CANONS OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND ETIQUETTE
[Framed in exercise of the power conferred on the Bangladesh Bar Council by Section 48 (q) of the Legal Practitioners & Bar Council Act, 1965 and adopted by a resolution of the Bar Council on the 5th January, 1969.] [Vide Article 44 (g)]
WHEREAS the rule of law is an essential feature of civilized society and a pre-condition for realizing the ideal justice;
AND WHEREAS such a society affords to all citizens the equal protection of law and thereby secures to them the enjoyment of their lives, property and honor;
AND WHEREAS an indispensable condition of such protection of the rights of citizens is the existence in society of a community of Advocates, men learned in the law and respected as models of integrity, imbued with the spirit of public service and dedicated to the task of upholding the rule of law and defending at all times, without fear or favor, the rights of citizens;
AND WHEREAS by their efforts Advocates are expected to contribute significantly towards the creation and maintenance of conditions in which a government established by law can function fruitfully so as to ensure the realization of political, economic and social justice by all citizens;
AND WHEREAS in order effectively to discharge these high duties Advocates must conform to certain norms of correct conduct in their relations with members of the profession, their clients, the courts and the members of the public generally;
CONDUCT WITH REGARD TO OTHER ADVOCATES
- It is the duty of every Advocate to uphold at all times the dignity and high standing of his profession, as well as his own dignity and high standing as a member thereof.
- An Advocate shall not solicit professional employment by advertisement or by any other means. This clause shall not be constructed as prohibiting the publication or use of ordinary professional cards, name plates or conventional listings in directories, so long as the information contained therein is limited to professional and academic qualifications and public offices currently held, and does not contain any matter which savors of personal advertisement.
- An Advocate shall not employ any other person to solicit or obtain professional employment nor remunerate another for soliciting or obtaining professional employment for him; nor shall he share with an unlicensed person any comprehension, arising out of or incidental to professional employment, nor shall he aid or abet an unlicensed person to practice law or to receive compensation thereof; nor shall he knowingly accept professional employment offered to him as a result of or as incidental to the activities of an unlicensed person.
- An Advocate shall not communicate about a subject of controversy with a party represented by an Advocate in the absence and without the consent of such Advocate.
- An Advocate shall not, in the absence of the opposing counsel communicate with or argue before a judge or judicial officer except in open court and the merits of a contested matter pending before such judge or judicial officer, nor shall he, without furnishing the opposing Advocate with a copy thereof, address a written communication to a judge or judicial officer concerning the merits of a contested matter pending before such judge or judicial officer. This rule shall not apply to expert matters or in respect of matters not sub-judice before the judge or judicial officer concerned.
- A client’s proffer of assistance of additional Advocate/s should not be regarded as evidence of want of confidence but the matter should be left to the determination of the client. An Advocate should decline association as a colleague unless the dues of the Advocate first retained are paid.
- Clients, not Advocates, are the litigants. Whatever may be the ill feeling existing between clients, it should not be allowed to influence Advocates in their conduct and demeanour toward each other or toward the parties in the case. All personal clashes between Advocates should be scrupulously avoided, in the trail of a cause it is indecent to allude to the personal peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of Advocates appearing on the other side. Personal colloquies between Advocates which causes delay and promote unseemly wrangling should be carefully avoided.
- No division of fees with any person for legal services is proper, except with another Advocate based upon the principle of division of work as expressed in the agreement between the Advocates.
- Subject to the precedence of the Attorney General and the Advocate General as established by constitutional usage and practice, it is the duty of Advocates to maintain and uphold the order of precedence in accordance with the Roll of Advocate maintained by the Bar Council.
- Junior and younger members should always be respectful to senior and older members. The latter are expected to be not only courteous but also helpful to their junior and younger brethren at the Bar.
- Where more than one Advocate is engaged on any side it is the right of the senior member to lead the case and the junior members to assist him.
CONDUCT WITH REGARD TO CLIENTS
- An Advocate shall not acquire an interest adverse to a client in the property or interest involved in the case.
- An Advocate shall not accept employment adverse to a client or former client, relating to a matter in reference to which he has obtained the confidential information by reason of or in the course of his employment by such client or former client provided that an Advocate, who has not been formally engaged by a person and accepted a retainer nor received any fees for such engagement is not precluded from accepting employment adverse to the interest of such a person.
- An Advocate shall not accept professional employment without first disclosing his relation, if any, with the adverse party, and his interest, if any, in the subject matter of such employment.
- An advocate shall not represent conflicting interests.
- An Advocate shall not himself or in benami purchase any property at a probate, foreclosure or judicial sale in an auction or proceeding in which such Advocate appears for a party nor shall he accept the whole or part of the property, in respect of which he had been engaged to conduct the case, in lieu of his remuneration, or as a reward or bounty.
- An advocate shall not commingle the property report to the client the receipt by him of any money or other property belonging to such client.
- An advocate shall not advice the commencement of prosecution or defense of case, unless he has been consulted in reference thereto, except when his relation to a party or to the subject matter is such as to make it proper for him to do so.
- An Advocate in his professional capacity shall not advise the violence of any law. This rule shall not apply to advice given in good faith, that a law is invalid.
- It is the right of an Advocate to undertake the defense of a person accused of crime, regardless of his person opinion as distinguished from knowledge, as to the guilt of the accused. Otherwise innocent persons, victims merely of suspicious circumstances, might be denied proper defense. Having undertaken such defense, an Advocate, is bound by all fair and honorable means, to present every defense that the law of the land permit, to the end that no person may be deprived of life or library except by due process of law.
- In fixing fees , Advocates should avoid charges which other estimate their advice and services as well as those which undervalue them , A client s ability to pay cannot justify a change in excess of the service , through his properly may justify a lesser charge , or even none at all. The reasonable requests of a brother Advocate should also receive special and kindly consideration. In respect of the widows and orphans of an Advocate, all Advocates shall assist them free of charge.
In determining the among of fee, it is proper to conside:
i. the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill request properly to conduct the case
ii. whether the acceptance of employment conduct the case will preclude the Advocate s appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the translation , about which there is a reasonable expression that otherwise he would be enjoyed , or will involve the loss of other business while employed in a particular case
iii. the customary charges of the bar for similar service the amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service
iv. the contingency or the certainty of the composition,
v. And the character of the employment, where casual or for an established and constant client. Of these considerations, none in itself is the controlling factor. These are more guidelines in ascertaining the real value of this service.
In fixing fees, it should never be forgotten that the profession in a branch of the administration of justice and not a mere monkey making trade.
- Controversies with clients concerning compensation are to be avoided by the Advocate so far as shall be compatible with his self-respect and with his right to receive reasonable recompense for his service. Any law suits with clients should be resorted to only to prevent to only to prevent injustice, imposition or fraud.
- Nothing operates more certainly to create or foster popular prejudice against Advocates as a class, and to deprive the profession of that full measure of public esteem and confidence which belongs to the proper discharges of its duties than done the false claim, often set up by the unscrupulous in defence of questionable tractions, that it is the duty of the Advocate to do whatever may enable him to succeed in winning his clients cause.
It is improper for an Advocate to assert in argument his personal belief in his client’s innocence or in the justice of his cause. His professional duty is strictly limited too making submission at the bar consistency with the interest of his client.
At Advocate owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warn zeal in the maintenance and defiance of his rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or be withheld from him save by the rules of law, legally applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him save by the rules of law, legally applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him from the full discharge of his duty. In the judicial forum the client in entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law of the land, and he may expert his advocate to assert every such remedy or defense .But it is steadfastly to be borne in mind that the great trust of the Advocate is to be borne in mind that the great trust of the Advocate is to be Discharged within and not without the bounds of the law. The officer of an Advocate does not permit, much less dose it demand of him for any client, the violence of any law or any manner of fraud or chicanery. In doing his profession duty to his client he must obey the voice of his own conscience and not that of his client.
- When an Advocate is a witness for his client except as to merely formal matters, such as the attestation or custody, of an instrument and the like, he should leave the trial of the case to another Advocate. Except when essential to the ends of justice, an Advocate should avoid testifying in court on behalf of his client.
- In incidental matters, not affecting the merits of the cause in a trial, nor working substantial prejudice to the rights of the client, such as forcing the opposing Advocate to trial when he is under affliction or bereavement; forcing the trial on a particular day to the injury of the opposing Advocate when no harm will result from a trial at a different time, agreeing to an extension of time for filing written statement, cross interrogatories and the like, the Advocate must be allowed to judge himself. In such matters no client has a right to demand that his Advocate shall be ungenerous or that he does anything therein repugnant to his own sense of honor and propriety.
DUTY TO THE COURT
- It is the duty of an Advocate to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance. Judge not being wholly free to defend themselves are peculiarly entitled to receive the support of the Bar against unjust criticism and clamour. At the same time whenever there is proper ground for complaint against the judicial officer, it is the right and duty of an Advocate to ventilate such grievances and seek redress thereof legally and to protect the complainant and affected.
- An Advocate shall not advise a person, whose testimony could establish or tend to establish a material fact, to avoid service of process, or conceal himself, or otherwise to make his testimony unavailable.
- An Advocate shall not intentionally misquote to a judge, judicial officer or jury the testimony of a witness, the argument of the opposing Advocate or the contents of a document; nor shall he intentionally misquote to a judge or judicial officer the language of a book, statute or decision; nor shall he, with knowledge, of its invalidity and without disclosing such knowledge, cite as authority a decision that has been overruled or a statute that has been repealed or declared unconstitutional.
- Marked attention and unusual hospitality on the part of an Advocate to a judge or judicial officer not called for by the personal relation of the parties subject both the judge and the Advocate to misconstructions of motive and should be avoided. An Advocate should not communicate or argue privately with the judge as to the merits of a pending cause and he deserves rebuke and denunciation for any device or attempt to gain from a judge special consideration or favour. A self-respecting independence in the discharge of professional duty, without denial or diminution of courtesy and respect due to the judge’s station, is the only proper foundation for cordial personal and official relation between the Bench and the Bar.
- The primary duty of an Advocate engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that the justice is done. The suppression of facts or the concealing of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible.
- Publications in newspapers by an Advocate as to pending or anticipated litigation may interfere with a fair trial in the courts and otherwise prejudice the due administration of justice. Generally they are to be condemned. If the extreme circumstances of a particular case justify a statement or reference to the facts should not reach the public, it is unprofessional to make them anonymously. An expert reference to the facts should not go beyond question from the records and papers on file in the Court but even in extreme cases it is better to avoid any exparte statement.
- It is the duty of Advocates to Endeavour to prevent political considerations form outweighing judicial fitness in the appointment and selection of judges. They should protest earnestly and actively against the appointment or selection of persons who are unsuitable for the bench and thus should strive to have elevated thereto only those willing to forego other employments whether of a business, political or other character, which may embarrass their free and fair consideration of questions before them for decision. The aspiration of Advocates for judicial position should be governed by an imperial estimate of their ability to add honour to the office and not by a desire for the distinction the position may bring to themselves.
- It is the duty of Advocates to appear in court when a matter is called and if ti is not so possible, to make satisfactory alternative arrangements.
- An Advocate should in general refrain form volunteering his legal opinion on or addressing any arguments in cases in which such Advocates in not engaged unless called upon to do so in open court by a judge or judicial officer. In advancing any such opinion, he must do so with a sense of responsibility and impartiality without any regard to the interest of any party.
CONDUCT WITH REGARD TO THE PUBLIC GENERALLY
- An Advocate shall not accept employment to prosecute or defend a case out of spite or for the purposing of harassing anyone or delaying any matter nor shall he take or prosecute an appeal willfully motivated to harass any one or delay any matter.
- An Advocate should always treat adverse witnesses and parties with fairness and due consideration, and he should never minister to the malevolence or prejudices, of a client in the trail or conduct of a cause, the client cannot be made the keeper of the Advocates conscience in professional matters. He has no right to demand that his Advocate shall abuse the opposite party or indulge in offensive arguments. Improper speech is not excusable on the ground that it is what the client would sat if speaking on his own behalf.
- An Advocate must dyeline to conduct a civil cause or to make a defense when convinced that it is intended merely to harass or to injure the opposite party or to wok any oppression or wrong. But otherwise it is his right. And having accepted a retainer, it becomes his duty to insist upon the judgment of the court as to the legal merits of his client’s claim. His appearance in court should be deemed equivalent to an assertion on his honour that in his opinion his client’s case in one proper for judicial determination.
- No Advocate is obliged to act either as adviser or Advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. He has right to decline professional employment. Every Advocate upon his own responsibility must decide what business he will accept as an Advocate, what causes he will bring into court for plaintiffs, and what cases he will contest in court for the defendants.
- No client, corporate or individual, however powerful. Nor any cause, civil or political, however important, is entitled to receive, nor should any Advocate render, any service or advice involving disloyalty to the law, whose ministers Advocates are, or disrespect the judicial office, which they are bound to uphold, or corruption of any person or, persons exercising public office or private trust nor indulge in deception or betrayal of the public. When rendering any such improper service or advice the Advocate invites and merits stern and just condemnation. Correspondingly, he advances the honour of his profession and the best interests of his client when he renders service or gives advice tending to impress upon the client and undertaking exact compliance with the strictest principles of moral law, though until a statute shall have been finally construed and interpreted by competent adjudication, he is free and indeed is entitled to advise as to its validity and as to what he conscientiously believes to be its just meaning and extent. But above all an Advocate will find his highest honour in a deserved reputation for fidelity to private trust and to public duty as an honest man and as a patriotic and loyal citizen.
- An Advocate shall not communicate with, nor appear before, a public officer, board, committee or body, in his professional capacity, without first disclosing that he is an Advocate representing interests that may be affected by the action of such officer, board, committee or body.
- An Advocate should not accept employment as an Advocate in any matter upon the merits of which he has previously acted in a judicial capacity. An Advocate having once held public office or having been in the public employ, should not, after his retirement accept employment in connection with any matter which he has investigated or dealt with while in such office, nor employment except in support thereof.
- An Advocate should not as a general rule carry on any other profession or business, or be an active partner in or a salaried official or servant in connection with any such profession or business.