Uttarakhand high court wants regulation of lawyers’ fee
By Kanu Sarda | Published: 29th July 2017 10:20 PM |
NEW DELHI: To regulate fee paid to lawyers by litigants, the Uttarakhand High Court has asked the State Bar Council to formulate guidelines for total transparency. The court also wants fee to be paid via cheque, draft or online transactions. It has asked lawyers to issue receipts to litigants so that accountability can be fixed if the lawyer does not represent the client properly before the court.
The development assumes significance in the wake of protests by lawyers for the recent amendments suggested by the Law Commission of India in the Advocates Act.
The amendments stated that lawyers guilty of professional misconduct—misleading their clients or giving wrong advice knowing they are making an error, or indulging in other forms of professional wrongdoing—should
be fined heavily and be made to compensate the litigant.
Lawyers would also be liable to pay compensation to litigants if they abstain from work even if the client has not paid the advocate.
The order was passed by Uttarakhand High Court while hearing a plea wherein two counsels appeared for the petitioner in the same case. The lawyer hired earlier alleged that since the petitioner had not paid him, he couldn’t appear on his behalf anymore.
Justice V K Bist intervened and said, “Some method needs to be developed so that poor litigants should not be harassed/cheated.
Though advocates cannot be compelled to take a particular amount of fee, before accepting the brief, they
must tell the litigants in clear terms about the fee.”
It was also submitted before the court that lawyers often fleece litigants by charging exorbitant fee, sometimes in the name of expenses.