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Duties of a Lawyer

Updated: Dec 17, 2022


Bob Goff once said “ I am a lawyer; I win arguments for living”, but let me tell you this, a lawyer does not merely argue in court. Many responsibilities come as a part and parcel with the title of the Lawyer which makes a lawyer’s manner of dealing with a case and arguing in court different from a layman's approach to an argument. There are many different elements present in the profession of lawyers towards whom they have to fulfil their duties. Some of those elements are court, client, colleagues and even opponents.

~Duties of a lawyer towards the court:

These duties are given under section 1 of the Bar Council of India rules.

• Dignity and Self-respect should be kept in mind by a lawyer while presenting his/her case.

• A lawyer should adopt a respectful attitude towards the court.

• No wrong or illegal method should be used by lawyers to impact the verdict of the court.

• The proper dress code should be followed by a lawyer in court. The court doesn't permit the lawyers to present their cases in informal clothes.

• Lawyers are not allowed to wear bands or gowns in public places as they are meant to be worn in court only.

• The lawyer should put the interest of his clients above his pecuniary interest and act accordingly.

# Important case law: D.C. Saxena v Honourable Chief Justice of India (19 July 1997)

~Duties of a lawyer towards client:

Section 2 of the Bar Council of India Rules provides these duties.

• A lawyer should behave in a kind and courteous manner with his/ her clients.

• The Client has the right to receive proper advice and a lawyer should never violate this right of his/ her client by exploiting them.

• A lawyer should spare no effort and leave no stone unturned to ensure that his/her client gets justice.

• A lawyer must make sure that no innocent person gets convicted and Justice prevails.

• A lawyer should honour and defend the interest of his/her client by all appropriate and fair means.

• It is expected of a lawyer to maintain accounts of the money entrusted to him by his clients, as it is important for the case as well as for the client.

• A lawyer should not reveal sensitive information, documents and material related to his/her client and the case, to his/her opponents as this will be considered as disclosing the weakness of his/her client and a breach of their trust.

• A lawyer should not promote bribery by taking gifts or money from the opposition.

# Important case law: Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh v Kurapati Satyanarayana (15th November 2002)

~Duties of a lawyer towards Opponents:

These duties are given in Section 3 of the Bar Council of India rules.

• A lawyer should not mediate with the opponent party directly, in the absence of their lawyer. In other words, Lawyers of both the parties involved in a case should be present at the time of negotiations.

• All the legitimate commitments made by a lawyer to his/her opposite party should be fulfilled.

• A lawyer should not use unfair practices like misleading the case, or misrepresentation of facts of the case, against his/her opponent.

# Important case law: Chandra Shekhar Soni v Bar Council of Rajasthan and Ors. (20 July 1983)

~Duties of a lawyer towards his/her colleagues:

Section 4 of the Bar Council of India rules provides these duties.

• No other lawyer is allowed to appear in court without the consent of the Lawyer in the name of whom, the memo has been filed in the court.

• The size of the Lawyer’s signboard or nameplate must be proper.

• A lawyer should maintain goodwill amongst his/her colleagues.

• No illegal or unauthorised practice should be encouraged by a lawyer.


At last, I would like to highlight that the above-mentioned duties are compulsory for a lawyer to follow and if he/ she fails to fulfil these obligations then he/she will be held liable under section 35 of the Advocate Act 1961. The violation of these duties and misconduct of a lawyer will have a negative impact on the proceeding of the case and Justice will not see the light of the day. In case these duties are not followed by a lawyer then the clients will feel unprotected in the very place where they initially went to seek relief. To ensure the smooth and orderly functioning of the court proceedings and the formation of an optimal work environment in the court, these aforementioned responsibilities must be performed sincerely, by a lawyer.

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