Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct is intended to lay down minimum standards to which attorneys-at-law are required to adhere. Its promulgation is not intended to deny the existence of such other duties and rules of conduct at the Bar as were extant immediately before our attainment of independence on 26th May, 1966, and which, unless specifically varied by legislation, are deemed to be continuing and are to be equally observed with this Code.
Where an attorney-at law is in doubt on any matter touching professional conduct or where he requires ethical guidance he should immediately get in touch with the Secretary of the Bar Association. The underlying aim is that an attorney-at-law should at all times conduct himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the legal system and the legal profession.
Integrity and judicial independence are the twin pillars of justice.
Rule 1 – Confidentiality
1. An attorney-at-law shall so arrange his business and office to ensure that his clients’ affairs are treated with the utmost confidence.
2. Every attorney-at-law has a duty to hold in strict confidence all information received in the course of the professional relationship from or concerning his client or his clients’ affairs and this information should not be divulged by an attorney-at-law unless he is expressly or impliedly authorised by his client to do so.
3. The duty of confidentiality survives the professional relationship and continues indefinitely after the attorney-at-law has ceased to act for the client whether differences may have arisen between them or not.
4. The duty of confidentiality enjoins an attorney-at-law to avoid indiscreet conversation, even with his spouse or family about a client, or his affairs and he should shun gossiping about such things even though the client is not named or otherwise identified.
5. The relationship of client and attorney-at-law compels the latter to eschew personal intimate relations with clients.
6. An attorney-at-law shall not use undue influence on client to obtain a gift under his client’s will or testamentary instruments, neither shall the attorney-at-law in any way exploit the confidential relationship for making personal profits or investments by himself or by those acting through him.
Rule II – Rule of Law
1. All attorneys-at-law shall be deemed to subscribe to the rule of law, which they shall use as an unalterable and fundamental guide in the conduct of their professional affairs.
2. Every attorney-at-law shall encourage public respect for and strive to improve the administration of justice.
3. Any criticism by an attorney-at-law of the system of justice or its functionaries must be reasoned and soundly based. Attorneys-at-law shall avoid criticisms that are petty or intemperate.
4. Attorneys-at-law shall not subvert the law by counselling or assisting in activities which are in defiance of it, nor do anything to diminish the respect and confidence of the public in the legal system of which they are a part.
5. Attorneys-at-law shall refrain from making irresponsible allegations of corruption or partially that may tend to weaken or destroy public confidence in legal institutions.
6. Attorneys-at-law shall obey and show respect for law.
Rule III – Integrity
1. Attorneys-at-law shall discharge their duties to courts of law, their clients, members of the public and their professional colleagues with integrity.
2. Neither in his private nor in his professional activities shall there be dishonest conduct on the part of the attorney-at-law.
3. A legal opinion should be given frankly based on an objective consideration of facts and fair judgment, and should not be influenced by interest of the client.
4. Honesty, honour and reliability are the fountainheads of integrity.