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Chapter 1


1.1 Introduction
As the explanation goes a business is a trade or profession at which one works regularly;
an occupation is what one happens to be engaged in, and may be continuous or
temporary. Business is ordinarily for profit, while the occupation may be a matter of
learning, philanthropy or religion. A profession usually implies scholarship, as the
profession of law.

1.2 Definition of Legal Profession

The legal profession is thus an important part of legal administration. It is not possible for
the State to administer justice effectively without a well- organized legal profession,
because in its absence who would marshal the facts and present them before a Court, who
would put forth the best legal arguments for and against the litigating parties before the
Court? It is therefore rightly said that “A well-organized system or judicial administration
postulates a properly equipped and efficient Bar;” and a well-regulated profession for
pleading causes is a great desideratum to tone up the quality of justice. A community of
professionals is different from other communities based on socialization and social
control and client choice or the evaluation of the professional1. According to Goode the
process of professionalisation is the “climax job pattern” of occupational environment
and no occupation becomes a profession without antagonism and struggle. The history of
the legal profession in India is therefore a history of struggle; a struggle for recognition,
characterized by prestige, power and income. In this short chapter we would be tracing
the history and development of the legal profession in India.

V.D. Kulshreshta, Landmarks in Indian Legal and Constitutional History, 7th ed., (Lucknow: Eastern Book
Company, 2005), p.448.

Chapter 2

2.1 Position up to 1926

Law, as a profession, appears to have been in vogue in ancient5 and medieval India
though its concept was quite different from what it is today. The legal profession as it
exists in India today had its beginnings in the first years of British rule. The Hindu
Pundits, Muslim Muftis and Portuguese lawyers who served under earlier regimes had
little effect upon the system of law and legal practice that developed under the British
The charter Act, 1726 contained no provision whatsoever regarding the
qualification for the persons desirous of practicing law. The courts were the sole judges
in this regard. This position continued up to 1753. During this time the person who
adopted the profession in the absence of anything better to do. Quite a few of these so-
called lawyers were the dismissed servants of the company” 7 Long, describing the
condition of Calcutta says that “Calcutta is a place where the profession of law is
exercised by men who seem to derive all their knowledge by inheritance, or to possess it
by intuition, without previous study or application” This state of affairs was due to the
belief of the Company that the advocates “foment disputes” and are of “litigious nature”.
Calcutta Court, under the circumstances referred several question of the directors for
guidance. This was the state of affairs of the legal profession before 1774 at all the three
places: Bombay, Calcutta and Madras2.

2.2 The Regulation Act, 1773

Ibid, p.448.

The first real step in the direction of organizing a legal profession in India was taken in
1774 when the Supreme Court was established in Calcutta pursuant to the Regulating Act
of 1773. Clause 11 of the Supreme Court Charter empowered the Court “to approve,
admit and enrol such and so many advocates and attorneys at law" as the Court "shall
seem fit”. They were to be attorneys of record and were authorized " to appear and plead
and act for the suitors" of the Court. The Court could remove the said advocates and
attorneys "on reasonable cause". No other person whatsoever, but such advocates and
attorneys so admitted and enrolled were to be" allowed to appear and plead or act" in the
Court, for or on behalf of such suitors. The "advocates" entitled, thus, thus, to appear
ware only the English and Irish barristers and members of the Faculty of Advocates in
Scotland; the attorneys referred to were the British attorneys and solicitors. The court was
thus an exclusive preserve for members of the British legal profession. The same powers
of enrolment were later conferred on the Supreme Courts established at Bombay and
Madras. An Indian lawyer had no right to appear before the Courts.

2.3 The Bengal Regulations, 1793 and 1833

The Bengal Regulation VII of 1793 created, for the first time, a regular legal profession
for the Company’s Courts. Its credit goes to Lord Cornwallis. The regulation gave power
to Sadar Diwani Adalat to enroll pleaders for all Company’s Courts. Only Hindus and
Muslims would be enrolled as pleaders. Before this the suitors could either plead their
own causes personally or could appoint agents who could either be their servants or
dependants or the vakils who followed the profession for livelihood. But these people
knew nothing of the law. This led to confusion and delay 3. Not only this but these
ignorant and credit less vakils often betrayed their clients by accepting bribe from the
opposite party. The system and the profession both thus slipped into inefficiency and
became too costly for litigants. However Regulation 6 brought order and some measures
of quality of pleading and endeavored to establish it as a respectable profession. Only the
persons well versed in Hindu and Mohammedan law and persons of charter and
education were allowed to plead in courts. A number of rules were laid down to regulate
the profession. Yet, the professional respectability was hard to come by. Malbari

Ibid, p.449.

described the moffusil vakil as “a column of vapour issuing from an Ocean of Emptiness
brought alive by the Chief Justice and the successful vakil as one in the hands of Marwari
The Bengal Regulation XII of 1833 was the next important legislation which
modified the provisions of the earlier Regulations in that only persons duly qualified, to
whatever nationality or religion they might belong, could be enrolled as pleaders of the
Sadar Diwani Adalat.

2.4 The Legal Practitioners Act, 1846 and 1863

The Legal Practitioners Act, 1846 made important innovations, namely, (1) the office of
pleaders was thrown open to all persons of whatever nationality or religion duly certified
by the Sadar courts; (2) attorneys and barristers of any of Her Majesty’s Courts in India
were made eligible to plead in any of the Sadar Courts; (3) the pleaders were permitted to
enter into agreements with their clients for their fees for professional services.
The Legal Practitioners Act, 1863, also permitted barristers and attorneys of the
Supreme Court to be admitted as pleaders in the Court of the East India Company. Thus
barristers and attorneys were empowered to practice in the Company’s Courts while the
Indian legal practitioner could not appear before the supreme Courts.

2.5 The Indian High Courts Act, 1861

The position clearly underwent a change after the British Crown took over the
administration of the country from the Company in 1858. The separate systems of the
Company’s courts in the milfoil and the Royal Courts in the Presidency towns were
consolidated into a unified judicial system in all the there presidencies. At the apex of the
new system were High Courts chartered by the Crown. The Indian High Courts Act,
1861, authorized the setting up of High Courts in several Presidencies in place of the
Supreme Courts and Sadar Adalats. Clause 9 of the Letters Patents of 1865 which
replaced the earlier Letters Patent creating a High Court in Calcutta authorized it to
approve, admit and enroll advocates, vakils and attorneys. The persons so admitted were
entitled to appear for the suitors of the High Court and to plead or act according to rules
made by the High Court or directions issued by it. Similar provisions were made in the

Charters of the Courts of Bombay and Madras. The High Courts in their appellate
jurisdiction were to apply the principles of equity tend the rule of good conscience, but
these were never spelt out and were left to the discretion of the courts. Curiously enough,
the Mofussil Courts were precluded from introducing any English or foreign law under
the cover of the words, justice, equity and good conscience". On the original side, in the
High Courts, English law and rules of equity continued and on the appellate side local
laws were applied. This was a deliberate design to “divide and rule" under the posture of”
justice, equity and good conscience".

2.6 The Legal Practitioners Act, 1879

In the course of time other High Courts were established. The Legal Practitioners Act,
1879 was enacted to consolidate and amends the law relating to legal practitioners of
High Court. It empowered the High Court, not established under a royal charter, to make
rules, with the previous sanction of the Provincial Government, as to the qualifications
and admission of proper persons to be pleaders and Mukhtars of the High Court4.

2.6.1. Classes of Lawyers

In the chartered High Courts rules had been framed under which there were, apart from
Attorneys, two other classes of lawyers, Advocates and Vakils. Advocates were to be
barristers of England or Ireland or members of the Faculty of the Advocates of Scotland.
The High Courts, other than the Calcutta High Court, permitted non-Barristers as well to
be enrolled as advocates under certain circumstances, e.g. in Bombay, law graduates of
the Bombay University, could be enrolled as Advocates. The Vakils were the persons
who had taken their law degree from an Indian University and fulfilled certain other
conditions. In Madras, a law graduate qualified to be admitted as a vakil if he passed an
examination in procedure and underwent practical training with a practicing lawyer for a
year. Similarly rules had been made by the other High Courts also. The High Courts were
given the power, under Section 6 of the Legal Practioners Act, 1879, to make rules as to
the qualification, admission and certificates of proper persons to be Pleaders and
Mukhtars of he subordinate courts. Under the rules framed by he High Courts under the

Ibid, p.450.

Legal Practioners Act, law graduates who did not possess the additional qualification to
enable them to be enrolled as the High Court Vakils, and non-law graduates after passing
the pleader ship examination conducted by the High Court, were enrolled as Pleaders to
practice before subordinate courts. Besides the Pleaders, there were Mukhtars who passed
by Mukhtarship examination held by the High Court after passing the matriculation or
equivalent examination.
Section 4 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 empowered an advocate or Vakil
on the roll of any High Court to practice in all the Courts sBritish India other than a High
Court on whose roll he was not entered and with the permission of the Court in any High
Court on whose roll he was not entered. There was a proviso, however, to the effect that
this power would not extend to the original jurisdiction of the High Court in a Presidency

2.6.2 Practitioners on the Original & Appellate side

On the original side of the Calcutta High Court only the Advocates, e.g., the Barristers of
England and Ireland and he Advocates of Scotland, were entitled to appear and plead, on
the instructions of an Attorney. These Advocates were also entitled to appear and plead
on the appellate side of the High Court and subordinate courts. The Vakils of the Calcutta
High Court were not entitled to act or plead on the original side or in appeals from the
original side. This satiate of affairs was severely criticized as monopolistic and
discriminatory. As the criticism says the Calcutta Barrister" has no objection to plead
before a mere B.L (or L.L.B) Judge, but he cannot have as his companions at the bar a
mere B.L. of an Indian University however high his attainments may be". The Madras
High Court had, however, altered its rules, as early as 1886, and permitted the Vakils
admitted under the Rules of 1833, and the Attorneys to appear plead and act for suitors
on the original side. The result, therefore, was that in the Madras High Court there
remained no distinction between Barristers, Vakils and Attorneys as regards their rights
to appear and plead on the original side. Under the new Rules, the Vakils and Attorneys
could also act on the original side while the advocates had to be instructed by an attorney.
In the Bombay High Court the Vakils were not originally permitted to act or plead on the
original side. This position, however, later changed and a non-Barrister, on passing an

examination conducted by the High Court, became eligible for enrolment as Advocates
entitled to appear and plead on the original side. The only limitation was that the
Advocates of the original side, whether Barristers or non-Barristers, had to be instructed
by an Attorney before they could appear and plead on the original side5.

2.7 The Indian Bar Committee (Chamier Committee), 1923

The Vakils expressed dissatisfaction about the distinction that existed between barristers
and vakils, and the special privileges enjoyed by the British barristers and solicitors.
There was also a demand for creating an All-India Bar in the country. Consequently, the
Government of India in 1923, constituted the Indian Bar Committee under the
Chairmanship of Sir Edward Chamber to go into these issues.
The Committee did not consider it practicable at the time to organize the Bar on
an all-India basis or to constitute an all-India Bar Council. The significant
recommendation of the Committee was as regards the establishment of Bar Councils for
the High Court.
The Committee recommended –
That in all High Courts, a single grade of practitioners entitled to plead should be
established and called Advocates,
That when special conditions are maintained for admission to plead on the
original side of a High Court the only distinction shall be within that grade which shall
consist of advocates entitled to appear on the original side and advocates not so entitled,
Subject to certain conditions being fulfilled, Vakils would be allowed to plead on
the original side of the three High Courts,
That a Bar Council be constituted for each High Court having power to enquire
into matters calling for disciplinary action against a lawyer,
That the disciplinary powers would rest with the High Court but before taking any
action, it should refer the case to the Bar Council for enquiry and report.

2.8 The Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926

Ibid, p.452.

To implement the recommendations of the Chamier Committee, the Central legislature
enacted the Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926. The object of the Act was to provide for the
constitution and incorporation of Bar Councils for certain Courts to confer powers and
impose duties on such Bar Councils, and to consolidate and amend the law relating to
legal practitioners entitled to practice in such courts.
A Bar Council was to be constituted for every High Court. Every Bar Council was
to consist of fifteen members of whom one was to be Advocate-General, four persons to
be nominated by the High court and ten were to be elected by the Advocates of the High
Court from amongst themselves. Each High Court was to prepare and maintain a roll of
advocates of High Court. While the roll was maintained by the High Court, the Bar
Council was authorized, with the previous sanction of the High Court, to make rules to
regulate the admission of persons to be Advocates of the High Court without affecting in
any way the power of the High Court to refuse admission to any person at its discretion.
Under the Act, the power of enrolment of advocates virtually continued to remain
in the High Court and the function of the Bar Council was merely advisory in nature. The
Act did not affect the power of the High Courts of Calcutta and Bombay to prescribe
qualifications to be possessed by persons applying to practice on the original sides of
those High Courts and their power to grant or refuse any such application, or to prescribe
the conditions under which such persons were to be entitled to practice or plead. The roll
of Advocates was to be maintained by the High Court which also had the disciplinary
power over the Advocates. The right of the Advocates of the High Court to practice in
another High Court was not unfettered but was expressly made subject to rules made by
the High Court or the Bar Council. Each of the High Courts as well as the Bar Councils
of Calcutta and Bombay made rules to the effect that Advocates of other High Court
concerned only after obtaining the permission of the Chief Justice and on several
occasions very eminent Advocates of one High Court were refused permission to appear
and plead in another High Court.
In Course of time the Calcutta and Bombay High Courts liberalized their rules so
as to permit non-Barrister Advocates to practice on their original sides as well which so
far had been reserved for Barristers only. Thus, the distinction between Barristers and

Advocates was abolished. However, no advocate, whether Barrister or not, could act on
the original side but had to appear and plead on the instruction of the Attorney on record.

Chapter 3

3.1 Unified bar in the independent Bangladesh

With the emergence of Bangladesh the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council
Order,1972 (P.O. No. 4+6 of 1972) was issued by repealing the Legal Practitioner’s and
Bar Council Act 1965.This Order has provided for a council, a body corporate called the
Bangladesh Bar Council which is a statutory body with prescribed constitution, powers
and functions. This Order was amended from time to time. Section 27(1A) provides
arrangement for unification of the legal professions in its true professions in its true seven
years, been a Mukhter may, subject to the other provisions of this order and the rules
made there under, be admitted as an advocate, if fulfils the conditions prescribed for the
same. Unlike before there is now a single class of legal practitioners known as advocates
under the control and disciplinary jurisdiction of only one authority, the Bangladesh Bar
Council, which is an autonomous organization in the management of its affairs6.

3.2 Division within the Unification

Although the law as mentioned above has created a single class of advocates in legal
profession, there exists, in fact, there groups of advocates who are entitled to practice
before subordinate courts; these advocates who have right of audience in the high Court
Division of the Supreme Courts. This group also has the right of audience in all
subordinate courts. The third group includes those advocates who have the right to
practice before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court; they are known as
Advocates on-Record. Their enrolment as Advocates-on-Record is regulated under the
Supreme Court (Appellate Division) Rules, 1988.

M.A. Halim, The Legal System of Bangladesh, 2nd ed., (Dhaka: Shams Publication, 2005), p.286.

3.3 The Bar Council
The Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order, 1972 provides for three main
bodies main bodies regarding the advocates’ enrolment, administration, control and
association: (1) the Bar Council;(2) the Bar Association; and (3) the Tribunal.

3.3.1 Constitution of the Bar Council

The Bangladesh Bar Council is constituted for a term of three years with fifteen
members of whole attorney-General of Bangladesh is Ex-officio Chairman.
Seven members shall be elected in the prescribed manner by the advocates on the
roll from amongst their number; and
Seven members shall be elected by the advocates who are members of the Local
Bar Associations included in group from amongst themselves.
No advocate shall hold office of the member of the Bar Council for more than two
consecutive terms (articles 5 and 5A).
There shall be a chairman and vice-chairman of the Bar Council. The Attorney
General for Bangladesh shall be the Chairman ex-officio of the Bar Council. The Vice-
Chairman shall be elected in the prescribed manner by the members of the Council from
amongst themselves (art.6)7.

3. 3.2. Status of the Bar Council

The Bar Council is a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal,
with power to acquire and hold property, both movable and immovable and to contract
and shall by the said name sue and be sued (article 3).

3.3.3. Powers and Functions of the Bar Council

Article 10 of the Bangladesh Bar Council Order, 1972 provides for the details of the
functions of the Bar Council which are as follows:
To admit persons as advocates on its roll, to hold examinations for purposes of
admission, and to remove advocates from such roll;
To prepare and maintain such roll;

Ibid, p.288.

To lay down standard of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates;
To entertain and determine cases of misconduct against advocates on its roll and
to order punishment in such cases;
To safeguard rights, privileges and interest of advocates on its roll;
To manage and invest the funds of the Bar Council;
To provide for election of its member;
To lay down the procedure to be followed by its Committees;
To promote legal education and to lay down the standards of such education in
consultation with the universities in Bangladesh imparting such education;
To perform all other functions conferred on it by or under this Order;
To do all other things necessary for discharging the aforesaid functions.

3.3.4. Committees of the Bar Council

The Bar Council has four standing committees to discharge its various functions:
An executive committee consisting of five members elected by the Council from
amongst its members;
A finance committee consisting of five members elected by the Council from
amongst its members.
A legal education committee consisting of nine members five elected by the
Council from person other that the members of the Council from person other than the
members of the Council at least two of whom shall be teachers of law in any University
or College in Bangladesh.
An enrolment committee consisting of five members as follows: (i) a Chairman to
be nominated by the Chief Justice from amongst the judges of the Appellate Division; (ii)
One member to be nominated by the Chief Justice from amongst the judges of the High
Court Division; (iii) Attorney General for Bangladesh; (iv) Two members elected by the
Bar Council from amongst its members.

3.4 The Bar Associations

Article 2(bb) defines that Bar Association means Supreme Court Bar Association or a
Local Bar Association Local Bar Association means any Bar Association in a District or

any other Bar Association recognized under article 39 but does not include the Supreme
Court bar Association. Article 40 prescribes that the Bar Council may make rules
providing for the manner in which and the conditions subject to which a Bar Association
may be recognized. Rile 67 of the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Rules
1972 provides that any Association of advocates practicing at a particular place may
apply to the Bar Council for recognition as a Bar Association. As per the Bar Council
statistics so far there are 81 Bar Associations recognized under this rule. A list of these
Associations along with total number of members has been given at the end of this
chapter. Apart from the Bar Council Order some rules as to Bar Association are provided
for in the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Rules 19728.
No person shall practice as an advocate unless he is a member of a recognized bar
Association of the place at which he ordinarily practices (Rule 66).
Before being admitted as an advocate every person shall take training for a
continuous period of six months as a pupil to an advocate of ten years practice
experience. Each Bar Association shall prepare a list of Advocates who are considered by
the respective Bar Association to be fit and capable of accepting pupil for imparting legal
training and send the same to the Bar Council for approval (Rule 40);
After being admitted as an advocate every person must within six months of his
enrolment become a member of a Bar Association. The certificate of enrolment of a
person who has not become a member of a Bar Association within six months of his
enrolment shall stand automatically suspended (Rule 66) :
Every advocate whose application for being admitted as a member of a Bar
Association has been dismissed by the Bar Association shall a right to appeal to the Bar
Council (Rule 66).

3.5 Conditions for Enrolment

As mentioned above the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order 1972
provides for enrolment of two groups of advocates one group working as advocates in the
subordinate courts and the other group working as advocates in the High Court Division
of the Supreme Court. There is a third group of advocate working in the Appellate

Ibid, p. 290.

Division of the Supreme Court whose enrolment as advocate-on-Record s dealt with the
Supreme Court (Appellate Division) Rules, 1988. Below are the rules of enrolment of
first two categories of advocates regulated under the Order and Rules framed there under.

3.5.1 Enrolment of Advocates in General

In order to be an advocate one has to fulfill the following two types of conditions:

3.5.2 Primary Conditions

He must be a citizen of Bangladesh; and he must complete the age of 21 years; and he has
obtained any of the following qualifications: (i) a degree in law from any university
situated within the territory which forms part of Bangladesh; or (ii) a bachelor’s degree in
law from any university outside Bangladesh recognized by the Bar Council; or (iii) he is
a barrister at law.

3.5.3 Secondary Conditions

Any person who has fulfilled the above three primary conditions to become an advocate,
has to apply in Form ‘A’ prescribed by the Bar Council; such an application must be
accompanied by the following: (i) satisfactory evidence of the applicant’s date of birth;
(ii) satisfactory evidence of qualification under article 27; (iii) two testimonials from
persons in good position as to the character and conduct of the applicant; (iv) affidavit
sating the statement made in the application in form ‘A’ are true and accurate; (v) a
receipt of payment of a fee of Taka 1,200.00. (Rule 59 of the Bangladesh Legal
Practitioners and Bar Council Rules 1972).
Every person before being admitted as an advocate must take pupilage for a
continuous period of six months in the Chamber of an advocate with 10 years standing.
Every applicant will have to sit for the written examination for four hours as per
Rule 60A;
Every applicant who has qualified in the written examination must pass the viva
voice examination held under the direction of the Enrolment Committee of the Bar

As per Rule 60 person seeking enrolment to the Bar Council shall have to take
such further legal training and post examination pupilage before enforcement of Sanad as
may be determined by the Bar Council. As part of this scheme Bar Vocational Course
(BVC) i now mandatory for the all applicants for enrolment. This course is conducted
under the supervision of the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council.
Every applicant who has successfully completed all the above conditions may be
granted a Certificate of Enrolment by the Enrolment Committee and when such a
certificate is granted the certificate holder will have legal to practise as an advocate in the
court under a particular Bar Association.9

3.5.4 Enrolment of Advocate to Practice in the High Court Division

In order to practice as an advocate in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court, an
advocate has to fulfill the following two sets of conditions:

3.5.5. Primary Conditions

He must be an enrolled advocate before subordinate courts in Bangladesh for a
period of two years; or
He must have any of the following qualifications: (i) He has praised as an
advocate before subordinate courts in Bangladesh for a period of two years; or (ii) He is a
law graduate and has practiced as an advocate before any court outside Bangladesh
notified by the Government in official Gazette (Article 21); or (iii) He was called to the
Bar in the UK or have obtained higher 2nd class in LL.M. (at least 50% marks in
aggregate) from any recognized university and further worked with a Senior Advocate of
the Supreme Court in his Chamber for at least one year (Rule 65A); or (iv) He has held a
judicial office for a period of art least ten years. Such a judicial officers shall not be
required to appear for written test (Rule 65A)10.

3.5.6 Secondary condition

Ibid, p.293.
Ibid, p.294

Any advocate who has fulfilled the above conditions will have to make an
application for permission to practice in the High Court Division in a prescribed form.
Such an application must be submitted to the Bar Council and the same must be
accompanied by the following: (i) A certificate from the concerned Bar Association
stating that the advocate is a regular member of his Bar Association and has been in
practice for a continuous period of at least two years; or (ii) A certificate showing that the
advocate was called to the Bar in the UK or has obtained a higher second class in LL.M.
from any recognized university and further worked with a senior advocate of the
Supreme Court for at least one year; and (iii) A list of 25 cases either civil or criminal or
both in which the Advocate appeared before the concerned courts; and (iv) A receipt/
bank draft showing payment of High Court permission fee of Tk. 5,000.00; and (v) One
copy passport size photograph of the advocate.
Every applicant for permission to practice in the High Court Division shall have
to sit for both written and viva voice test as provided fro in Rule 65A(2) of the
Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Rules 1972 and has to pass the same
before he can practice.

Chapter 4

4.1 The Tribunal

The Bar Council may constitute one or more Tribunals and each such Tribunal shall
consist of three persons of whom two shall be persons elected by the Council from
amongst its members and the other shall be a person co-opted by the Council from
amongst the advocates on the roll, and the senior most advocates amongst the members
of a Tribunal shall be its chairman (article 33). The power and jurisdiction have been
detailed in articles 34 and 35 of the Order and the detailed procedure of disciplinary
proceedings has been outlined in Chapter 4 of the Rules. As per article 36 any person
aggrieved by an order of a Tribunal may, within ninety days prefer an appeal to the High
Court Division11.

4.2 Disciplinary proceedings

Under Article 32 of the Order the Bar Council has the power to reprimand, suspend or
remove from practice any advocate if he is found guilty of misconduct. Against the
background of this power and also under the authority of the same article 32 any court or
any other person may make a complaint to the Bar Council about misconduct of an
advocate. On receipt of such a complaint the Bar Council may summarily reject the
complaint and if it does not do so, it will refer the matter to the Tribunal for disposal.
Again, the Bar Council may sou motu refer any case of misconduct of an advocate to the
tribunal for disposal. What will constitute professional misconduct?
In exercise of power conferred on the Bar Council by article 44(g) of the
Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council order 1972 the Bar Council has adopted
a set of Cannons of Professional Conduct and Etiquette to be complied with by advocates

Ibid, p. 295.

in their professional life. The Bar Council as a regulatory body of the advocates
supervises and regulates professional misconduct of advocates by these codes of conduct.
These cannons of conduct and etiquette have following four aspects: (a) Conduct with
regard to fellow Advocates; (b) Conduct with regard to Clients; (c) Duty to the Courts;
and (d) Conduct with regard to the Public in General.
Breach of the any of these cannons may be a ground of professional misconduct
against an advocate. The reproduction of all these cannons of conduct seems beyond the
plan of this book.

Chapter 5

5.1 Conduct with regard to other Advocates

It is the duty of every Advocate to uphold at all times the dignity and high standing of his
profession, as well as his own dignity and high standing as a member thereof.
An advocate shall not solicit professional employment by advertisement or by any other
means. This clause shall not be construed as prohibiting the publication or use of ordinary
professional cards, name plates or conventional listing in directories, so long as the
information contained therein is limited to professional and academic qualification and
public offices currently held and does not contain any matter which savours of personal
An Advocate shall not employ any other person to solicit or obtain professional
employment nor remunerate another for soliciting or obtaining professional employment
for him; nor shall he share with an unlicensed person any compensation, arising out of or
incidental to professional employment, nor shall he aid or abet an unlicensed person to
practice law or to receive compensation thereof; nor shall he knowingly accept
professional employment offered to him as a result of or as incidental to the activities of
an unlicensed person12.
An Advocate shall not communicate about a subject of controversy with a party
represented by an Advocate in the absence and without the consent of such Advocate.
An Advocate shall not in the absence of the opposing counsel communicate with or argue
before a judge or judicial officer except in open court and the merits of a contested matter
pending before such judge or judicial officer; nor shall he, without furnishing the

The Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order and Rules, 1972, (as amended up to
September 2008).

opposing Advocate with a copy thereof, address a written communication to a judge or
judicial officer concerning the merits of a contested matter pending before such judge or
judicial officer. This rule shall not apply to exporter matters or in respect of matters not
sub-judice before the judge or judicial officer concerned.
A client proffer of assistance of additional Advocate/s should not be regarded as
evidence of want of confidence but the matter should be left to the determination of the
client. An Advocate should decline association as a colleague unless the dues of the
Advocate first retained are paid.
Clients, not Advocates, are the litigants. Whatever may be the ill feeling existing
between clients, it should not be allowed to influence Advocates in their conduct and
demeanour toward the parties in the case. All personal clashes between Advocates should
be scrupulously avoided, in the trial of a cause it is indecent to allude to the personal
history or the personal peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of Advocates appearing on the
other side. Personal colloquies between Advocates which cause delay and promote
unseemly wrangling should be carefully avoided.
No division of fees with any person for legal services is proper, except with
another Advocate based upon the principle of division of work as expressed in the
agreement between the Advocates.
Subject to the precedence of the Attorney General and the Advocate General as
established by constitutional usage and practice, it is the duty of Advocates to maintain
and uphold the order of precedence in accordance with the Roll of Advocates maintained
by the Bar Council
Junior and younger members should always be respectful to senior and older
members. The latter are expected to be not only courteous but also helpful to their junior
and younger brethren at the Bar.
Where more than one Advocate is engaged on any side it is the right of the senior
member to lead the case and the junior members to assist him.

5.2 Conduct with regard To Clients

An Advocate shall not acquire an interest adverse to a client in the property or interest
involved in the case.
An Advocate shall not accept employment adverse to a client or former client,
relating to a matter in reference to which he has obtained confidential information by
reason of or in the course of his employment by such client or former client provided that
an advocate, who has not been formally engaged by a person and accepted a retainer nor
received any fees for such engagement is not precluded from accepting employment
adverse to the interest of such a person.
An Advocate shall not accept professional employment without first disclosing
his relation, if any, with the adverse party, and his interest, if any, in the subject matter of
such employment.
An Advocate shall not represent conflicting interests.
An Advocate shall not himself or in benami purchase any property at a probate,
foreclosure or judicial sale in an auction or proceeding in which such Advocate appears
for a party nor shall he accept the whole or part of the property, in respect of which he
had been engaged to conduct the case, in lieu of his remuneration, or as a reward or
An Advocate shall not commingle the property of a client with his own and shall
promptly report to the client the receipt by him of any money or other property belonging
to such client.
An Advocate shall not advise the commencement of prosecution or defense of
case, he has been consulted in reference thereto, except when his relation to a party or to
the subject matter is such as to make it proper for him to do so.
An Advocate in his professional capacity shall not advise the violation of any law.
This rule shall not apply to advice given in good faith, that a law is invalid.
It is the right of an Advocate to undertake the defense of a person accused of
crime, regardless of his personal opinion as distinguished from knowledge, as to the guilt
of the accused; otherwise innocent persons, victims merely of suspicious circumstances,
might be denied proper defense. Having undertaken such defense, an Advocate, is bound

Ibid, p.108.

by all fair and honorable means, to present every defense that the law of the land permits,
to the end that no person may be deprived of life or liberty except by due process of law.
In fixing fees, Advocates should avoid charges which overestimate their advice
and services as well as those which undervalue them. A client’s ability to pay cannot
justify a charge in excess of the value of the service, though his property may justify a
lesser charge or even none at all. The reasonable requests of a brother Advocate should of
the widows and orphans of an Advocate, all Advocates shall assist them free of charge.
In determining the amount of fee, it is proper to consider (i) the time and labour
required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill requisite
properly to conduct the case: (ii) whether the acceptance of employment in a particular
case will preclude the Advocate’s appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the
transaction, about which there is a reasonable expectation that otherwise he would be
employed, or will involve the loss of other business while employed in a particular case:
(iii) the customary charges of the Bar for similar service: (iv) the amount involved in the
controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the services: (v) the contingency
or the certainty of the compensation, and (vi) the character of the employment, whether
casual of for an established and constant client. Of these considerations, none in itself is
the controlling factor. These are more guidelines in ascertaining the real value of the
In fixing fees, it should never be forgotten that the profession is a branch of the
administration of justice and not a mere money making trade.
Controversies with clients concerning compensation are to be avoided by the
Advocate so far as shall be compatible with his self- respect and with his right to receive
reasonable recompense for his service. Any law suits with clients should be resorted to
only to prevent injustice, imposition or fraud.
Nothing operates more certainly to create or foster popular prejudice against
Advocates as a class, and to deprive the profession of that full measure of public esteem
and confidence which belongs to the proper discharge of its duties than done the false
claim, often set up by the unscrupulous in defense of questionable transactions, that it is
the duty of the Advocate to do whatever may enable him to succeed in winning his
client’s cause.

It is improper for an Advocate to assert in argument his personal belier in his
client’s innocence or in the justice of his cause. His professional duty is strictly limited to
making submissions at the Bar consistently with the interest of his client.
An Advocate owes entire devotion to the interests of the client, warm zeal in the
maintenance and defense of the rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability
to the end that nothing be taken or be withheld from him save by the rules of law, legally
applied. No fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him from the
full discharge of his duty. In the judicial forum the client is entitled to the benefit of any
and every remedy and be-fence that is authorized by the law of the land, and he may
expect his Advocate to assert every such remedy or defense. But it is steadfastly to be
borne in mind that the great trust of the Advocate is to be discharged within and not
without the bounds of the law. The office of an Advocate does not permit, much less does
it demand of him for any client, the violation of any law or any manner of fraud or
chicanery. In doing his professional duty to his client he must obey the voice of his own
conscience and not that of his client14.
When an Advocate is a witness for his client except as to merely formal matters,
such as the attestation or custody, of an instrument and the like, he should leave the trial
of the case to other Advocates. Except when essential to the ends of justice, an Advocate
should avoid testifying in court on behalf of his client.
In incidental matters, not affecting the merits of the cause in a trial, nor working
substantial prejudice to the rights of the client, such as forcing the opposing Advocate to
trial when he is under affliction or bereavement: forcing the trial on a particular day to the
injury of the opposing Advocate when no harm will result from a trial at a different time,
agreeing to an extension of time for filing written statements, cross interrogatories and
the like, the Advocate must be allowed to judge himself. In such matters no client has a
right to demand that his Advocate shall be ungenerous or that he does anything therein
repugnant to his own sense of honor and propriety.

Ibid, p.111.

5.3 Duty to the court
It is the duty of an Advocate to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, not for
the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its
supreme importance. Judge not being wholly free to defend themselves are peculiarly
entitled to receive the support of the Bar against unjust criticism and clam our. At the
same time whenever there is proper ground for complaint against a judicial officer, it is
the right and duty of an Advocate to ventilate such grievances and seek redress thereof
legally and to protect the complainant and persona affected.
An Advocate shall not advise a person, whose testimony could establish or tend to
establish a material fact, to avoid service of process, or conceal himself, or otherwise to
make his testimony unavailable.
An Advocate shall not intentionally misquote to a judge, judicial officer or jury
the testimony of a witness, the argument of the opposing Advocate or the contents of a
document; nor shall he intentionally misquote to a judge or judicial officer the language
of a book, statute or decision; nor shall he, with knowledge, of its invalidity and without
disclosing such knowledge, cite as authority a decision that has been overruled or a
statute that has been repealed or declared unconstitutional.
Marked attention and unusual hospitality on the part of an Advocate to a judge or
judicial officer not called for by the personal relations of the parties, subject both the
judge and the Advocate to misconstructions of motive and should be avoided. An
Advocate should not communicate or argue privately with the judge as to the merits of a
pending cause and he deserves rebuke and denunciation for any device or attempt to gain
from a judge special consideration or favor. A self-respecting independence in the
discharge of professional duty, without denial or diminution of courtesy and respect due
to the Judge’s station, is the only proper foundation for cordial personal and official
relations between the Bench and the Bar.
The primary duty of an Advocate engaged in public prosecution is not to convict,
but to see that the justice is done. The suppression of facts or the concealing of witnesses
capable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible.
Publications in newspapers by an Advocate as to pending or anticipated litigation
may interfere with a fair trial in the courts and otherwise prejudice the due administration

of justice. Generally they are to be condemned. If the extreme circumstances of a
particular case justify a statement or reference to the facts should not reach the public, it
is unprofessional to make them anonymously. An expert reference to the facts should not
reach the public, it is unprofessional to make them anonymously. An experte reference to
the facts should not go beyond question from the records and papers on file in the Court
but even in extreme cases it is better to avoid any exparte statement.
It is the duty of Advocates to endeavor to prevent political considerations from
outweighing judicial fitness in the appointment and selection of Judges. They should
protest earnestly and actively against the appointment or selection of persons who are
unsuitable for the Bench and thus should strive to have elevated thereto only those
willing to forego other employments whether of a business, political or other character,
which may embarrass their free and fair consideration of questions before them for
decision. The aspiration of Advocates for judicial position should be governed by an
impartial estimate of their ability to add honor to the office and not by a desire for the
distinction the position may bring to themselves.
It is the duty of Advocates to appear in court when a matter is called and if it is
not so possible, to make satisfactory alternative arrangements.
An Advocate should in general refrain from volunteering his legal opinion on or
addressing any arguments in cases in which such Advocate is not engaged unless called
upon to do so in open court by a judge or judicial officer. In advancing any such opinion,
he must do so with a sense of responsibility and impartiality without any regard to the
interest of any party.

5.4 Conduct with regard to the Public generally.

An Advocate shall not accept employment to prosecute or defend a case out of spite or
for the purposing of harassing anyone or delaying any matter nor shall he take or
prosecute an appeal willfully motivated to harass any one or delay any matter.
An Advocate should always treat adverse witnesses and parties with fairness and
due consideration, and he should never minister to the malevolence or prejudices, of a
client in the trial or conduct of a cause. The client can not be made the keeper of the
Advocate’s conscience in professional matters. He has no right to demand that his

Advocate shall abuse the opposite party or indulge in offensive arguments.
Improper speech is not excusable on the ground that it is what the client would say if
speaking on his own behalf.
An Advocate must decline to conduct a civil cause or to make a defense when
convinced that it is intended merely to harass or to injure the opposite party or to work
any oppression or wrong. But otherwise it is his right, and having accepted a retainer, it
becomes his duty to insist upon the judgment of the court as to the legal merits of his
client’s claim. His appearance in court should be deemed equivalent to an assertion on his
honor that in his opinion his client’s case is one proper for judicial determination15.
No Advocate is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who
may wish to become his client. He has right to decline professional employment. Every
Advocate upon his own responsibility must decide what business he will accept as an
Advocate, what causes he will bring into court for plaintiffs, and what cases he will
contest in court for the defendants.
No client, corporate or individual, however powerful, nor any cause, civil or
political, however important, is entitled to receive, nor should any Advocate render, any
service or advice involving disloyalty to the law, whose ministers Advocates are, or
disrespect the judicial office, which they are bound to uphold, or corruption of any person
or, persons exercising public office or private trust nor indulge in deception or betrayal of
the public. When rendering any such improper service or advice the Advocate invites and
merits stern and just condemnation. Correspondingly, he advances the honor of his
profession and the best interests of his client when he renders service or gives advice
tending to impress upon the client and undertaking exact compliance with the strictest
principles of moral law, though until a statute shall have been finally construed and
interpreted by competent adjudication, he is free and indeed is entitled to advise as to its
validity and as to what he conscientiously believes to be its just meaning and extent. But
above all an Advocate will find his highest in a deserved reputation for fidelity to private
trust and to public duty as an honest man and as a patriotic and loyal citizen.

Ibid, p.113.

An Advocate shall not communicate with, nor appear before, a public officer,
board, committee or body, in his professional capacity, without first disclosing that he is
an Advocate representing interests that may be affected by the action of such officer,
committee or body.
An Advocate should not accept employment as an Advocate in any matter upon
the merits of which he has previously acted in a judicial capacity.
An Advocate having once held public office or having been in the public employ,
should not, after his retirement accept employment in connection with any matter which
he has investigated or dealt with while in such office, nor employment except in support
An Advocate should not as a general rule carry on any other profession or
business, or be an active partner in or a salaried official or servant in connection with any
such profession or business.

Chapter 6

The administration of justice in a legal system is run and administered by the interaction
of some essential organs one of which is legal profession. Legal profession is noble,
prestigious and service oriented task from time primordial from pole to pole. It demands
higher degree of devotion, determination and commitment to the entire gaumt of
judiciary consists of judicial officer, court staff and justice seekers. A career in legal
profession can be intellectual, challenging, personally fulfilling and financially
rewarding. Increased segmentation and specialization in the legal profession has spawned
a growing number of legal specialities and sub-speacialities that cater to almost every
legal interest. Vast bodies of case law and the demands of the legal profession creates a
simultaning intellectual enviorment for the legal professional. In bangladesh Lawyers,
have a role in upholding the rule of law. Lawyers have played a vital role in shaping the
social and political life of Bangladesh. Most of the frontline leadership for independence
was from the legal profession. In all subsequent events of national importance, when
citizens rights and individual liberty have been at stake, Lawyers have remained staunch
defenders of the rule of law and basic human rights.