Lawyers Should View The Legal Profession As A Service To Society Rather Than Solely A Means For Financial Gain: Kerala High Court






A single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran of Kerala High Court remarked that billing clients hourly for legal services is a misconception, emphasizing that this practice does not align with the standards in Kerala and further added that lawyers should not rely on what they find on the internet regarding Americans views on Legal profession.

“Law is not a money-making profession. If anybody who enters this profession believes that this is a machine that behaves like an ATM – you put in the hours and you get the money – they are sadly and grossly mistaken. Law being a profession where you charge by the hour is a misconception. It may be true in other parts of the world but not in Kerala. And I don’t want it to happen in Kerala, and preferably in the rest of the country. None of us have worked like this, nor do I work like that even now”.

“You come here after reading on the internet what the Americans and all are doing. We don’t work by the hour. For us, the profession is still a service”.

He also highlighted the dedication of judges and government pleaders, underscoring their extensive work hours.

“How many hours do you think we are putting in? We don’t blow our trumpet for that. How many hours do you think the government pleaders are putting in? Many of them don’t sleep in the night because in my court they will have 200-250 matters to look up each day. We don’t work by the hour”.

The observation of the bench was made while hearing a petition which was presented by a lawyer from Kottayam who had been designated as an advocate commissioner by the Chief Judicial Magistrate to oversee the acquisition of specified premises.

Upon receiving a payment of Rs 8,500, the lawyer conducted three site visits alongside bank representatives. During the third visit, the bank officials purportedly suggested partial possession, leading to a discrepancy later highlighted by the bank to the magistrate.

Subsequently, the lawyer expressed surprise at the unfolding events in court and decided against completing the possession process. Consequently, she returned her commission warrant, and the magistrate instructed her to refund the remaining amount. However, as she had already made three visits, she argued that no balance was owed.

In response, the bank objected, resulting in the magistrate’s directive for the lawyer to repay Rs 2,500 of the total sum received.

Furthermore, the magistrate ruled to expel her from the court’s commission panel. Displeased with this decision, the lawyer approached the High Court, asserting that the magistrate’s ruling was unjust, arbitrary, and unlawful.

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