How should an advocate deal with the public?

The legal profession is a noble one since it involves working for the humanity. Advocates are given the prime responsibility of guarding the rights and interests of individuals. They are social workers who speak for the voiceless.

With such great duty, an advocate must maintain a great deal of discipline at all times. Hence, The Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order 1972 laid down norms to make them stick to their principles and uphold their loyalty towards the law.

The 1972 Order introduced the ‘Canons of Professional Conduct and Etiquette’ for enrolled Advocates under the Bar Council. It is considered as the bible for lawyers practising in Bangladeshi courts. It consists of four chapters among which, one deals with an advocate’s conduct with regard to the public generally.

The guideline focuses primarily on the duties of advocates towards their surroundings Chapter IV of the Canons of Professional Conduct and Etiquette deal with advocates’ duties towards the public in general. They are given below, in simple words for a better understanding:

  • He shall not accept a case out of revenge or with the intention to harass anyone or delay any matter. He must keep in mind not to be willfully motivated to prosecute someone with the intent to harass them.
  • ‌He should always treat the opposite party with fairness. He cannot be offensive towards them in the trial.
  • ‌He must immediately decline a request to conduct the case if he finds out that it is intended to harass or injure the opposite party. But otherwise it is his right to take the case and insist judgment upon his client’s claim.
  • ‌An advocate is not bound to take every case that comes to him. He has the right to refuse to take a case and it depends on his discretion on what he will accept.
  • ‌He shall not provide any advice or service which is illegal or disrespect the judiciary, corrupted or deceptive to anyone no matter how powerful they are.
  • ‌He shall not communicate or meet with any public officer, committee, board without disclosing his professional identity since he may represent a conflicting interest.
  • ‌He should not accept such cases which he has dealt with as a judge or judicial officer before.
  • ‌He shall not continue any other profession alongside practice, e.g, an active partner of a company or a salaried employee of such.

It is an implied obligation for freshly enrolled advocates to go through the 1972 Order to adopt and implement the rules in their profession. They are expected to be the torch bearers of justice who will shed light upon the vulnerable members of the society.

    An advocate works for the best interests of the society as a whole. He finds the highest honour in protecting the rights of those around him. As loyal citizens of the country, advocates are expected to serve until their last breath. Therefore they are under a constant obligation to maintain the highest standard of ethical conduct.