What Is The Analysis From An Indian Perspective Regarding The Concept of Contingency Fees of Advocates? In India, the client cannot get into a contingency agreement with the lawyer to pay the fees based on the favourable order, rather the lawyer must be paid for the efforts he is putting to the case. A contingency fee can be easily defined as the fee that will be payable to the...
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What Is The Analysis From An Indian Perspective Regarding The Concept of Contingency Fees of Advocates?
In India, the client cannot get into a contingency agreement with the lawyer to pay the fees based on the favourable order, rather the lawyer must be paid for the efforts he is putting to the case.
A contingency fee can be easily defined as the fee that will be payable to the lawyer depending on the result of the case - if the client wins, the lawyer shall receive a hefty amount from the client as a fee, and otherwise, the lawyer gets no fee. Analytically, this is a high-risk venture, as the lawyers invest enough time and resources into the client's case.
However, there is an alternate interpretation of the same issue, where it has been stated that if a lawyer bringing a lawsuit that if gets paid only on winning, he may not take up cases that are difficult to win. This may make it difficult for an actual victim, without much evidence in hand to get added on more tensions.
Indian Perspective on Contingency Fees
With the belief that the financial interest on the result of the case may create a competitive environment for the lawyers, which may give rise to malpractices to win the case, and that is not an expected situation for delivering justice.
Moreover, the legal profession in India is considered a noble profession and it is believed that the lawyer prioritizes the client's interest before anything else. The procedure of the legal system ensures quality and facilitate certain opportunity on the lawyers. Therefore, it is crucial to align the interest of lawyers and their clients.
It is relevant to say that the lawyers have a better and deeper knowledge of the law and the legal proceedings, but the complex legal system and uncertain human nature it makes difficult for the client to determine the weight of the caser and if the service provided by the lawyer is appropriate and in good faith.
The concept can be explained with the help of a landmark case Ganga Ram vs Devi Dasi, where the agreement for the contingency fees was held void on the ground of violation to the public policy and against the professional ethics of the lawyers.
Some argue against this above-mentioned belief, that the contingent fee shall enable the litigants to have broader access to justice, however that is not accepted in India. The non-acceptance is supported by the reason that is explained in another case of C. Rangadurai vs. D Gopalan, where the Court held that the client and lawyer relationship must
Be based on the trust and the lawyer may misuse his position and power if there is a contingency fees agreement. The lawyer who has more connections to justice may try to influence him non ethically to pass an order in his favour.
There is another severe possibility that a lawyer may avoid taking up cases with less chances to win, leaving the client hopeless in search of a good lawyer to take up his case. For example, in criminal matters like murder, if a young man was murdered by some political goons, the lawyers may avoid fighting the case for the victim's family, because they murderers having a better connection with the higher authorities may hire a more efficient lawyer and get them free. This kind of incidents will lead to a failure of the legal system, as there will be justice only to the powerful or at a position of advantage.
One can easily agree with the fact that the effort based payment system in India is better than the result based payment system, as it makes the lawyer put productive efforts to make the cases stronger, rather than focusing on the easy to win cases.
India puts a total ban on entering into any contingency agreement between the lawyer and the client, as this has a fair chance to influence the exploitation of the legal system.