Standards of Professional
Conduct and Etiquette for
(Made by the Bar Council of India under
Section 49(1 )(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961)
Advocate shall, at all times, comport himself in a manner befitting his status
as an officer of the Court, a privileged member of the community, and a
gentleman, bearing in mind that what may be lawful and normal for a person who
is not a member of the Bar, or for a member of the Bar in his non-professional
capacity may still be improper for an advocate. Without prejudice to the
generality of the foregoing obligation, an advocate shall fearlessly uphold the
interests of his client, and in his conduct conform to the rules hereinafter
mentioned both in letter and in spirit. The rules hereinafter mentioned contain
cannons of conduct and etiquette adopted as general guides; yet specific mention
thereof shall not be construed as a denial of the existence of others equally
imperative though not specifically mentioned.
I—Duty to the Court
An advocate shall, during the presentation of his case and while otherwise
acting before a Court, conduct himself with dignity and self-respect. He shall
not be servile and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against
a judicial officer, it shall be his right and duty to submit his grievance to
An advocate shall maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, bearing in
mind that the dignity of the judicial office is essential for the survival of a
An advocate shall not influence the decision of a Court by any illegal or
improper means. Private communications with Judge relating to a pending case are
An advocate shall use his best efforts to restrain and prevent his client from
restoring to sharp or unfair practices or from doing anything in relation to the
Court, opposing counsel or parties which the advocate himself ought not to do.
An advocate shall refuse to represent the client who persists in such improper
conduct. He shall not consider himself a mere mouthpiece of the client, and
shall exercise his own judgment in the use of restrained language in
correspondence, avoiding scurrilious attacks in pleadings, and using intemperate
language during arguments in Court.
An advocate shall appear in Court at all times only in the prescribed dress, and
his appearance shall always be presentable.
An advocate shall not enter appearance, act, plead or practice in any way before
a Court, Tribunal or Authority mentioned in Section 30 of the Act, if the sole
or any member thereof is related to be Advocate as father, grandfather, son,
grandson, uncle, brother, nephew, first cousin, husband, wife, mother, daughter,
sister, aunt, niece, father-in-law, daughter-in-law or sister-in-law.
An advocate shall not wear bands or gown in public places other than in Courts
except on such ceremonial occasions, and at such places as the Bar Council or
the Court may prescribe.
An Advocate shall not appear in or before any Court or Tribunal or any other
authority for or against an organisation or an institution, society or
corporation, if he is a member of the Executive Committee of such organisation
or institution or society or corporation. “Executive Committee,” by whatever
name it may be called, shall include any Committee or body of persons which, for
the time being, is vested with the general management of the affairs of the
organisation or institution, society or corporation.
that this Rule shall not apply to such a member appearing as ‘amicus curiae’ or without a fees in a
matter affecting the affairs or a Bar Council, Incorporated Law Society or a Bar
An Advocate should not act or plead in any matter in which he himself is
He should not act in a bankruptcy petition when he himself is also a creditor of
He should not accept a brief from a company of which he is a director.
An Advocate shall not stand as a surety, or certify the soundness of surety, for
his client required for the purpose of any legal proceedings.
II—Duty to the Client
An Advocate is bound to accept any brief in the Courts or Tribunals or before
any authority in or before which he professes to practise at a fee consistent
with his standing at the Bar and the nature of the case. Special circumstances
may justify his refusal to accept a particular brief.
An Advocate shall not ordinarily withdraw from engagements once accepted,
without sufficient cause and unless reasonable and sufficient notice is given,
to the client. Upon his withdrawal from a case, he shall refund such part of the
fee as has not been earned.
An Advocate should not accept a brief or appear in a case in which he has reason
to believe that he will be a witness and if being engaged in case, it becomes
apparent that he is a witness on a material question of fact, he should not
continue to appear as an Advocate if he can retire without jeopardising his
An Advocate shall at the commencement of his engagement and during the
continuance thereof, make all such full and frank disclosures to his client
relating to his connection with the parties and any interest in or about the
controversy as are likely to affect his client’s judgment in either engaging him
or continuing the engagement.
It shall be the duty of an advocate fearlessly to uphold the interests of his
client by all fair and honourable means without regard to any unpleasant
consequences to himself or any other. He shall defend a person accused of a
crime regardless of his personal opinion as to the accused, bearing in mind that
his loyalty is to the law which requires that no man should be convicted without
An Advocate appearing for the prosecution in a criminal trial shall so conduct
the prosecution that it does not lead to conviction of the innocent. The
suppression of material capable of establishing the innocence of the accused
shall be scrupulously avoided.
An Advocate shall not, directly or indirectly, commit a breach of the
obligations imposed by Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act.
An Advocate shall not, at any time, be a party to fomenting of litigation.
An Advocate shall not act on the instruction of any person other than his client
or his authorised agent.
An Advocate shall not stipulate for a fee contingent on the results of
litigation or agree to share the proceeds thereof.
An Advocate shall not buy or traffic in or stipulate for or agree to receive any
share or interest in any actionable claim. Nothing in this Rule shall apply to
stock, shares debentures or government securities, or to any instruments which
are for the time being, by law or custom negotiable, or to any mercantile
document or title to goods.
An Advocate shall not, directly or indirectly, bid for or purchase, either in
his own name or in any other name, for his own benefit or for the benefit of any
person, any property sold in the execution of a decree or order in any suit,
appeal or other proceeding in which he was in any way professionally engaged.
This prohibition, however, does not prevent an Advocate from bidding for or
purchasing for his client any property which his client may himself legally bid
for or purchase provided the Advocate is expressly authorised in writing in this
An Advocate shall not adjust fees payable to him by his client against his own
personal liability to the client, which liability does not arise in the course
of his employment as an Advocate.
An Advocate shall not do any thing whereby he abuses or takes advantage of the
confidence reposed in him by his client.
An advocate should keep accounts of the client’s money entrusted to him, and the
accounts should show the amounts received from the client or on his behalf, the
expenses incurred for him and the debits made on account of fees with respective
dates and all other necessary particular.
Where moneys are received from or on account of a client, the entries in the
accounts should contain a reference as to whether the amounts have been received
for fees or expenses, and during the course of the proceedings, no Advocate
shall, except with the consent in writing of the client concerned, be at liberty
to divert any portion of the expenses towards fees.
Where any amount is received or given to him on behalf of his client the fact of
such receipt must be intimated to the client as early as possible.
After the termination of the proceeding the Advocate shall be at liberty to
appropriate towards the settled fee due to him any sum remaining unexpended out
of the amount paid or sent to him for expenses, or any amount that has come into
his hands in that proceeding.
Where the fee has been left unsettled, the Advocate shall be entitled to deduct,
out of any moneys of the client remaining in his hands, at the termination of
the proceeding for which he had been engaged, the fee payable under the rules of
the Courts in force for the time being, or by then settled and the balance, if
any, shall be refunded to the client.
A copy of the client’s account should be furnished to him on demand provided the
necessary copying charge is paid.
An Advocate shall not enter into arrangements whereby funds in his hands are
converted into loans.
An Advocate shall not lend money to his client, for the purpose of any action or
legal proceedings in which he is engaged by such client.
Advocate shall not be held guilty of a breach of this rule, if in the course of
a pending, suit or proceedings, and without any arrangement with the client in
respect of the same, the Advocate feels compelled by reason of the rule of the
Court to make a payment to the Court on account of the client for the progress
of the suit or proceeding.
An Advocate who has at any time, advised in connection with the institution of a
suit, appeal or other matter or has drawn pleadings or acted for a party, shall
not appear or plead for the opposite party.
III—Duty to Opponent
An Advocate shall not in any way communicate or negotiate upon the subject
matter of controversy with any party represented by an Advocate except through
An Advocate shall do his best to carry out all legitimate promises made to the
opposite party even though not reduced to writing or enforceable under rules of
IV—Duty to Colleagues
36. An Advocate shall not solicit work or
advertise, either directly or indirectly, whether by circulars. Advertisements,
touts, personal communica-tions, interview not warranted by personal relations,
furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments or procuring his photograph to be
published in connection with cases in which he has been engaged or concerned.
His sign-board or name-plate should be of a reasonable size. The sign-board or
name-plate or stationery should not indicate that he is or has been President or
Members of a Bar Council or of any Association or that he has been associated
with any person or organisation or with any particular cause or matter or that
he specialises in any particular type of work or that he has been a Judge or an
An Advocate shall not permit his professional services or his name to be used in
aid of or to make possible, the unauthorised practise of law by any lay
An Advocate shall not accept a fee less than the fee taxable under the rules
when the client is able to pay the same.
An Advocate shall not enter appearance in any case in which there is already a
vakalat or memo of appearance filed by an Advocate engaged for a party except
with his consent, in case such consent is not produced he shall apply to the
Court stating reasons why the said consent could not be produced and he shall
appear only after obtaining the permission of the Court.
Every advocate borne on the Rolls of a State Bar Council shall pay to the State
Bar Council a sum of Rs. 30 every third year, commencing 1st April, 1980, either
at one time or in three equated instalments.
The aforesaid sum collected by the State Bar Council shall be credited to a
separate fund to be known as ‘Advocates Welfare Fund’.
All sums so collected by the State Bar Council in accordance with Rule 40 shall
be remitted to the Bar Council of India forthwith, which shall be credited by
the Bar Council of India to a separate fund to be known as ‘Advocates Welfare
Every advocate borne on the rolls of a State Bar Council shall deliver on or
before 1st April every year, commencing from 1st April 1980 a declaration in the form prescribed.
Every Advocate borne on the Rolls of a State Bar Council shall entrol himself as
member of a Bar Association within the territory over which the said Bar Council
exercises, jurisdiction. Every declaration under Rule 43 above, shall be
accompanied by a certificate of the Secretary of that Bar Association,
certifying that he is a member and that he has paid all the dues of the Bar
The name of every Advocate, who fails to pay the aforesaid sums within the
prescribed time set out in Rule 40 or fails to file the declaration under Rule
43 or makes any false statement in the declaration under Rule 43 shall be
removed from the Rolls of the State Bar Council.
Before the name of any Advocate is removed from the Rolls under Rule 45 the
Secretary of the State Bar Council shall serve on the Advocate concerned a
notice to show cause against the removal of his name and the cause shown, if
any, shall be dealt with by the Chairman of the State Bar Council forthwith who,
in his discretion, shall pass such orders as he thinks fit.
V—Duty in Imparting Training
It is improper for an Advocate to demand or accept fees or any premium for any
person as a consideration for imparing in law under the rules prescribed by the
Bar Council to enable such person to qualify for enrolment under the Advocates
VI—Duty to Render Legal Aid
Every Advocate shall in the practice of the profession of law bear in mind that
any one genuinely in need of a lawyer is entitled to legal assistance even
though he cannot pay for it fully or adequately and that within the limits of an
Advocate’s economic condition, free legal assistance to the indigent and
oppressed is one of the highest obligations an Advocate owes to society.
VII—Restrictions on Other Employments
An Advocate shall not personally engage in any business but he may be a sleeping
partner in a firm doing business provided that, in the opinion of the Bar
Council the nature of the business is not inconsistent with the dignity of the
An Advocate may be a Director or Chairman of the Board of Directors of a company
with or without any ordinary sitting, fee provided none of his duties are of an
executive character. An Advocate shall not be a Managing Director or a Secretary
of any company.
An Advocate shall not be full-time salaried employee of any person, government,
firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practise and shall, on
taking up any such employment, intimate the fact to the Bar Council and shall
thereupon cease to practise as an advocate so long as he continues in such
in this rule shall apply to Law Officer of the Central Government or the
Government of a State or of any Public Corporation or body constituted by
statute who is entitled to be enrolled under the rules of the Bar Council made
under Section 28(2)(d) read with Section 24(1)(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961
despite his being a full-time salaried employee.
An Advocate who has inherited, or succeeded by survivorship, to a family
business may continue it, but may not personally participate in the management
thereof. He may continue to hold a share with others in any business which has
descended to him by survivorship or inheritance or by will, provided he does not
personally participate in the management thereof.
An Advocate may review Parliamentary Bills for a remuneration, edit legal text
books at a salary, do ‘press-vetting’ for newspapers, coach pupils for legal
examinations, set and examine question papers; and subject to the rules against
advertising and full-time employment, engage in broadcasting, journalism,
lecturing and teaching subjects both legal and non-legal.
Nothing in these rules shall prevent an Advocate from accepting, after obtaining
the consent of the Bar Council part-time employment provided that in the opinion
of the Bar Council the nature of the employment does not conflict with his
professional work and is not inconsistent with the dignity of the
rules shall be subject to such directives if any as may be issued by the Bar
Council of India from time to time.
CONDITIONS FOR RIGHT TO
1. Every Advocate shall be
under an obligation to see that his name appears on the roll of the State
Council within whose jurisdiction he ordinarily practices.
2. An Advocate shall not enter
into a partnership or any other arrangement for sharing remuneration with any
person or legal Practitioner who is not an Advocate.
3. Every Advocate shall keep
informed the Bar Council on the roll of which his name stands, of every change
of his address.
4. The Council or a State
Council can call upon an Advocate to furnish the name of the State Council on
the roll of which his name is entered, and call for other particulars.
5. (I) Any Advocate who voluntarily suspends
practice for any reason whatsoever
shall intimate such suspension to the State Council on the roll of which his name is entered.
(2) A similar intimation shall
be given by every Advocate on resumption of practice.
6. (1) An Advocate whose name
has been removed by order of the Supreme Court or a High Court or the Bar
Council as the case may be, shall not be entitled to practise the profession of
law either before the Courts and authorities mentioned under Section 30 of the
Advocates Act, 1961 or in chambers, or otherwise.
(2) An Advocate who is under
suspension, shall be under same disability during the period of such suspension
as an advocate whose name has been removed from the roll.
7. A person, who has held
judicial/quasi judicial office in any part of the Union Territory of Delhi at
any time within two years immediately preceding his retirement or otherwise
ceasing to be in service, shall not practise for a period of two years from the
date of his retirement or ceasing to be in service as the case may be in the
territory of Delhi.
Provided that nothing in this
Rule shall prevent any such person from practising in any Court of Superior
jurisdiction to the one in which he held the office.
Explanation—A Court of
Sessions, a District Court or the City Civil Court shall be a Court of Superior
jurisdiction in relation to a Magistrate’s Court or Small Causes Court, even
though no appeal may lie from the latter to the former.
8. No Advocate shall be
entitled to practise if in the opinion of the Bar Council he is suffering from
such contagious disease as makes his practice of law a hazard to the health of
others. This qualification shall last for such period as the Bar Council directs
from to time.
with best regards KAVIRAJ SINGH
Trustman & Co
8/11, FF, Hospital Road,
Jangpura Extension, New Delhi, India
Tel: 91 11 41824374, 9312272269 Fax : 91