How to recover the advance fee paid to a lawyer?


My lawyer has taken all his fees in advance from me about 10 months back. Now I have realized that he has not only joined hands with husband but he is also not competent which he earlier concealed from me. Can I get my fees back from him. I paid him by raising loans and have to return back the money. I am financially very weak since into matrimonial litigation. Pl help

Answers (1)


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1. An Advocate is under an obligation to accept a brief in the Courts in which he/she professes to practise, at a proper professional fee, unless there are special circumstances which justify his/her refusal to accept a particular brief. In particular, every person who is charged before the Court has a right to services of counsel in the presentation of his/her defence. Subject to what has been said above, it is the duty of every advocate to whom the privilege of practising in Courts of Law is afforded, to undertake the defence of an accused person who requires his/her services. Any action which is designed to interfere with the performance of this duty is an interference with the course of justice.
2. It shall be the duty of an advocate, when accepting a brief, to record in a letter to his/her client, the scope of work to be done in the brief and the services for which the client will be charged by the advocate. Any amendment to the scope of work may be done with the consent of the client and shall be duly recorded by the advocate.
3. An advocate shall not stipulate for a fee contingent on the results of litigation or agree to share the proceeds thereof.
4. An Advocate may decline a specialist brief if he/she considers himself not competent to accept the brief.
5. An earlier brief, once accepted, takes precedence over a later brief, should any conflict arise in regard to the performance of such briefs.
6. An advocate shall give his/her personal attention to all briefs. In doing so, an Advocate must hold requisite conferences/ discussions with clients/ briefing counsel. It is improper to hand on a brief received by him to anyone else.
7. It is improper for an advocate to hold a brief for another advocate, except in the case of illness or the intervention of unforeseen and unavoidable contingencies causing the latter's absence sine lucri causa or for any other reason which, in the opinion of the Bar Council, is good and sufficient in the circumstances. This shall include the absence of a member on Bar Council business.
8. An Advocate shall accept only as many briefs as he/she is sure he/she can
attend to, and shall refrain from accepting briefs in which he/she is likely not to be available owing to his/her preoccupation in other matters.
9. It shall be improper for an advocate to charge an additional fee to ensure his/her presence in a matter, once he/she has accepted a brief.
10. In a case where an Advocate after obtaining fee in advance is unable to appear in Court at the time of hearing of the case, the Advocate shall forthwith refund the entire fee, so obtained, to the client.
11. “Brief” includes transactional and non-litigation work entrusted by a client and handled by a lawyer or a firm of lawyers.


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