Profession Ethics and Advocacy

Profession Ethics and Advocacy


Every profession has values and principles. The code of conduct is necessary for maintaining dignity of the profession. It is a written code of conduct for lawyers. It is a set of rules which determine the professional conduct of lawyers. The professional ethics is the essence of the legal profession. A lawyer should uphold the self possession.The Advocates Act, 1961 and Bar Councils Act, 1926 lay down the professional ethics to be followed by lawyers. 

Keyword– Profession, Advocate, Ethics, Legal, Conduct


The profession of law is considered as a noble profession. One’s conduct is an important factor determining the standard of the profession. Duty towards the court and clients has to be fulfilled with ethics. A lawyer or an Advocate must follow certain ethics in his profession. Not only this profession, but also other professions require ethics as a code of conduct. Advocate client relationships are very valuable. The dignity of the profession has to be maintained in every aspect.


Maintaining the integrity of legal profession is mandatory and has to be followed by a lawyer or an Advocate. Nowadays, legal profession has been a business oriented platform and no ethics are followed by many. The interaction between the public and legal professionals are very important in terms of advocacy. 

The legal profession has been created by the state to serve the public. The government of India established The Bar council of India, a statutory body under the Advocate Act,1961. 


Honesty in the profession is necessary to maintain the integrity of the profession. Honesty towards the client, opponent and the court should be equally important.

Courage is the key towards success for an advocate. An advocate should be confident enough to present a case and support his clients without thinking about the personal consequences.

Industry is the hardwork and legal knowledge which an advocate should maintain up to date.

Wit means humorous expression and spontaneous ideas which is considered as a mandatory quality for an advocate.

Eloquence is the fluent oral communication and use of language which makes the profession easy.

Judgment means the deep study of the case and estimating issues of the client and able to analyze the consequences.

Fellowship means companionship. The conflict should end after they come out of the court’s door steps.


All India Bar Committee recommendations are implemented by this act.



Section 4

The BCI was established by the Parliament

Section 7

Functions of the BCI

Section 7(1)(b)

STANDARDS  of professional code of conduct etiquettes to be followed by Advocates

Section 49(1)(c)

The Bar is empowered to make rules for the standard of professional ethics that needs to be observed by advocates.

Punishment for Professional Misconduct

Section 35 of the Advocate Act,1961

If a person is found guilty of professional misconduct then the case will be referred to a disciplinary committee, they fix a date of hearing and issue a notice to the Advocate. Then the disciplinary committee of the State Bar Council will hear both the parties, the court may dismiss the complaint, warn, suspend the Advocate from practice for certain period of time; remove the name of an Advocate from the State roll of Advocates.

P.D. Gupta v. Ram Murti

In this case, the advocate purchased property which was subject to litigation from his client at a throw away price and sold it to a third party. made profits and created more complications in the pending case. The Supreme Court declared him guilty of professional misconduct .

Bar Council of India Rules

Part VI of chapter II deals with the standard of professional conduct of lawyers, this includes 39 rules or duties of the lawyer against court, client, opponent etc

Advocates duty towards court by the BCI

  1. An Advocate should act in a dignified manner
  2. An Advocate shall respect the dignity of the judicial officer and maintain his attitude at the court.
  3. An Advocate shall not ty to seek any illegal means like bribing the court or communicate in private.
  4. An Advocate should prevent his client from unfair practices relating to the court, opposing counsel or opposite parties or co-parties.
  5. An Advocate shall have his own sense of judgement and must not use strong language in the court law.
  6. An Advocate must appear in designated uniform
  7. An Advocate should not appear if there is a family tie existing between the presiding judicial officer and an Advocate, shall request for the change in bench.
  8. An Advocate cannot wear bands or gowns in public places
  9. If an Advocate is a part of the executive committee of any institution, organization, society, corporation etc, he is not allowed to represent, defend or stand against such organization. He can appear as an ‘amicus curiae’ on behalf of a Bar Council. He can’t  appear in matter in which he himself has some pecuniary interest. An Advocate shall not stand as a surety for his client in any legal proceedings. 

Advocate’s duty towards client

An Advocate is obligated to follow Rule 11 to Rule 33 which prescribes an advocate’s duties towards his client.

  1. Rule 11- An Advocate is bound to accept any brief in the court if he proposes to take up without any fee at the Bar Council.

S.J. Chaudhary v. State 

The Supreme Court held that if an advocate doesn’t attend a case day to day, then he would be liable for breach of professional duty.

  1. Rule 12- An Advocate shall give the client reasonable and sufficient notice before withdrawing from an engagement and without any reasonable grounds he shall not withdraw. If there’s any sufficient cause and he withdraws then he is bound to refund the fee.
  2. Rule 13- If an Advocate is a witness of a party and he is asked to represent the other side then only he can refrain from taking up such matters.
  3. Rule 14- An Advocate must be honest with his client before engagement. He has to reveal if he has any connection with the other side of the parties and any interest in their case.
  4. Rule 15- An Advocate should uphold interest of the client.
  5. Rule 16- An Advocate should not suppress material evidence. If a prosecutor in a criminal trial tries to suppress material evidence that may lead to the innocence of the accused shall be considered a breach of professional conduct.
  6. Rule 17- An advocate shall not disclose the communications between the client and himself. A non-disclosure agreement has to be signed between the client and the advocate.
  7. Rule 20- An advocate shall not charge depending upon the success of the lawsuit.
  8. Rule 32- An advocate must not lend money to his client. 
  9. Rule 33- An advocate shall not represent the opposite party after withdrawing from the case on behalf of the previous party.
  10. An advocate should not bid, purchase or transfer property arising of legal proceeding.
  11. An advocate should not adjust fee payable to him by his client against his own personal liability to the client.
  12. An advocate should always keep proper accounts of the client’s money . the account should show the amounts received from the client, expenses incurred for him and the deductions made on account of fees with respective dates and necessary particulars.
  13. An advocate should mention in his accounts about the money received from the client are on account of fees or expenses during the course of any proceeding. He shall not divert any part of the amounts received for expenses as fees without written instruction from the client.
  14. An advocate must intimate the  client of the fact of receipt on amounts received.
  15. After the termination of of proceedings, an advocate should adjust the fees due to him from the account of the client. Any amount left after the deduction of the fees and expenses from the account must be returned to the client.
  16. An advocate must provide copy of client’s account maintained by him on demand, necessary copying charge has to be paid.
  17. An advocate shall not lend money to his client for the purpose of any action or legal proceedings engaged to the client.


An advocate should not in any way communicate or negotiate or call for direct settlement with opposing party. 

An advocate shall carry out all legitimate promises made to the opposite party even though not reduced to writing or enforceable under the rules of the court.


An advocate shall not advertise or solicit work in any manner. He should not promote himself by circulars, advertisements, touts, personal communications, interviews other than through personal relations furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments or producing his photographs to be published in connection with cases he has engaged.

An advocate’s sign board or name plate should be of a reasonable size. It should not indicate that he is or has been President or Member of a Bar Council or of any association or been a judge or an advocate general.

An advocate shall not promote his name or professional service to be used for promoting or starting any unauthorised practice of law.

An advocate shall not accept a fee less than the fee, which can be taxed under the rules when the client is able to pay more.

An advocate should not appear in any matter where another advocate has filed a vakalt or memo for the same party. The advocate can take the consent of the other advocate for appearing. If an advocate is not able to present the consent of the advocate who has filed the matter for the same party, then he should apply to the court for appearance. He shall mention the reason in application as why he couldn’t obtain consent. He shall appear only after obtaining the permission of the Court.


Professional ethics is important in every field of work. Ethics are beyond all other qualities in a profession. Professional ethics is a moral obligation in which a legal professional is bound to follow. A codified professional ethics is always required in advocacy as it maintains the dignity and social control of the profession. If an advocate commits any wrong act or misconduct, he will also be punished by the court.


1.Deepshika, Critical Professional Ethics: The Seven Lamps of Advocacy, Legal Bites, (Last accessed on 14 August  4.19 PM)

2. Michael Shriney, Advocate’s Act, 1961, ipleaders, (Last accessed on 23 September 07.42 PM)

3. Rules on Professional Standards, The Bar Council of India,,to%20himself%20or%20any%20other. (Last accessed on 23 September 07.46 PM)

Author- Abirami Mohan, B.M.S. College of Law, Bengaluru

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