Legal Ethics and Statutory Sanctions | Legal Ethics Series

Legal Ethics

Every legal practitioner obligations arise from jurisdiction-specific legislations or professional rules. Therefore misconduct by the professionals are mostly dealt by the law committees, societies etc. There are many current reforms which have occurred in this field as the consumers are parts of the complaints process. It has crossed all the jurisdiction limits. Professional misconduct in common law can be defined as a conduct in the  profession which can reasonably considered as disgraceful or dishonourable i.e. against the good repute of the profession. In legal profession the ambit has been kept wide to include different misconducts from time to time. In legal profession, the misconduct is the mostly the consistent failure to observe the reasonable competence and diligence in the profession. Liability under general law to clients for breach of the duty of competence, care and skill, have complemented, and in some instances acted as an alternative, to the regulatory framework provided by the courts and professional bodies.

A practising legal professional has different obligations. An obligations to remain faithful to the client till the last, an obligation not to damage the name of the profession by anything done by him and obligation to remain an indispensable part of the justice system through whom the justice can be administered. For example- whenever there is cross examination of any witnesses, the counsel has to act thinking in his mind that he is there on behalf of the clients as well as the court. Any kind of ill feelings between the lawyer and the client should not disturb the procedure of dispensing justice.

Ancient legal texts including Manusmriti, Arthashastra, Quran refers to the law, advocates, judges and courts. Law and lawyers existed and played an important role at all times, even in ancient period. The system underwent certain changes during medieval and the period of British rule. Our present legal system including the judicial is to a large extent based upon the British legal and judicial system. Legal profession has underwent various changes which include many during the British period. An advocate has to follow the things in letter and spirit. He has to think himself that he is a privileged person of the society who has been given the responsibility to think of the non-Bar members of the society before appearing before the court. A lawyer being a member of the legal profession owes certain duties towards the society, court and country at large. The sources of such duties including code of ethics, statutes like Advocate’s Act, Bar Council of India Rules, etc. A lawyer who does not follow ethical and other rules of professional conduct can be censured and can also be suspended from law practice or even disbarred. The Bar Council, University Grants Commission and the 184th Law Commission Report has contributed a lot to the building of legal ethics. The Bar Council of India has framed standard of conduct and etiquette of the Bar. They are called rules, and have been made is exercise of its rule making power under secs. 49(1)(c) of 1961. These are statutory rules, binding and enforceable. These rules have been printed in full in the Appendix 2 and may be seen, and read there.



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