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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Whether Advocates are liable under consumer protection Act ?

This is often talked and joked by people connected with the legal arena but the question is surely important as advocates are also professionals like many others rendering services for payments and whether their services comes under purview of consumer protection act 1986? The tussle is already started long back when some one filed case which was got decided and further appealed and now stayed by the apex court.
We may get a good piece of verdict on this but have to wait until it comes out.

The State Commission, Delhi, held that services rendered by a Lawyer would not come within the ambit of s. 2(1)(o) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as the client executes the power of attorney authorizing the Counsel to do certain acts on his behalf and there is no term of contract as to the liability of the lawyer in case he fails to do any such act. The State Commission held that it is a unilateral contract executed by the client giving authority to the lawyer to appear and represent the matter on his behalf without any specific assurance or undertaking.
This verdict was reversed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on the ground that lawyers are rendering a service. They are charging fees. It is not a contract of personal service and that there was no reason to hold that they are not covered by the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It was held that though a Lawyer may not be responsible for the favourable outcome of a case as the result/out come does not depend upon only on lawyers’ work, but, if there was deficiency in rendering services promised, for which consideration in the form of fee is received by him, then the lawyers can be proceeded against under the Consumer Protection Act.
The said judgement of the NCDRC has now been stayed by the Supreme Court

The main case for reference is  D.K. Gandhi vs M. Mathias and decided by NCDRC in August 2007 and pending as now...

I am soon starting a Judgements page where i will be putting important judgements collected  for reading and reference.

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