LAWYER & ETHICS
Law touches every aspect of life more so in commercialized urban cities for example the developing branches in matrimonial, consumer, pollution, intellectual property, health, education, constitutional rights, human rights, taxes fees, revenues, foreign trade, company laws, telecom laws so on and so forth.
Justice is great interest of man of earth. Justice is a supreme virtue. It is in this context a lawyer come into being. The dictionary meaning of lawyer means the member of legal fraternity. We find the reference of the role of lawyer in ancient texts. The word Vakil is Indian nomenclature, which means an agent.
The legal profession existed in Hindu and Buddhistic times and during the Mogul Period. The U.S.A. was the first civilized country to formulate the code of ethics for legal profession. As far as back in 1873, the East India Company had appointed the pleader for civil suits and from time to time their various acts, enactment and regulations were formulated for the legal profession. The Legal Practitioner Act 1879 was enacted for the legal profession. In 1923 Indian Bar Committee was constituted. In 1951 All India Bar Committee was constituted to look into various enactments. Gradually the Code of Conduct was also evolved from time to time for the members of legal profession. And now Advocates Act 1961 is enacted by Government of India. The Bar Association of India announced on 15.1.1962 code of ethics for the legal profession. Under the Advocates' Act an Advocate means an Advocate enrolled under the Act.
Law streams from Soul of people, like national poetry. It is as holy as national religion. It grows and spreads like language. The religions ethics and political elements of contribute to its vital force. It is distilled essence of civilization of people. It reflects the People's soul more clearly than organism. It is said that the civilization of any country is tested by the fact as to how the administration of justice for criminals is administered.
He who practices law is not merely a lawyer but acts as moral agent and that character he cannot shake off by any other character on any professional character. He derives from the belief that he shares sentiment of all mankind. This influence of his morality is one of his possession, which like all his possessions he is bound to use for moral ends. He makes it the supreme object of his life. To cultivate his moral being is his higher aim. Members of the Bar like Judges are the officers of the Court and like Judges, he should be of good behaviour. Nothing, which is morally wrong, can be professionally right.
A lawyer shall not act contrary to basic principles of morality and at all times shall act honestly. He should not render any service or give advice involving breach of law or implying disrespect to the established judiciary. He should conduct himself with due dignity and self-respect and shall assist in the enforcement of law and administration of justice. He is the backbone of the society. In each field and on each step in the legal field we require the morality of the Advocate. Please consider it very seriously. As I said the country need men of character and virtues. We only preach and do not practice. The lawyer and the legal profession and laws have been neglected. Since independence and we are now facing break down of administrative machinery that we have to file proceedings for enforcement of duties.
The lawyer who is moralist spends sleepless night as his conscience pricks him in many ways. More often, member of the public doubt the morality of the advocacy. The professional conduct of the advocate had been the focus of the society on several occasions. Generally a lawyer is perceived as defender of the accused and the general concept of law is only confined to criminals but that is not true. As I said the role of lawyer is very important in each and every field of the life. One of the very important role is that the lawyers are also responsible for teaching of law. In fact, the Bar Council is responsible for imparting law education. The practicing lawyers therefore, teach in law collages. They also play important role in law reform. By reason of his experience gained in the daily application and interpretation of laws, lawyers are best aware of its imperfection of the legal system. And they constitute the most competent class of men to advise on law reform.
Advocacy is the respectable noble profession on the principles. Firstly, the Advocate is not expressing his own opinion. Secondly, Advocate performs on behalf of his client. Thirdly, his primary function is to assist to Court to determine his clients' rights. In fact, Supreme Court in case of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa has observed "Legal Profession is a partner with judiciary in the administration of the justice".
The Advocate owes duty to the client, court, to the society and to the profession.
The Advocate owes a very substantial duty to the person who puts his life, liberty, finances, reputation, or general happiness into his hands. The client 'must rely on him at times for fortune and character and life'. His obligation is to represent his client, any client, no matter how unmeritorious the case, 'no matter how great a ill-reputed the man may be, no matter how undeserving or unpopular his cause'.
When counseling the client, a lawyer can and should express his opinions fully and frankly about all aspects of the case, legal and ethical. The client can insist on having clear and definite advice as to what is going to happen in court and, in many cases, what is going to be reported in the newspapers.
In giving the advice, he should act honestly and in good faith and shall not take advantages of ignorance of the client. He shall devote to the client's cause is executed and skill to the utmost of his ability. An Advocate shall not disclose any matter communicated to him in his professional capacity nor use any knowledge obtained in any other proceedings except with the consent of his client. An Advocate is bound to accept any proof unless there are special circumstances justifying his refusal. An Advocate shall decline to accept a brief, in a case where he believes or likely to be called as a witness. An Advocate shall not refuse the defence of a person accused of crime if he personally feels that he is guilty of crime and once accepted, he has to conduct and defend to the best of his ability.
An Advocate shall not deal with the client's property so as to acquire any interest for personal benefit or gain by taking advantage of confidence, repose in him by his client. He should not lend any money, to the client for any action or legal prosecution. He should not acquire in any manner whatsoever any interest in the subject matter of the litigation. He should not stand surety for his client.
An Advocate shall conduct himself with due dignity and self-respect. He should show due respect to the Judiciary Office and shall not act so as to undermine confidence in Judiciary. He is not supposed to excert any personal influence on the Court nor gives any impression that he possesses personal influence with the Court of Judge.
He shall not render any services or give advice to imply disrespect to the establishment of judiciary. He shall assist in the administration of justice. He should be respectful to the judicial officers and shall not act in any manner to undermine confidence in Judiciary. He should be frank and fair with the Court. He should not make a deliberate wrong statement or deliberately misquote the contents of the document, testimony of the witness, the opinion or argument of opposing Counsel, any of decision or a context in the book, to cite authority and decision, or that has been overruled or statute that has been repealed or amended. An Advocate shall not include any fact, which he knows to be false in drawing up pleadings, petitions or affidavits. An Advocate shall not claim as a fact unless upon evidence on record. An Advocate shall not speak ill of judges or making disparaging remarks or by law unless he is satisfied himself. A prosecution with hostility to the Accused or to secure a conviction at all cause. An Advocate shall try the avoid any remark or question purely calculated to scandalize, humiliate or embarrass.
For the third category, the Advocate shall uphold the Constitution, helping the maintenance of the rules and of law, promote the advancement of justice and assist in the enforcement of fundamental rights of the people. He shall act honestly. The lawyer's right to live and to live by application of his brain operates in the protection of every rights and in the maintenance of every defence authorized by the law of the land is a part of our Constitution. When that right is surrendered, those principles will also suffer. We have seen the era after Independence and seen the development of basic fundamental rights. We have also experience the importance of duties and rights of committed lawyers during Emergency. Subsequently a number of important national issues have been taken up by lawyers and have been effective in maintaining ethics of law. The law must be maintained and enforced, it must be vindicated, but this must be for the healing of the rule of law not for the vengeance upon the individual.
The fourth duty of an Advocate towards the profession is that he shall not speak ill of the profession but shall conduct himself in a such a way as to enhance regard, respect sympathy and strive to maintain the honour and dignity of the profession. An Advocate shall not discuss case or appeal, should not divert or solicit work by advertisement. An Advocate shall not engage intermediaries for procuring work. An Advocate shall not engage himself in any other business or he should not be a full time salaried employee of any firm, corporation, concern. An Advocate may act as an arbitration or umpire. An Advocate is not supposed to wear his uniform, robes or a gown in public or when appearing as witness. He should be fair to his opponents. He should not adopt sharp practices. He should be polite to be opponents.