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Code of Conduct for lawyers in India

To govern the legal profession in India bar council of India prescribes certain code of ethics for lawyers which they are entitled to follow. Rule for Code of conduct of lawyers is mandated to secure the importance of legal profession in India as the lawyers are officers of the court.
Written by:
Prachi Darji
Published on

The profession of law is a noble profession with reference to professional ethics, harboured in compliance with the established set of rules and code of conduct for advocates. There is a given code of conduct for lawyers in India which they are expected to follow while practising the profession.

This code of conduct is laid down under legislation that governs the legal profession in India. Rule for Code of conduct of lawyers is mandated to secure the importance of legal profession in India as the lawyers are officers of the court who plays an important and critical part in securing the administration of justice.

Legislations that govern the profession of lawyers

The Advocates Act, 1961: 

The Act was enacted to govern the law profession in India by making provisions that regulate their registration, admission, methods of practice & education, standardize the ethics of legal provision in India etc. Each lawyer who is a member of the State Bar Council and Bar Council of India has to follow the provisions of this Act. In India, advocate is a subset of a lawyer but the act only applies to the Advocates as the Advocates are the ones who are allowed to practice in the court because of their membership in the Bar Council of India and State Bar Council whereas lawyers are the persons who have completed their bachelors degree in law. Thus, Bar Council code of conduct is applicable only to the member lawyers i.e., advocates.

The Bar Council of India

This statutory body has been set-up to perform several disciplinary, reformative and regulatory functions in the field of law & other related fields. Its functions include giving recognition to the universities that impart law education and give law degree that acts as a relevant qualification for the registration of an advocate. It also safeguards the privileges, rights as well as interests of the lawyer. So, in order to sustain his membership in the Indian bar, a lawyer has to follow the prescribed bar council code of conduct, standards, ethics and regulations righteously.

The above-mentioned legislation and regulatory body have set up a code of ethics for lawyers who are registered and they are required to adhere to the following rules:

  • A lawyer who has the legitimate certificate to practice in India has to accept briefs from their client in order to stand for them in the court.

  • A lawyer cannot pull out of a case without a reasonable and serious cause.

  • If the lawyer is deponent in a case himself, then they cannot represent a client in court for that particular case.

  • A lawyer has to be truthful and open to their client and declare all details of the case even if those details may cause harm to the client’s case in coming future.

  • A lawyer has to always protect and defend the well being of his client. It is an ethical responsibility of a lawyer to put his client’s interest before anyone else’s.

  • It is unethical for a lawyer to hide or conceal any material evidence or information if that may lead to the unfair sentencing of a person who is innocent.

  • A lawyer must not start or enrage litigation.

  • Confidentiality of exchanged information is a necessity in a client-advocate relationship, be it in the form of e-mail, letter or any other exchange of communication. A lawyer cannot release any such sensitive information to a third party.

  • As a  moral responsibility, a lawyer has to maintain trust and confidence of their client and must not ill-treat or abuse any information shared for any other purposes than representing the client.

  • As an ethical responsibility, a lawyer has to act only on the orders of their client or any person authorized by him.

  • A lawyer cannot misuse or mis-arrange any of client’s funds without informing them, like converting them into loans or any other wrongful means

  • If a lawyer is representing a client or any of the parties in a suit, then he can’t participate in selling or auctioning the property as a buyer.

  • A lawyer has to be accountable to his client for any amount of money delivered by the client i.e. details of the money spent, records of information gathered by that money, etc.

  • If a lawyer is representing one of the parties in a legal proceeding, he cannot represent any other parties in that suit.

  • Any personal liability of the lawyer should not be adjusted by the client’s fees.


A person who wants to be recognized as a successful legal professional has to expand his knowledge of the law, enhance his communication skills, sharpen his wits and hold on to his perseverance. This is just a glimpse of the foundation of becoming a good lawyer. But the definition of ‘good’ has to be sought after by one's own endeavors and determination.

Professional ethics for lawyers are expected to be adhered to and followed by the lawyers so as to protect the integrity and highest standard of legal profession in India. Ethics of legal profession in India has been divided into the following -

  • Duty of Advocate towards the court

  • Duty of Advocate towards client

  • Duty of Advocate towards the opponent

  • Duty of Advocate towards fellow advocates

Lawyers are required to strictly follow the code of conduct prescribed for them. If lawyers fail to comply with their prescribed bar council code of conduct or does not oblige the professional ethics of legal profession then a case of professional misconduct can be either filed against them by a third person or court can suo motu (on its own) can take action against them. To take action against lawyer misconduct, find top lawyers now to fight your case.

Recently, in an unfortunate incident of Rape and Murder of 8 year old in Kathua district of Jammu & Kashmir, lawyers of Jammu & Kashmir Bar Association have denied to take up the case of the victim’s family by stating that there is no mistake of rapists. In the instant matter the apex court i.e., Supreme Court has on its own has taken the matter into consideration and charged the lawyers of Jammu & Kashmir Bar Association with the professional conduct for not following the code of ethics for lawyers.

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