This refers to the article, “Fair advocacy as a right” (March 27). While the writer’s plea for the standardisation of legal fees must be appreciated, one must also highlight the reality. Standardisation of remuneration for lawyers, doctors, chartered accountants, artists and other professionals is rather difficult as the demand and the payment is, like it or not, based on “star value,” unlike service personnel in all organised areas in the private and public sectors.
C.P. Chandra Das,
Law, teaching and medicine are professions that have traditionally been noble and prestigious. They have been seen more as forms of public service rather than as tools for wealth accumulation as they are related to professional ethics and general morality.
The advent of the era of high legal fees, expensive coaching institutes for competitive courses and consumer-centric medical treatment have only taken away this aura. The corporate approach to these services is what transforms these jobs into mere commodities and many of their practitioners into becoming driven only by considerations of money.
There must be a consensus on exercising ethics in the charging of legal fees. The aim must be to ensure that the legal profession contributes to making equal justice for all a reality. Let me quote the words of Justice Brennan: “Nothing rankles more in the human heart than a brooding sense of injustice. Illness we can put up with. But injustice makes us want to pull things down. When only the rich can enjoy the law, and the poor cannot have it because expense puts it beyond their reach, the threat to the continued existence of a free democracy is not imaginary, it is very real.”
Anary Krishnan Kutty,
The “star value” of a lawyer is conferred on him or her by his clients when one is found to be meritorious due to his hard work, dedication, skills and goodwill, as in the case of doctors. Hence, the system of fixing fees based on “star value” is not without merit. Fair advocacy as a right can only be wishful thinking. The suggestion by the writer that the state should interfere with the “legal market” in the country is far-fetched.