Ethics of Legal Profession
The profession of law is honourable, and its members are expected to act in an honest and upright manner, and any deviation from these elementary principles is liable to e dealt with severely.
An advocate practising law is under a triple obligation:
An obligation to his clients to be faithful to them till the last, an obligation to the profession not to besmirch its name by anything done by him, and an obligation to the court to be and to remain a dependable part of the machinery through which justice is administered. It is beyond the scope of treatise on legal ethics to describe the aims and uses of examinations of witnesses or to state the rules as to how evidence shall be recorded. In examining witnesses the advocate should not forget that he is not merely the counsel of client but also an officer of the Court to further the ends of justice. Similarly, the advocate should maintain towards his opponent utmost cordiality. Clients and not counsels are litigants. The ill-feelings between clients should not be allowed to influence the conduct of their counsel. Says Daniel Webster: “lawyers on opposite sides of a case are like the two parts of shears, they cut what comes between them, but not each other”
In the same way, Law being a fraternity, the profession is entitled to loyal support of its members in the maintenance of this tradition. There are certain duties of advocates towards his profession also; like, professional courtesy, co-operation, equal consideration to all members of the profession, encourage junior brethren, should stand up for its dignity and privileges whenever there is occasion for it, he should expose corrupt or dishonest conduct in the profession. Similarly advocates should also owe certain duties towards his colleagues which is analysed in subsequent pages.
In the words of Chief Justice Marshall has observed;
“the fundamental aim of Legal Ethics is to maintain the honour 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 honourable 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.”
Legal profession is not a business but a profession. It has been created by the state for the public good. Consequently, the essence of the profession lies in the three things-
- Organisation of its members for the performance of their function ;
- Maintenance of certain standards, intellectual and ethical for the dignity of the profession;
- Subordination of pecuniary gains to efficient services.
The codification of the canons of the professional ethics may give impression that the code is exhaustive while in reality it cannot be exhaustive. It has been rightly stated by P.Ramanatha Aiyer and N.S. Ranganatha Aiyer that it is not possible to formulate a …