Advocate censured over attempting to extract fee from former client

Team SoOLEGAL 30 Nov 2018 3:40pm

Advocate censured over attempting to extract fee from former client

The Madras High Court censured an advocate for his attempt to extract litigation fees from a former client despite relinquishing the legal brief, as per a report published in TOI.

The Court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the lawyer, saying that it could not just lay back and watch the lawyer attempting to gain the ‘champertous’ litigation fees.

Noting that the sentiment embodied in the quote “Law is no trade, briefs no merchandise” was fast eroding, Justice P T Asha said,

Today we are faced with falling standards in the profession where an unscrupulous few have started commercialising this noble profession and professional ethics have taken a back seat.”

Justice Asha further stressed that advocates are a crucial part of the justice dispensation system, and thus, their conduct should not only be faultless but above reproach. She also said that the lawyers are expected to follow the norms of professional ethics and must ensure to protect the interests of their clients with respect to whom they occupied a position of trust.

The advocate in question – N Ponnusamy of Coimbatore – had initially been occupied in a lawsuit relating to non-payment of rental arrears. Eventually, his clients decided to end his services and appoint another lawyer. And, the clients appointed new counsel only after Ponnusamy said he had no objection.

However, Ponnusamy filed a plea before the Additional District Judge in Coimbatore alleging that the legal fees of about Rs 56lakh still need to be paid by his former clients. And, he even claimed that the clients could not appoint another lawyer as they had not obtained the leave of the court.

Following this, the advocate’s former clients filed a revision petition challenging his plea.

When the petition came up for hearing before Justice P T Asha, the judge wondered how the Additional District Judge had entertained the plea in the first place considering the peculiar manner in which it was drafted. Justice Asha then concluded that “the cause of action claimed by Ponnusamy did not exist”.

Source: TOI

Tagged: Madras High Court   Advocate Fined   Advocate   Lawyer   Litigation Fees  
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