Rights and Duties of Advocates Under Advocates Act

The legal profession, dedicated to the cause of justice on the one hand, fairness, the rule of law, and exposure on the other, is governed by laws and regulations that define the breach of ethics and professional practice.

The Advocates Act of 1961 is one of the significant laws that formed the foundation of the legal system in India. The Act not only confers rights on an advocate but also imposes duties and responsibilities to foster a disciplined legal cadre across India.

Bare Act PDFs

Rights of Advocates – Upholding the Pillars of Justice

The Advocates Act enshrines several rights that empower advocates in the pursuit of justice and the representation of their clients. Here are six of them.

1. Right to Practice Law

Advocates are granted the inherent right to practice law after enrolment as an advocate under the Act. Such a right includes the ability to engage in legal practice, represent their clients, and make appearances before courts, tribunals, and other judicial bodies in order to advance their clients’ interests or positions.

2. Right to Appear and Plead

Advocates are also eligible to plead and appear before any court in India, including the Supreme Court, with some restrictions, limitations, and qualifications as per the existing law. This ensures advocates’ right to access and engage in legal proceedings at all levels to enable effective representation for their clients.

3. Right to Advise and Draft Legal Documents

Advocates have the right to advise clients regarding any legal issue and draft legal documents such as contracts, agreements, and petitions. They should also contemplate legal opinions referring to the case. This right is directly connected to the notion of facilitating a client’s engagement with the law expert.

4. Right to Represent Clients

An advocate has the right to represent a client in court or outside it during a hearing and/or trial. This includes advocacy of prepared arguments and submissions as well as examining witnesses.

Bare Act PDFs

5. Right to Access Legal Information and Resources

Advocates are entitled to access all legal information, resources, and precedents associated with their profession, which will enable them to provide effective representation to their clients. This will help advocates to make use of legal databases, remain constantly informed of legal and regulatory developments, and utilize legal libraries to continue expanding their professional knowledge.

6. Right to Fair Treatment and Due Process

Lastly, the right to fair treatment and due process implies that advocates will be provided with a chance to prove their claims in court, be treated professionally and respectfully by judicial authorities, and be offered redress should their rights be infringed upon.

Overall, the rights conferred upon advocates under the Advocates Act empower them to fulfill their professional responsibilities effectively, uphold the rule of law, and advocate for the interests of their clients with diligence, integrity, and professionalism.

Duties of Advocates – Guardians of Legal Ethics

While advocates enjoy certain rights under the Advocates Act, they are also bound by a set of duties and obligations aimed at maintaining the integrity, dignity, and professionalism of the legal profession. These duties serve as guiding principles that govern the conduct of advocates and underscore their role as guardians of legal ethics.

Seven most important duties of an advocate are as follows.

1. Client Representation

Advocates are legally obligated to defend their clients’ interests with vigour and competence within legal boundaries. This includes providing legal advice, counselling, and advocacy to clients across various legal matters.

2. Confidentiality

Advocates are bound by ethical rules that demand complete confidentiality of client information. This duty extends beyond the end of the attorney-client relationship, ensuring that clients can continue to disclose sensitive information with trust.

3. Conflict of Interest Management

Advocates must always put their clients’ interests first and avoid situations where a conflict of interest could prevent them from representing their clients effectively. Before taking on new clients, they must carefully check for potential conflicts. If a conflict arises during representation, the advocate must withdraw to maintain the integrity of the representation.

4. Honesty and Integrity

Advocates are held to the highest ethical standards in all their dealings. They must always be truthful and accurate when communicating with clients, opposing parties, and the court. Integrity means being fair, impartial, and acting in a manner that upholds the reputation of the legal profession.

5. Negotiation and Settlement

Lawyers often negotiate and settle legal disputes outside of court, requiring strong negotiation abilities and the skill to reach favourable client outcomes through compromise.

6. Professional Conduct

Lawyers must follow professional conduct codes and ethical rules, such as treating all parties respectfully, avoiding discrimination, and upholding justice and fairness.

7. Pro Bono Work and Access to Justice

Many advocates also have a duty to provide pro bono legal services to individuals who cannot afford legal representation. This commitment to pro bono work helps promote access to justice and ensures that disadvantaged individuals have access to legal assistance.

Conclusion: Striking a Balance Between Rights and Duties

The Advocates Act of 1961 balances lawyers’ privileges and responsibilities. It grants them the right to practice law, represent clients, and uphold justice. However, it also outlines their duty to adhere to ethical standards, maintain integrity, and protect client interests.

This Act ensures that advocates in India are ethical and principled, fostering a strong legal profession. Advocates play a vital role as protectors of justice and upholders of the law, ensuring that everyone can access it.

Professional Misconduct According to Advocates Act, 1961
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