ISLAMABAD: People are losing confidence in the judicial system because the legal fraternity is not observing ethical values in legal practice, senior puisne judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Aamer Farooq said on Wednesday.
Speaking to lawyers at a seminar on Legal Ethics, Justice Farooq said an advocate must not behave to diminish confidence in the eye of the public.
He said people should have confidence in the judicial system, but litigants are unfortunately losing faith in the system because it is not working properly due to certain flaws.
“It is unfortunate that educational institutions not imparting ethics,” he said.
Justice Farooq said: “A newcomer used to join some chamber not only to learn how to practice law but also to learn mannerism, the way he should be dealing with the court and clients. This is not in practice anymore as the system is eroding.”
“What we are experiencing is primarily the result of that fact,” he added.
Ethics are something we learn at home, in the chambers and in courts, he said.
He said an advocate charges clients who are seeking justice from the courts fees, and should therefore never make misleading submissions. In addition, the lawyer should not waste the court’s time since it is a waste of public expense, he said.
Comparing the Pakistani judicial system to that of Western countries, he said that in the West advocates are allocated a certain amount of time to argue a case and are supposed to conclude within the stipulated timeframe or else they are fined for wasting the court’s time. However, this is not the practice in Pakistan.
While discussing case management, Justice Farooq said a lawyer is expected to prepare a case diary. In the United Kingdom, a lawyer is supposed to deal with a couple of cases on a single day but this is not happening here. Instead, junior lawyers seek adjournments since senior counsel is busy in other courts.
He said that a lawyer is duty bound “to be very candid, serious and straightforward.”
Justice Farooq also said that advocates should be careful giving media statements and “do not be speculative, do not be the judge and do not say anything that amounts to contempt.”
He urged the Pakistan Bar Council and the Islamabad Bar Council to improve the rules related to the professional code of conduct of lawyers.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2019