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Legal Professional Rules and Regulations

Querist : Anonymous (Querist) 28 June 2010 This query is : Resolved 
I had appointed a lawyer for purposes of obtaining a probate. The court fee stamp amount of Rs 75000/- was paid to her in advance at the lawyer's request. The lawyer did not file the petition for almost a year.
1. I would like to know if I am entitled to interest on the court fee stamp amount which the lawyer held on to for almost a year?
2. Are there any professional rules and regulations which place an obligation on lawyers to ensure that the clients money (court fee stamp amount) which they hold on for so long are duly deposited in an interest bearing account and whether the client is entitled to the interest earned on such amounts?

I am asking this question because in many other countries, lawyers are under an obligation to ensure that moneys held by them on behalf of the client for long periods are placed in interest bearing accounts and the interest earned is returned to the clients.

Chanchal Nag Chowdhury (Expert) 29 June 2010
U have not stated why the petition has not been filed for almost a year.If there is no reason at all, U R not only entitled to a refund with interest but U may also proceed against her for professional misconduct by filing acomplaint before the Bar Council of the state.
Uma parameswaran (Expert) 29 June 2010
You can give a complaint before Bar Council in your place.
Querist : Anonymous (Querist) 29 June 2010
Thank you for your reply. The delay was because of various excuzes the lawyer gave from time to time. However, the petition was filed after a delay of almost a year. My query is that the lawyer was in custody of the court fee stamp amount of Rs 75000 for such almost a year and I would like to know if I am entitled to interest on that amount which she held on to from the time it was paid to her until the time she filed the petition which was almost one year later.

Many jurisdictions in other countries impose an obligation on lawyers to ensure that client funds held for long periods are placed in interest bearing accounts in banks and the client is entitled to all the interest earned thereon. Failure to do this is a misconduct on the part of the advocate.

For your information, I had suggested while appointing the lawyer that I would pay a portion of the legal fees to start mobilizing the work. However, the lawyer insisted that in addition to the advance of legal fees, I must also pay the court fee stamp amount up front. Thereafter, the lawyer held on to this amount for almost a year.

I would also appreciate if you could inform me if there is a scale of fees which the lawyers have to adhere to when filing petitions for LA/Probate and obtaining the orders.


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