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Delhi High Court directs Bar Council of India (BCI) to Frame Guidelines regarding Professional fees charged by Advocates

Team SoOLEGAL 25 Feb 2019 2:37pm

Delhi High Court directs Bar Council of India (BCI) to Frame Guidelines regarding Professional fees charged by Advocates

Recently, Delhi High Court ordered Bar Council of India to frame some guidelines regarding payment to lawyers.

A Plaintiff had filed an application stating that she approached engaged Advocate P.K. Chauhan to take up her case, but later changed her mind and withdrew his services. The Advocate was requested not to appear in her cases. The submission of the Plaintiff was that the Advocate was in possession of various blank signed cheques. These cheques were given by the lady as security for his fees.

THE Delhi High Court observed that Bar Council of India has not laid down any particular guidelines for payment to a professional lawyer. Justice Prathiba M. Singh also observed that was that a lawyer’s taking blank cheques as security for fees from the client and encashing it without the prior permission of the client constitutes an act of professional misconduct.

“The court also directed the Bar Council of India to consider creation of a resolution mechanism including appointment of an external Ombudsman to deal with any complaints from litigants in respect of professional fees charged or practices adopted. Timelines for resolution of such complaints may also be prescribed, the court suggested.”

The following issues were listed by the Court to be addressed by framing guidelines prescribing the manner of charging professional fees by lawyers:

1.      Manner of determining the fee consistent with the standing in the Bar, as prescribed in Rule 11;

2.      Manner of determining the fee consistent with the nature of the case, as prescribed in Rule 11;

3.      Reasonable fee that can be charged by lawyers, especially from individual litigants and whether some broad parameters should be prescribed;

4.      Reduction of the fee agreement in writing in some form;

5.      Charging of professional fees in kind and whether the same is permissible;

6.      Issuance of receipts upon accepting the professional fees and whether the same ought to be mandatory;

7.      Insistence of payment of fees in cash beyond the prescribed limits in law;

8.      Demanding and accepting security in any form, for professional fee and whether the same is permissible; modes of recovery of outstanding fees from litigantsBar Council of India was also directed to appoint an Ombudsman who will deal with the complaints of the litigants regarding professional fees charged or practices adopt.

Tagged: BCI   DelhiHighCourt   Advocates   ProfessionalFees  
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