Can an advocate be held liable under the Consumer Protection Act? Supreme Court will give its verdict tomorrow

The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict tomorrow (May 14) on the issue of whether advocates can be held liable under the Consumer Protection Act for deficiency in services.

a bench of judges Bela Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal heard the case in detail and reserved its decision on 26 February.

The issue, which is relevant to members of the Bar, emerged from a judgment delivered by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2007. The Commission had ruled that the services provided by lawyers fall under Section 2(o) of the Consumer Protection Act. , Needless to say, the said provision defines service.

It was held that a lawyer cannot be responsible for the favorable outcome of a case because the result/outcome does not depend solely on the work of the lawyer. However, if there was any deficiency in providing the promised services for which he receives consideration in the form of fees, action can be taken against the lawyers under the Consumer Protection Act.

Furthermore, it was also opined that the contract between the client and the lawyer is bilateral. The Commission said that upon receipt of the fees the lawyer will appear and represent the case on behalf of his client.

An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court against this order. Earlier, in 2009, the apex court had stayed the commission's decision.

Many lawyers on this matter argued that a lawyer is not just a mouthpiece for his client but is also an officer of the court. It was also emphasized that a certain amount of immunity and independence is necessary for a lawyer while discharging his duties as an officer of the Court.

Senior advocate V Giri, who was appointed amicus curiae in this case, had also addressed the bench on the last date of hearing. Among other things, he had argued that once a lawyer, being the agent of his client, appears before the court and acts on his behalf, it does not amount to a relationship between a service provider and a service consumer. It is possible

The report on this matter can be read here: Lawyers appearing for clients in court are not 'service providers' as per Consumer Protection Act, says amicus; Supreme Court reserved the decision

'Lawyers work in an environment beyond their control': SCAORA urges Supreme Court not to impose Consumer Protection Act on advocates

Advocates cannot be brought under Consumer Protection Act just because they are doctors, both professions are different: Arguments before Supreme Court

Lawyer assisting in a sovereign function cannot be brought under Consumer Protection Act: Arguments before Supreme Court

Can an advocate be held liable under the Consumer Protection Act? Supreme Court started hearing

Case Title: Bar of Indian Lawyers through its President Jasbir Singh Malik vs. DKGandhi PS National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Diary No. 27751 – 2007

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