suspending him from practice for a period of time deemed appropriate by it.
  4. "The Act requires the Disciplinary Committee to 'afford an opportunity of hearing' (see Section 35), but it does not specify the proscribed procedure.
  5. Instructions on how to carry out an investigation under Section 35 are included in Part VII of the Bar Council of India Rules2, which were drafted in compliance with Section 60 of the Act.
  6. The Disciplinary Committee must consult with all parties involved, including the complainant, the concerned advocate, and the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, or the Advocate General, according to Rule 8(1) of the aforementioned Rules. If oral testimony is found appropriate, it also requires that the civil trial method be followed as nearly as is possible.

Misconduct Is Contempt Of Court
In the recent case of B, the Delhi High Court's Court of Its Own was invoked by the court in a number of judgements. Noting that it had been accorded the full authority granted to a court exercising contempt jurisdiction, M. Verma v. Uttrakhand Regulatory Commission. It was stated in Motion v. State[1] that a "trivial misdemeanour would not warrant contempt action" because "given the wide powers available with a Court exercising contempt jurisdiction, it cannot afford to be hypersensitive."

It is even more crucial to use caution because, as the Supreme Court stated in SC Bar Association v. Union of India, [2]the court serves as the jury, the judge, and the executior. It was emphasised in M.R. Parashar H. L. Sehgal that the court also acts as the prosecutor. In Anil Kumar Sarkar v. Hirak Ghosh, [3]this is reaffirmed. In the divisive and important case of R.K. Ananad vs. Registrar of Delhi HC [4]facts: On May 30, 2007, the TV news channel NDTV aired a segment regarding a sting operation.

A Division Bench of this Court registered a writ petition on May 31, 2007, and on its own initiative ordered the Registrar General to compile any materials that might be available in relation to the telecast. It also ordered NDTV to preserve the original material, including the CD/video pertaining to the sting operation. The story focused on the roles of the Special Public Prosecutor and defence attorney in the ongoing Sessions trial for what is known as the "BMW case."

We need to determine whether Mr. Sri Bhagwan Sharma, "Mr. Senior solicitors R.K. Anand and Mr. I.U. Khan have violated the court's criminal contempt rules. In the current BMW case, it was noticed that, at the at least, their acts and behaviour seemed to be driven by a desire to impede the administration of justice and, more particularly, a desire to have an influence on the outcomes of the ongoing legal procedures.

In order to exercise the authority afforded by Article 215 of the Constitution, Mr. Anand, Mr. Khan, and Mr. Sri Bhagwan Sharma were requested to provide reasons as to why they should not be penalised in line with Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972.

According to the court, the structure of courts fosters awe and respect for the rule of law and the administration of justice. The system for administering justice in line with the law is controlled by the court. During court hearings, a civilised and orderly atmosphere is always expected.

The very sight of a lawyer who had just been found in contempt of court arguing a case or cross-examining a witness on the same day, unaffected by the disrespectful behaviour he displayed towards the court, would diminish and even corrode the majesty of the court while also undermining the public's confidence in the efficiency of the judicial system. This demands that the HC be granted the power to establish regulations that would control courtroom procedures, including the conduct of the attorneys. It is important to distinguish between this power and the capacity to practise law.

The court came to the conclusion that a malefactor who is an advocate's conduct and acts may represent a genuine and immediate threat to the integrity of court proceedings, which is crucial to any court's administration, in addition to being a substantive offence, contempt of court, and professional misconduct. In this case, the court has both the right and the obligation to defend itself.

Therefore, it has the authority to keep the criminal from showing up in court for the required period of time. There was no need to present proof of the correctness and integrity of the electronic materials as the sting recordings' contents were admitted in the current case. In the end, the SC upheld the High Court's judgement that Anand was convicted of the same charge. I U Khan, on the other hand, was released by the SC after being found guilty by the HC.

Behaviour As Misconduct
Vinay Chandra Mishra in re[5] facts: After being questioned in court, a senior attorney yelled at the judge in this case and said that no questions should have been permitted to be asked of him. He promised to pursue an impeachment petition against the judge or have the judge removed. He claimed to have embarrassed numerous judges and put on a good show in court. He asked the judge to follow the protocol of this Court.

He meant to convey that admission is viewed as a course and that at this time, objections are not taken into account. However, this crime affected the institution as a whole in addition to violating this institution's judge. What will happen to this institution if the dignity of the judiciary is not preserved. In a letter, the competent judge alerted India's top justice of the situation. An order to show cause was handed to him.

Did the lawyer engage in unethical behaviour? is found guilty of the offence of criminal contempt of court for interfering with and impeding the administration of justice by making threats, using abusive language, and trying to intimidate, overwhelm, and overpower the court. He was adjudged responsible for the aforementioned offence.

The contestant holds notable positions, including President of the U.P., and is a senior member of the bar. His attitude would undoubtedly spread to other bar members across the country because he is the Chairman of the Bar Council of India and the HC Bar Association in Allahabad. As a result, we think he ought to get a severe punishment. In light of the aforementioned, the defendant Vinay Chandra Mishra is hereby sentenced to three years of suspension of the attorney-client privilege and six weeks of simple jail.

Request For Professional Work:
The Rajendra V. Pa vs. Alex Fernandes and Ors.[6] court found that as permanent career bans are serious sanctions, they must be implemented with caution and judgement. Without a doubt, situations of proven professional misconduct must be handled seriously, and advocates in particular must uphold high standards of probity and morality in their professional lives.

But we are adamant that the sentence meted out to the appellant in light of all the relevant facts and circumstances is so excessive as to disturb the Court's conscience. Except for the incident that formed the foundation of the accusation against the appellant, there doesn't appear to have been any other situations in which he may have defaulted or acted illegally.

There is no doubt that the appellant should not have participated in the filing or defence of a lawsuit in which he had a personal interest given that his family's property was at issue.

Breach "Of Trust By Misappropriating The Asset Of Client"
Using these details as evidence, the court ruled in Baiju v. Harish Chandra Tiwari that the appellant, Harish Chandra Tiwari, had been admitted as an advocate with the State of Uttar Pradesh's Bar Council in May 1982 and had since been actively practising law, primarily in the Lakhimpur Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh. Respondent Baiju engaged the negligent attorney in a property acquisition case where the respondent was a compensation claimant.

The State filed compensation in the sum of Rs. 8118 in the court for the acquisition of the aforementioned Baiju's land, and the Disciplinary Committee described the respondent as "an old, helpless, poor illiterate person."

In response to the court's instructions, the appellant sought the money's release, and on September 9, 1987, he withdrew it. He didn't tell the client that the money had been received or give it back to the customer to whom it was owed. He filed a complaint with the State's Bar Council in an effort to have the appellant subject to proper disciplinary action long after the client knew of it and after the advocate had failed to reimburse the money.

The court determined that among the several forms of misconduct anticipated for a lawyer, stealing from a client's money must be one of the most serious offences. Depending on the situation, the lawyer may need to receive money from the client to deposit in court, accept money from the court that is due to the client, or collect money from the client to pay litigation costs.

In either of these scenarios, it is a trust when the client's money enters his possession. A public employee who embezzles money is subject to a term of at least one year in jail, according the existing Prevention of Corruption Act. He'll surely lose his job, that much is certain. If an attorney takes money from a client, there is no justification for downgrading the severity of the offence.

If the theft only lasted for a little period of time, perhaps the impact of such a breach of trust would be minimised. The delinquent advocate's term can be reduced if they paid it back before the disciplinary process started.

Misconduct; Informing About Bribe
The court supported the bar council of India's ruling dated July 31, 1999 in the case of Hanuman Das Khatry v. Shambhu Ram Yadav,[7] which ruled that since the appellant had been a lawyer for 50 years, it was unreasonable to anticipate that he would engage in judicial corruption or provide bribes to judges. The appellant acknowledged asking his client for Rs. 10,000, and he verbally claimed that an order was afterwards issued in the client's favour.

He wrote the aforementioned letter, and as a result, he is totally incapable of practising law. He should be struck off the list of solicitors kept by the Bar since there is no less severe punishment that we can administer than permanently banning him from the field. No tribunal, court, or other body will longer allow the appellant to present in person.

The appellant must pay a fee of Rs. 5,000 to the Bar Council of India within two months, per the court's ruling. In conclusion, lawyers serve a very important role in society. Since they are a part of the system for delivering justice, they are widely admired and respected in society. Everyone in society is expected to adhere to a defined set of moral principles that apply to all individuals.

After deciding that lawyers' professional conduct violations were unacceptable, the Supreme Court on Monday accepted an apology from a group of lawyers to spare them from serving six months in jail for insulting a Faridabad judge in open court in 1999. Senior attorney Ram Jethmalani's arguments�the attorneys' heartfelt apologies to the high court and to the trial court judge, as well as their commitment to never repeating the behavior�were what stopped the errant law.

Although the apologies were accepted by a bench consisting of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, the legal community perceived it as a harsh yet distressed waming. It claimed that since lawyers' duties were on par with judges', society owed it to them to preserve moral norms.

A lawyer should treat the court, his fellow attorneys, and the plaintiffs with dignity, according to Justice Sathasivam, who penned the bench's decision. Any violation of the rules of professional ethics by an advocate is unpleasant and unacceptable. Ignoring even minor infractions of misbehaviour works against the fundamental principles of the legal system

Because the bench stated that "acceptance of an apology from a contemnor should only be that of an exception and not that of a rule in cases of contempt of court," the Faridabad attorneys should consider themselves fortunate to have avoided punishment for their outrageous conduct.

Books recommended
  1. Indian Advocates Act of 1971, Sanjeev Rao.
  2. Indian Legal History by M.P. Jain, Chapter on the Legal Profession.
  3. The Book on Advocacy by Krishna Murthy Iyer.
  4. The 1971 Act Against Contempt of Court.
  5. Journal of the Indian Bar Council.
URLs accessed:
  • Client Counselling for Tomorrow: Principal Articles, available at
  1. 2008 DLT 695
  2. (1998) 4 SCC 409
  3. (2002) 4 SCC 21
  4. (2009) 8 SCC 106
  5. (1995) 2 SCC 584
  6. AIR 2002 SC 1808
  7. (2001) 6 SCC 1. 165

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