Duties of an Advocate towards his Client in India

Advocate has fiduciary relationship with his client. He has to serve the interest of his client by protecting him in the litigation to the best of this capacity and ability in the court of law. He is not only an agent for his client rather something more than that. Although the relationship of an advocate with his client is of contractual nature still it involves the highest order of trust and confidence. Although their relationship is akin to that of an agent and principal, but it is essentially a relationship of faith and fidelity.

Section 11 of the Bar Council of India Rules provides for the duties of advocates towards his clients. According to Bar Council of India Rules as provided hereunder following are the duties of an advocate towards his client:

Rule 11. An advocate is bound to accept any brief in the Courts or Tribunals or before any authority in or before which he professes to practise at a fee consistent with his standing at the Bar and the nature or the case. Special circumstances may justify his refusal to accept a particular brief.

Rule 12. An advocate shall not ordinarily- withdraw from engagements once accepted without sufficient cause and unless reasonable and sufficient notice is given to the client. Upon his withdrawal from a case, he shall refund such part of the fee as has not been earned.

Rule 13. An advocate should not accept a brief or appear in a case in which he has reason to believe that he will be a witness and if being engaged in a case, it becomes apparent that he is a witness on a material question of fact, he should not continue to appear as an Advocate if he can retire without jeopardising his client’s interests.

Rule 13. An advocate shall, at the commencement of his engagement and during the continuance thereof, make all such full and frank disclosures to his client relating to his connection with the parties and any interest in or about the controversy as are likely to affect his client’s judgment in either engaging him or continuing the engagement.

Rule 15. It shall be the duty of an advocate fearlessly to uphold the interests of his client by all fair and honourable means without regard to any unpleasant consequences to himself or any other. He shall defend a person accused of a crime regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, bearing in mind that his loyalty is to the law which requires that no man should be convicted without adequate evidence.

Rule 16. An advocate appearing for the prosecution in a criminal trial shall so conduct the prosecution that it does not lead to conviction of the innocent. The supression of material capable of establishing the innocence of the accused, shall be scrupulously avoided.

Rule 17. An advocate shall not directly or indirectly, commit a breach of the obligations imposed by Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Rule 18. An advocate shall not, at any time, be a party to fomenting of litigation.

Rule 19. An advocate shall not act on the instructions of any person other than his client or his authorised agent.     

Rule 20. An advocate shall not stipulate for a fee contingent on the results of litigation or agree to share the proceeds thereof.

Rule 21. An advocate shall not buy or traffic in or stipulate for or agree to receive any share or interest in any actionable claim. Nothing in this Rule shall apply to stock, shares and debentures or Government securities, or to any instruments which are, for the time being, by law or custom negotiable, or to any mercantile document of title to goods.

Rule 22. An advocate shall not, directly or indirectly, bid for or purchase, either in his own name or in any other name, for his own benefit or for the benefit of any other person, any property sold ‘in the execution of a decree or order in any suit, appeal or other proceeding in which he was in any way professionally engaged. This prohibition, however, does not prevent an advocate from bidding for or purchasing for his client any property which his client may himself legally bid for or purchase, provided the advocate is expressly authorised in writing in this behalf.

Rule 23. An advocate shall not, adjust fee payable to him by his client against his own personal liability to the client, which liability does not arise in the course of his employment as an advocate.

Rule 24. An advocate shall not do anything whereby he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client.

Rule 25. “An advocate should keep accounts of the clients, money entrusted to him, and the accounts should show the amounts received from the client or on his behalf, the expenses incurred for him and the debits made on account of fees with respective dates and all other necessary particulars.

Rule 26. Where moneys are received from or’ on account of a client, the entries in the accounts should contain a reference as to whether the amounts have been received for fees or expenses, and during the course of the proceedings, no advocate shall except with the consent in writing of the client concerned be at liberty to divert any portion of the expenses towards fees.

Rule 27. Where any amount is received or given to him on behalf of his client, the fact of such receipt must be intimated to the client as early as possible.

Rule 28. After the termination of the proceeding the advocate shall be at liberty to appropriate towards the settled fee due to him any sum remaining unexpended out of the amount paid or sent to him for expenses, or any amount that has come into his hands in that proceeding.

Rule 29. Where the fee has been unsettled, the advocate shall be entitled to deduct, out of any moneys of the client remaining in his hands, at the termination of the proceedings for which he had been engaged, the fee payable under the rules of the Court in force for the time being, or by then settled and the balance, if any, shall be refunded to the client.

Rule 30. A copy of the client’s account shall be furnished to him on demand provided the necessary copying charge is paid.

Rule 31. An advocate shall not enter into arrangements whereby funds in his hands are converted into loans.

Rule 32. An advocate shall not lend money to his client, for the purpose of any action or legal proceedings in which he is engaged by such client.

Explanation:- -An advocate shall not be held guilty of a breach of this rule, if in the course of a pending suit or proceeding, and without any arrangement with the client in respect of the same, the advocate feels compelled by reason of the rule of the Court to make a payment to the Court on account of the client for the progress of the suit or proceedings.

Rule 33. An advocate who has at any time, advised in connection with the institution of a suit, appeal or other matter or has drawn pleadings or acted for a party, shall not act, appear or plead for the opposite party.

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