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LEGAL PROFESSION AND ETHICS

ABSTRACT

International Bar Association’s International Principles on Behaviour for the Legal Profession lawyers around the world are highly trained professionals who put their clients’ needs above their own and work hard to achieve compliance with the rule of law. They must balance an up-to-date knowledge of the law with service to clients, respect for courts, and the right to a fair standard of living. The Legal Profession is the centre of justice. The lawyer is the one who listens to the party, collects all the legal documents related to the case, and argues the case in court. Without the help of the lawyers, the Judge would have to be superhuman in order to reach the right and fair verdict. Lawyers play a vital role in maintaining the peace and order of the society. C. L. Anand rightly said that the lawyers share with the judge the responsibility of keeping the community in order. The lawyers do not create the polity but maintain it. They are the custodians of the legal order. According to Justice P. N. Sapru, the existence of the counsel is justified because each party to the dispute should be able to present their case before the impartial tribunal in an appropriate and effective manner.


INTRODUCTION

Lawyers also play a crucial role in law reform. Lawyers are best placed to advise on the imperfections of the legal system due to their years of practical application and interpretation of the law. They are the most qualified people to advise on the reform of the law and to encourage popular enthusiasm and support. The most challenging part of the legislative process is the drafting of its provisions. No one is better placed to advise on this than lawyers. The legal profession is a great honour. It is made for the public good. It is not for profit. It is made to give justice to the right people. An advocate is an Officer of the Court. They must maintain a respectful attitude towards the Court, bearing in mind the dignity of the judicial office. The Supreme Court has rightly noted that the legal profession works in tandem with the judiciary to ensure the administration of justice.


WHAT ARE ETHICS?

Ethics are a set of principles and values that govern a profession such as a lawyer. They serve as a guide to ensure correct and ethical conduct in the day-to-day work of the law. Ethical standards cover areas such as: Independence, Honesty, Duty to the client, Duty to other lawyers, Advertising, Client care, Conflict of interest, Confidentiality, Duty to client money, Duty to court, Competency (academic qualifications and training), Requirements for practising (validity of certificate or licence), Duty to third parties, Human rights, Access to justice


NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

The legal profession is, without a doubt, the cornerstone of the arch of government. If that cornerstone is weakened and allowed to be subject to the corrosive and demoralizing influence of those who are driven by craft, greed, gain or other unwholesome motives, sooner or later, the arch will come crashing down. The future of this country depends on the preservation of the shrine of justice, unspoiled and unfurled by the advocates of the law. It cannot be preserved unless the conduct and motive of the legal profession are what they object to. So, it becomes the simple and obvious obligation of the lawyers to utilise their influence in every possible way to help and transform the Bar into what it ought to be. The committee further noted that members of the Bar, like judges, are officials of the court and, like judges, should only hold office on the basis of good behaviour. Good behaviour should be measured and measured by high ethical standards, as necessary to maintain the administration of justice clean and pure. This standard can be expressed in a written professional code of conduct, and a lawyer who does not adhere to this code of conduct should not be allowed to practice law or remain a member of that particular organisation. The challenge facing the legal profession is to address the fundamental paradoxes it faces: Reorganise itself so that ordinary citizens can access legal advice and representation in a more efficient, real and affordable way.

Preserve and, where necessary, defend the best aspects of the old rules:

  • Honour and dignity of the profession;

  • Loyalty to clients;

  • Duty and competence;

  • Disregard of commercial self-interest;

Thirdly, as lawyers are officers of the court, they must serve the court and administer justice.

The fundamental objective of legal ethics is the preservation of the integrity of the law profession; The spirit of friendly collaboration between the bench and the Bar in promoting a higher standard of justice; The legal profession is a profession created by the state for the public good.


THE BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA RULES

The Rules of Professional Conduct and Etiquette of Advocates are laid down in the Advocates Act 1961. Article 49(1)(c) of that Act confers general powers on the Bar Council (Bar Council of India) to lay down rules governing the conduct of Advocates. The rules laid down by the Bar Council (Council of India) are set out in Part IV, Chapter II, of the Rules of Professional Conduct of Advocates. These rules define the obligations of an Advocate before the Court of First Instance, before the Court of Justice, before the client, before the opponent, and before colleagues.

An advocate must always conduct himself in a way that is appropriate to his position as an Officer of the Court, a respected member of society and a gentleman. It is important to note that what is legal and ethical for a non-Bar or non-professional may not be appropriate for an advocate. Without prejudice to the general scope of the above obligation, an advocate must always protect his client's interests and act in a manner that is in accordance with the rules listed below, both in substance and in the letter. However, the specific mention of these rules does not mean that they do not apply to other equally essential but not explicitly mentioned rules.

Chapter II (of Part IV) of Chapter II of the Code of Conduct for Advocates sets out the rules governing the conduct of Advocates of the Court.


CODE OF CONDUCT FOR JUDGES

In order to ensure justice in our society, an independent and honourable justice system is essential. A judge should uphold and uphold high standards of conduct, and personally observe those standards in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the judiciary. This Code should be interpreted and applied in furtherance of that objective. A judge respects and adheres to the law and acts at all times in such a way as to restore public trust in the fairness and impartiality of justice. Judges should not allow their personal relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. They should not belong to any organization that practices discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion or national origin. As a judge, it is your responsibility to perform your duties fairly, impartially, and diligently. You may engage in extrajudicial activities within the scope of your judicial office. You should be loyal to the law and maintain your professional competence in the law. Do not be influenced by party affiliations, or by fear of criticism. Do not serve as a leader or as a representative of any political organization.


CONFLICT OF INTEREST

It is generally accepted that a lawyer has a duty of care to their client. This duty comes with two currently relevant obligations. The first is to ensure that there is no conflict between their duty to their client and their own interests. This means that they cannot make a profit or obtain a benefit at the expense of their client. The second obligation arises when they are attempting to serve two masters, and they require... full disclosure to both masters.

The existence of conflicts of interest has led to numerous legal and disciplinary proceedings. This is an area that lawyers often identify as a problem in their practice. Conflicts are not easy to resolve, as some interests will require the lawyer not to act for the person in question, while others may allow the lawyer to act on behalf of both parties.

In addition, it is an area where there is a conflict between two public interests: the interest in ensuring that clients have complete trust in their lawyers (including the protection of their confidential information), and the interest in allowing the freedom of the lawyer to take directions and to represent the client in a way that suits the client’s interests.

There may also be a situation where the lawyer has split loyalties – owing the court a duty and the client a duty. In such cases, the lawyer is required to comply with his obligations to the courts. This is not what clients understand, nor is it what some lawyers understand, who take the notion of ‘duty to the client’ to the extreme and engage in unethical practices that go against the interest of justice.


CONCLUSION

To sum up, ethical duties are also known as professional ethics, which are the moral values and the fundamental courtesy that every person in the profession should be aware of. These are not just the duties that are required by the Bar Council, but also the basic manners that one should incorporate into their work. These duties include the duty to the Court, the Client, the Colleague or the Opponent. The way in which an Advocate performs his duties defines his commitment, dedication and loyalty to the profession. Law is an honourable profession, and it is the responsibility of every person who is in the profession to be honourable and to conduct themselves in an honest and honest manner. Any deviation from their duties should be treated seriously. An Advocate in the legal profession has many duties towards the court, the client, the judge, the opponent, the colleague, etc.


AUTHOR - Kamakshi

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