Supreme Court Clarifies the Intricate Relationship Between Advocate and Client

The Supreme Court recently articulated the nuanced relationship between an advocate and their client, emphasizing the multifaceted roles and responsibilities that define this professional bond. Advocates, who act on behalf of their clients in various judicial settings, must first be appointed through a formal document known as a “Vakalatnama.” This document not only empowers the advocate but also delineates their responsibilities which include obligations to the courts, their clients, the opposition, and their colleagues, as stated by the Bar Council of India Rule.

As agents of their clients, advocates are imbued with fiduciary duties which compel them to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. This includes respecting the client’s autonomy, particularly in making key decisions related to the objectives of the legal representation. Moreover, advocates are prohibited from making any concessions or undertakings in court without clear and direct instructions from their clients, ensuring that no action taken could inadvertently compromise a client’s legal position.

The role of an advocate extends beyond mere legal representation; they are fundamentally the link between the client and the court system. Given this critical role, advocates are expected to strictly adhere to the instructions provided by their clients, avoiding any substitution of their professional judgment for that of the client’s expressed wishes. This relationship places considerable control in the hands of the client, influencing how advocates render their services during legal proceedings.

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This clarification by the Supreme Court underscores the serious and onerous responsibilities advocates bear in the legal landscape, highlighting the importance of their role in maintaining the integrity and efficacy of judicial proceedings.

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