Duty to charge reasonable fees
An advocate must charge a fee consistent with his standing at the bar and the nature of the case. The Constitution of India makes provision for the high courts to settle the table of fees payable to advocates practising before them.
An advocate must not stipulate a fee contingent on the results of litigation, or agree to share the proceeds of litigation. This is because giving the lawyer an interest in the subject matter of the suit is against professional ethics and violiative of public policy.
If he withdraws from a case, the advocate must refund any part of the fee that was not earned. However, once an advocate has accepted a case, he must under no circumstances withdraw from the same without sufficient cause and without giving reasonable and sufficient notice to the client'.
Duty to make full and frank disclosure
An advocate must, at the commencement of his engagement and during its continuation, make all full and frank disclosures to his client relating to his connection with the parties, and of any interest he may have in and, or about the controversy, as is likely to affect his client's judgment in engaging him on continuing the engagement
Duty to ensure no conflict of interest
An advocate has a duty not to accept any engagement in a trial in which he may have to give testimony, although there is no rule of evidence disqualifying counsel from giving evidence in a suit in which he is engaged. An advocate is not entitled to act in a professional capacity as well as a constituted attorney of a party in the same matter or cause. If a person appoints a firm of lawyers as his advocates, none of the partners of the lawyers' firm can act as recognized agents in pursuance of a power of attorney concerning the same cause.
An advocate who has at any time advised a party in connection with the institution of a suit, appeal or other matter or has drawn pleadings or acted for a party, must not act, appear or plead for the opposite party, unless the express consent given of all concerned is obatined, after full dislcosure of facts.
In case an advicate feels that there will be conflict of interest in filing a case on behalf of his client, his duty is to advise his client to engage some other advocate.
Duty of care to client
An advocate should ensure that the interests of the client are not in any manner hurt by his acts or omissions. He must also defend a person accused of a crime, regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused and must not abuse or take advantage of the confidence reposed in him by the client.
When counsel does not inform the client of the subsequent proceeding of the case, he commits a breach of this duty and is therefore liable for professional negligence.
Duty to maintain confidentiality
The relation between a law-yer and a client involves the highest degree of personal trust and confidence. The Indian Evidence Act specifically provides that no lawyer is any time permitted, to disclose any communication made between hs ceint and himself during the course of the engagemnt unless it is with his client's express permissison.
Duto to act only on clients instructions
The engagement of a lawyer comes to an end when the client becomes unable to give instructions because of his mental illness or other reasons. An advocate acting on the instructions of an agent and not the instructions of the client, commits professional misconduct.
Duty to the law
Though a lawyer has the duty to represent his client to the best of his ability, he should not neglect the fact that his loyalty is to the law. An advocate must also not be a party to fomenting of litigation. He should not suppress facts or conduct the prosecution that leads to conviction of the innocent.