The unsolved perplexity of the legal profession
Tazmim Hossain Mim
Department of law, North South University
The legal profession holds a critical position in the legal system since it presents the principal legally to assist both the litigants and the courts. Lawyers have a supreme duty to the court and the administration of justice. Legal practitioners try to follow the way of ethics in the legal practice to uphold this profession’s respect.
The public is concerned regarding a lack of access to justice, poor results, high costs, long delays, and the impact that practices and procedures of the legal profession; however, many advocates are working onerous to develop these etiquettes and bring back the trust in the profession; however, advocates and judges are similarly facing dilemmas in ethical practice.
The fundamental aim of Legal Ethics is to maintain the honor and dignity of the Law Profession, to secure a spirit of friendly co-operation between the Bench and the Bar in the promotion of highest standards of justice, to establish honorable and fair dealings of the counsel with his client opponent and witnesses; to establish a spirit of brotherhood in the Bar itself, and to secure that lawyers discharge their responsibilities to the community generally.
Bangladesh Bar Council has set some etiquettes for lawyers; for instance, Conduct concerning other advocates, Conduct concerning clients, Duty to the court, Conduct about public generally. According to the Conduct concerning other Advocates, every advocate must maintain his profession’s honesty and sustain its dignity. The advertisement of the profession is prohibited for an advocate. An advocate should not apply any unlawful way to benefit from professional employment or to take other clients. According to Conduct with regard to Clients, An advocate is obliged to be loyal and honest to his client. A lawyer should respect the client’s freedom to avoid representing any conflict of interest with the client. If he has any relation with the opposing party on a subject matter related to his client, he should disclose that before taking the case. According to the Conduct of Duty to the Court, an Advocate must maintain a respectful attitude towards the court, not for the judicial officer’s temporary duty, but to maintain its utmost importance. According to the Conduct of Duty to Public Generally, an Advocate should always treat opposing witnesses and parties with fairness and due consideration. The client has no right to claim that his advocate will abuse the other party or insult or make offensive arguments. An advocate must be sure to handle or defend a civil cause when it is merely intended to harass or injure the opposite party or any harassment or injustice.
There are many more a legal practitioner has to follow during their professional practice. If an advocate only follows the etiquettes of the Bar Council they are sometimes failures to their clients.
When a civil citizen asks for legal help from an advocate, they always tend to win the case. Whether they are morally right or not, they only care about their benefits. A lawyer has to handle a case from both a petitioner’s or respondent’s side or as prosecution or defense. Clients always demand the best use of clients interest. If a lawyer only cares about the clients, they must have to breach the ethical code of conduct. Moreover, if they follow the ethics, then clients are always ready to blame the legal practitioners.
Lawyers cannot represent clients if they have a conflict of interest. Here, the ethical issues began for lawyers in the same firm since they cannot represent clients with opposing interests. Even if there is no direct conflict of interest, the fact that another advocate does might prohibit representation that could lead to complications for the lawyer or the firm he or she may represent. The duty that lawyers have is nearly innumerous. Not only are Lawyers forced to stick to the specific guidelines of the Bar, but they also have to create a relationship with each client by giving them a trusting environment.
Generally, if we talk about the scenario of Bangladesh, this profession faces much public criticism. This profession faces jokes like “Lawyers are liars” or “lawyers only care about money,” or being a lawyer is not prestigious. As a result, when someone who is ambitious about his/her profession cannot stick to be a proper lawyer, they are often in a dilemma about what duty they need to concentrate on or how they can uphold this profession.
Also, there is a widespread belief that lawyers manipulate their legal knowledge to the advantage of their clients to get unreasonable payment from clients. “It is the right of an Advocate to undertake the defense of a person accused of a crime, regardless of his personal opinion as distinguished from knowledge as to the guilt of the accused…” here, the advocate might have the firm belief that the person asking for legal help is responsible for the most heinous crimes, but that does not mean that he should not take the case. Legally he is free to represent to the court. Furthermore, if he chooses to do so, then he must (not should) take full trump card of the technicalities laws have to offer. So, it becomes truly tough here to maintain the duty to the court and the client.
Lawyers have to maintain the duty to the court and represent themselves as ethical Lawyers, but if they want to take clients’ duty, it is not easy. For instance, if a defendant was absent in a civil matter to appear before the court and ignored “summons,” then as his attorney, you need to file an application under Limitation Act, 1908 with a false but valid reason for not appearing before the court to set aside the ex-party Decree against him.
Ethics performs an integral role in assuring that the Conduct of lawyers engages the necessity of a fit and proper person and protects the public from unprincipled lawyers. Nevertheless, it becomes both sides puzzle to solve. The urgency of upholding the legal profession and bring back the trust in it becomes the key to a well-organized judiciary. If society always blames legal practitioners, it is not easy to uphold the profession. To solve the dilemma, we all need to put equal contributions otherwise we cannot expect a society with ethical legal