COUNCIL OF MINISTERS REGULATION NO. 57/1999
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS REGULATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR THE FEDERAL COURT ADVOCATES CODE OF CONDUCT
These Regulations are issued by the Council of Minister pursuant to Article 5 of the Definitions of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 4/1995.
1. Short Title
These Regulations may be cited as the “Federal Court Advocates Code of Conduct Council of Minister Regulations No. 57/1999.”
2. Scope of Application
These Regulations shall apply to any person who is issued with a federal courts’ advocacy license.
3. General Principal
Any advocate shall have the responsibility to assist the organs of the administration of justice in the effort to promote respect for the law and the attainment of justice. Any advocate shall, in particular discharge his professional duty to his client, other lawyers and opposing party, the court, his profession, and the society in general honestly, faithfully and truthfully.
4. Receiving Clients
Any advocate may not handle a case of a client seeking legal service where, after evaluating the facts and the evidence, the claim has no legal ground. However, he may collect reasonable fee for the legal advice he had rendered, and dismiss the client.
5. Declining Advocacy Service
Any advocate may not decline to render advocacy service on grounds of the moral character of the client, the serious and heinous nature of the crime committed or the belief that the client is guilty of the crime charged, or on the basis of the client’s political, economic, social or moral standings.
6. Contract with Client
1. Any advocate shall make a clear and written contractual agreement with his client. T contract shall include the names of the parties, address, type of service, type and scope of representation, the amount of fee, way of computation, mode and time of payment of the fee, and such other information as necessary.
2. An agreement restricting or totally avoiding the civil liability of the advocate due to the advocate’s failure to tender proper service to his client shall be of no effect.
7. Type of Service and Scope of Representation
1. An Advocate shall have the obligation, after evaluating the facts and evidences of the case, to assist his client reach on the proper decision by giving him explanation based on the law as to the possible result or alternative results of the matter, and the type and scope of representation that must be assumed to obtain the desired result.
2. The advocate shall respect the decision of the client made on the basis of the advice given by the advocate as long as the decision does not violate the law and these regulations. He shall, in particular, respect the decision made by the client to solve he matter by settlement.
3. When the assistance required or service request by the client is in violation of these regulations or other law, the advocate shall explain the reason why he cannot render service and dismiss the client if the client fails to make corrections based on the advice given.
4. The advocate shall provide the client with the relevant information and assist him reach at the appropriate decision when the client requests information seeking to give decision when the client requests information seeking to give decision on the representation.
8. Rendering Competent Service
1. Any advocates expected to show a high level of professional competence and skill in the advocacy service he renders.
2. An advocate shall have professional obligation, within the limits of the law:
a) To employ his legal knowledge and work experience to protect the rights and interests of his client;
b) To follow up his client’s case diligently and take all the necessary measures carefully and timely so as to obtain a quick and just decision.
Any advocate shall have the obligation to keep informed his client with the stage the case has reached and its status. The client has the right to get a quick response when he requests for information.
10. Confidentiality of Information
1. Any advocate shall have professional obligation to keep on secret the personal or organizational information of his client or any other information he obtained in the course of his professional service.
2. The advocate may not, without the consent of the client, reveal information relating to this power of representation and nay other information.
3. The obligation of professional confidentiality of an advocate may not cease because of termination of the contract with the client.
11. Condition of Disclosure
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 10, an advocate may, hen he reasonable believes appropriate, reveal to the extent necessary the information he obtained in the course of his professional duties, in the following cases:
1. When the information he obtained from the client is necessary for the task he is represented;
2. To defend himself or claim his interests in a controversy with the client;
3. When a controversy arises concerning his power of representation; or
4. To perform his obligations as expressly provided otherwise by law.
12. Conflict of Interests
Any advocate may not enter into a contract to render professional service when he knows that there exists conflict of interests between the client and himself, or between his relatives and his client, or between his partners and his client, or between his clients. When the existence of conflict of interests has been discovered after the service has already begun the advocate shall explain the matter to his client and terminate the service.
13. Conflict of Interests with Former Client
1. Any advocate who has formerly rendered legal service in a matter on the same matter a new client whose interests are adverse to the former client unless the former client consents, after consultation, in writing.
2. Any advocate may not represent a new client whose interests are adverse to a client to whom the firm, with which the advocate was formerly associated, had previously rendered legal service and about whom the advocate has acquired any information, unless the former client consents after consultation, in writing.
14. Contract Between Advocate and Client
Any advocate may not enter into, with the client, any contract unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The contract between the advocate and the client is proper and reasonable in view of the time and the situations;
2. The advocate clearly explains to the client the terms of the agreement and type of the contract; or
3. The client consents in writing to the agreement after consultation with another person.
15. Gifts and Wills by Client
Any advocate may accept a gift of considerable value or a will made to him by his client’s free will only when the matter is in writing, and the advocate ascertains that the client had been represented by an independent advocate and given the proper advice concerning the consequences of his act.
16. Loans Between Advocate and Client
Any advocate may no lend money to, or borrow money from his client.
17. Consultancy Service of an Advocate with Partnership in a Business Organization
Any advocate who is a partner in a business organization may render advice in general or third parties; he may not, however, render advice in the matter of the organization regarding himself.
18. Advocate who Formerly was a Civil Servant
1. Any advocate who formerly was a public employer or officer may not render professional service to a client in matters on which he passed decisions directly or participated in substantially unless he obtains the written consent of the former employer after consultation.
2. Unless otherwise provided by law, an advocate who has acquired information about a person while he was a public employee of officer may not represent a client whose interests are adverse to that person of whom the information is about.
19. Former Judge or Arbitrator or Conciliator
1. In no case may any advocate render advocacy service in a matter in which he had participated as a judge or arbitrator or conciliator.
2. Any advocate may not negotiable for employment with any person who was a party or a lawyer in a matter in which he had served as a judge, arbitrator, conciliator, legal clerk or similar other position.
3. A legal firm in which an advocate disqualified by sub-article (1) of this article is a member may continue representation, through another advocate, in a matter in which the member advocate is prohibited if:
a. The disqualified advocate is screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee there from;
b. Written notice is promptly given to the appropriate body which handled the case as indicated by sub-article (1) of this article to enable it ascertain compliance with the provisions of these regulations.
20. Working as Conciliator
1. Any advocate may act as a conciliator between clients in accordance with the following provisions, if:
a. The advocate explains the implications of the common representation, including the advantages and disadvantages involved, and both clients consent to the conciliation.
b. The advocate reasonably believes that the matter can be resolved on terms compatible with the clients; best interests, especially that each client will be able to make adequate decisions in the matter,
c. There is no substantial harm likely to happen to the interests of any of the clients if the contemplated resolution is unsuccessful; and
d. The advocate ensures that the common representation can be undertaken impartially and without improper effect on either party.
2. While acting as a conciliator, any advocate shall consult with each client concerning the decisions to be made and explain the considerations relevant in making them, o help each client make complete and adequate decisions.
3. An advocate shall withdraw as a conciliator when any of he clients so requests, or if any of the conditions under sub-article (1) is not satisfied. He may, after withdrawal, not represent any of the parties on the matter.
21. Advocate to an Organization
1. An advocate representing an organization renders service acting through the duly authorized individuals in accordance with the rules of the organization.
2. If an advocate on the course of representing an organization believes that an officer, employee of the organization or other person associated with the organization is engaged in an action or refuses to act in a manner that would be imputed to the organization as unlawful, and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization, the advocate shall take the necessary legal measures to prevent the damage. The measures to be taken by the advocate may include the following.
a. Asking reconsideration of the matter.
b. Advising that a separate opinion on the matter be given for presentation to the appropriate authority in the organization; or
c. Referring the matter to higher authority in the organization or if the matter is serious, referral to the highest decision making authority in the organization.
3. If, despite the efforts in accordance with sub-article (2) of this article, the highest authority insists upon t act that is in violation of the law and is likely to result in substantial injury to the organization to continue, the advocate is expected to resign from his service.
4. In dealing with the cases of the organization’s director, officers, employee, member, shareholder or other person, an advocate shall explain the identity of such person when it is know that the interests of the person is adverse to those of the organization’s.
5. Without prejudice to the provisions of these regulations regarding conflict of interests, an advocate representing an organization may also represent the directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or other constituents of the organization.
22. Advocate to a person under a Disability
1. When a client is not able to make adequate decisions on matters connected with the representation due to minority, mental disability or for any other reason the advocate shall act maintaining client-advocate relationship.
2. An advocate shall seek the appointment of a guardian or take other actions for the protection of the interests of the client when the advocate thinks that the client cannot adequately act in line with this own interests.
23. Non-professional Subsidiary Activities
1. When an advocate engages in subsidiary commercial or other social, economic, political activities while rendering professional legal service, he is required to take the necessary care so that such subsidiary activities may not affect the loyalty, independence, competence and honor of his advocacy profession.
2. Any advocate shall have the responsibility to notify to his client the subsidiary activities he performs outside his profession and the extent of his participation.
3. Any advocate is required to explain clearly to his clients that he is not acting in his professional capacity when he deals with tm in his subsidiary non professional activities.
4. Any advocate shall keep books of account which shows separately the income he collects from activities outside his advocacy profession from that he collects from his professional legal service.
24. Keeping Client’s Property
1. When an advocate keeps on trust or administers the property of a client in connection with a representation, he shall respect all the cautionary measures that are provided under the Ethiopian law; in the absence of an appropriate law, he shall have the obligation to take the measures of care that are taken by a good owner.
2. Upon receiving the property of the client any advocate shall have the obligation to notify the client with same unless the client knows clearly that the advocate is receiving the property on his behalf.
3. When any advocate keeps on trust or administers the property of his client he shall have the obligation to maintain a record in a manner that is suitable for accounting and delivery of the property to the owner.
4. The advocate shall have the responsibility to take the necessary care so that the property and documents in his possession may not be inspected by persons having no authority.
5. Any advocate shall have the responsibility to deliver to the client the property in his possession when the client so requests or when it is the right time to do so.
6. When the advocate keeps and administers his client’s property he has the right to reclaim properties under possession of third parties, inspect his client’s records of ownership title and other documents.
25. Obtaining Client’s Special Consent
An advocate may decline to raise, as an objection in a proceeding, period of limitation and similar other rights provided by the law to the client only when he explains the matter to the client and the client consents thereto in writing.
26. Encouraging the Consideration of a Case by Settlement
When an advocate finds that the desired result can be obtained if his client’s case can be resolved by settlement rather than in court he may encourage the consideration of the case by settlement.
27. Responsibilities of a Defense Advocate
1. Any defense advocate shall have the obligation to defend his client unless he is certain that adequate evidence has been produced to establish the guilt of the client by the court which has the authority.
2. Any advocate is required to warn his client beforehand the fact that to the advocate’s knowledge that the client is guilty or that the things to be produced as evidences are not reliable may affect the advocate in giving the proper defense service to the client.
3. The provisions of sub-article (2) of this article shall not affect the inquiry and defense to be made by an advocate to ascertain that every element of the case be established before an accused in a criminal proceeding is held responsible.
28. Claims and Contentions without Cause of Action
Any advocate may not bring a case and defend a proceeding to harass an opposing party, especially when it is clear that there is no issue in controversy and the result of the proceeding will not have any effect on the rights of both parties.
29. Fairness to Opposing Party
Any advocate shall not:
1. Create any obstruction on opposing party’s access to evidence or assist or counsel others to do any such act;
2. Falsify evidence, counsel or assist others to do any such act;
3. Present a matter that is irrelevant to the case, or that will not be supported by evidence, assert personal knowledge of facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state a personal opinion as to the justness of the matter, the credibility of a witness, the guilt or liability of an accused.
4. Encourage any other person, except the client or persons not compelled by law to testify, to refrain from testifying or giving other relevant information to an opposing party.
30. Dealing with Unrepresented Person
When an advocate is++– dealing with an opposing party who is not represented by an advocate the opponent shall be told by the advocate what the role of the advocate is in the advocate is in the matter; hence, the advocate shall refrain from deliberate acts that would mislead his opponent.
31. Respect for Rights of Third Parties
In representing a client, an advocate may not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to delay, embarrass or burden third parties, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate legal rights or such persons.
32. Publicity on Mass Media
1. Any advocate may disclose information he obtained in the course of his legal service to the mass media unless it is reasonably believed that the disclosure of information would be prejudicial to the trial proceeding and the interest of the client.
2. Notwithstanding the restriction imposed by sub-article (1), an advocate may without elaboration provide information to the media on the following matters:
a. The general nature of the claim or defense; and in a criminal case, except where prohibited by law, the nature of the charged offense or the defense and the identity of the persons involved;
b. The information contained in a public record;
c. The scheduling or the stage of the matter in litigation;
d. A request for assistance in obtaining evidence and the type of evidence needed thereto;
e. A warning of danger concerning the behavior of a person involved, when there is reason to believe that there exists the likelihood of substantial harm to an individual or to the public;
3. When it is found necessary to protect the interest and reputation of the client by countering disseminated prejudicial news and declarations about the client, the advocate may provide reasonable discrediting or mitigating declarations to the media.
33. Terminating Advocacy Service
1. Unless there is sufficient and convincing reason to terminate the contract of advocacy service an advocate shall have the obligation to follow his clients case up to the end in accordance with his obligation in the contract
2. When the advocate is not able, as the contract obliges him, to follow his client’s case up to the end, he shall explain the matter to his client and shall have the obligation to make the necessary effort to minimize the cost and inconvenience that would be caused as a result of the termination and to get the matter be successfully covered by another advocate.
34. Sufficient Grounds for Termination
Sufficient grounds to terminate representation include, among others, the following when;
1. The client’s required advocacy service is in violation of these Regulations or other law;
2. While in the course of trial of the matter for which the advocate is represented the client commits an act which is repugnant to the processing, the client has used the advocates’ service to perpetrate a crime or fraud or the client has used the proceeding to cause inconvenience or cause damage on other person;
3. The advocate lacks the competence and ability to properly manage the case of he is discharged from his profession;
4. The client fails to fulfill an obligation to the advocate regarding the representation and has been given notice by the advocate that will terminate the service unless the obligation is fulfilled;
5. The mutual trust that should have been present between the advocate and the client has been greatly damaged due to fraud or deceit committed on the part of either party;
6. The mutual trust that should have been present between the two parties has been weakened because the client denounces the advice given by his advocate on matters that are decisive to the case;
7. The client shows clearly that he is not willing to fulfill his obligation to pay fees and reimburse other expenses to the advocate, after he has been given the proper notice.
35. Obligations of an Advocate on Termination
Any advocate terminating contract of Advocacy service shall fulfill the following obligations:
1. Give reasonable notice to the client and reasonable time to allow the client represent other advocate;
2. Properly surrender the property and records of the client immediately;
3. Give any information the client requests regarding the case;
4. Audit any account found in the client’s hands, return the money left from payment received for a future work;
5. Audit the accounts he received in advance for the management of the case and return the money left.
6. In cooperation with the replacing advocate, protect the case against delay, interruption or unnecessary expenses.
36. Obligations of Replacing Advocate
1. The replacing advocate is required to inform his client to audit any account the client has with the former advocate;
2. The provisions of sub-article (1) of this article that the client has not completed the fee to be paid to the former advocate shall not prohibit the new advocate from rendering the proper service on the fixed date, in court.
37. Advocacy Service Rendered by a Partner or Supervisory Lawyer
1. An advocate who is a partner in a law firm shall ensure that any other lawyer in the firm conforms to these Regulations.
2. Any advocate who has supervisory authority over another advocate shall have the responsibility to supervise that the other advocate conforms to these regulations.
3. An advocate shall be responsible for another advocate’s violation of these Regulation if:
a) The lawyer orders or, with knowledge of the conduct, ratifies it,
b) While the person at fault is a partner of the advocate or works under the direct supervision of the advocate, the advocate knows of the punishable conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.
1. Any advocate who is working in an advocacy firm may not render service when he knows that there is a reason, in accordance with these Regulations, that would prohibit any of the other advocates in the firm to handle the matter alone.
2. The firms is not prohibited from thereafter representing a person with interests adverse to those of a client represented by the formerly associate advocate unless the following conditions are present:
a) The matter has been presented to the firm before or is substantially related to the formerly dealt matter by the firm;
b) An advocate remaining in the firm has information in his hands that can be used as evidence on the matter.
3. The disqualification imposed by this article may be waived when the client involved in the matter consents to its application, in writing.
39. Obligation of a Subordinate Advocate
1. Any advocate who is acting at the order of another advocate shall respect these Regulations.
2. A subordinate advocate shall be free from being responsible when he proves that he acted in accordance with the direction of his superior on an arguable ethical questions.
40. Supervision of Non lawyer Assistants to Advocate
Any advocate or advocacy firm who employs, or retains, or associated with, a person who is a non lawyer shall:
1. Supervise that the person’s conduct is compatible with these Regulations by taking the appropriate measures and making the necessary supervision:
2. Be responsible for unethical conduct committed by the non lawyer when:
a) The advocate orders the commission of the act or with the knowledge of the act, ratifies or allows the act;
b) While having a supervisory authority over the nonlawyer and with the knowledge of the commission of the act, he fails to take the appropriate remedial action to avoid or mitigate the consequences of the act.
41. Professional Independence
1. An advocate or law firm may not share legal fees with a person who is not an advocate except:
a) An agreement by the advocate with the advocate’s firm, partners or associate may provide for the payment of money, after the advocate’s death, to the lawyers estate or to persons specified in the agreement as beneficiaries;
b) An advocate who purchases the legal firm of a deceased, disabled or disappeared advocate may pay to the estate or representative of that lawyer the agreed-upon purchase price;
c) A payment made because and advocate or legal firm has entered into an agreement that would make non lawyer employees beneficiaries of compensation or retirement plan.
2. An advocate may not form a partnership with a non-lawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consists of the practice of law or work under a condition where a non-lawyer directly or controls the activities of an advocate in carrying out his professional duties.
42. Fixing Fees
The fee any advocate requires from his client shall be fair and reasonable. The following factors must be considered in determining the amount of the fee:
1. An advocate or law firm may not share legal fees with a person who is not an advocate except:
2. The skill required to perform the service properly, the novelty and difficulty of the case;
3. The likelihood that the particular agreement with a client will preclude the advocate from dealing with other clients’ cases;
4. The fee customarily charged for similar legal services;
5. The amount the claim involved and the results obtained;
6. The length of the professional relationship with the client;
7. The experience, reputation and ability of the advocate; and
8. Similar other factors.
43. For Agreement
1. An agreement of fee is a legal document to be made in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement or their representatives.
2. A fee agreement to be made between advocate and client determines the following basic matters:
a) The total amount of money, salary, reimbursement, reserve payment or other mode of payment to be made by the client and the method and time of payment.
b) The kind of result or results to be obtained from the case by the advocate.
44. Contingent Fee Agreement
When the fee is contingent on the amount of the money obtained form the litigation, the agreement shall be determined based on the following basic matters.
1. The percentage that shall be paid to the advocate in each individual event if the case is resolved by settlement, appeal or other means;
2. Whether the amount that has to accrue to the advocate is calculated after court fees and others expenses are deducted or from the gross amount.
45. Cases of Prohibition of Contingent Fee
An advocate my not enter into an agreement for contingent fee on the following matters:
1. In a family matter, continent upon the securing of a divorce or upon the decision on the amount of alimony or support for the upkeep of the children or property settlement, in a court of law;
2. A fee contingent up-on the decision and penalty given by the court in a criminal case.
46. Division of Fee Among Clients
Unless there exists an express agreement to the contrary an advocate who represents more than one person in a case shall arrange for a just payment of the fee by each client, according to his share.
47. Division of Fee Between Advocates
Any advocate may share a fee with other advocate who is not a partners in profession only if;
1. The client consents directly or indirectly to the involvement of the other advocate in the matter; and
2. The division of the fee is in proportion to the services performed and responsibility assumed by each advocate.
48. Membership in Legal Services Organization
Any advocate may be a member in a legal service organization. The advocate may not participate in decisions or actions of the organization where he is a member if:
1. His participation in the decision or action would conflict with the interests of his client;
2. The person or community which receives service has interests that are not compatible with the interest of the advocate or his client.
49. Rendering Free Legal Services (Pro Bono Public Service)
Any advocate shall render at least 50 hours of legal service, in a year, free of charge or upon minimum payment. The service shall be rendered to;
1. Persons who can not afford to pay,
2. Charity organizations, civil organizations, community institutions;
3. Persons to whom court requests legal service;
4. Committees and institutions that work for improving the law, the legal profession and the justice system.
50. Communications Concerning Service
Any advocate may not give false or misleading communication about himself or his services. A communication given by an advocate is false or misleading it if;
1. Contains a materials misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact to make a statement considered true;
2. Creates an unjustified expectation about the results the advocate results or the advocate promises that he can achieve results by means that violate these Regulations;
3. Compares the services he renders with other advocates’ services unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.
51. Truthfulness in Statement to Others
Any advocate may not give false statement of materials fact or law to a third person concerning his client.
1. Any advocate may advertise the legal services be renders through outdoor advertising or other mass media. The advertisement shall be brief, clear and correct and shall contain the name and address of the advocate and, the service he renders and work experience.
2. Any advocate shall give a copy of the advertisement to the body that issues advocacy license 30 days before the advertisement is send to mass media.
3. An advertisement prepared pursuant to this article shall include the name of at least one advocate responsible for its content.
53. Advertising Fields of Profession
1. Any advocate may communicate the fact that he does or does not render service in a particular field of law.
2. Any advocate may communicate that he is a specialist in a particular filed of law when he is certified by the organ authorized by law to do so and the certification is acknowledged by the body issuing advocacy license.
54. Using Firm Name
1. Any advocate may publicize his legal service by a particular name, letters or other professional designation unless the name be uses is similar to the name of a government, public or charitable organization.
2. A law firm which renders services in more than one region or in different hierarchies of jurisdictions may advertisement shall indicate the region where the firm practices and the jurisdictional hierarch licensed to practice.
3. The name of an advocate who formerly was a member in a firm and now holding a public office, may not be used in the name of a law firm or it may not be expressed that he was a member of the firm.
55. Respect for Colleagues
1. Any Advocates hall make sure that his relations with the other professional colleagues is based on good faith, respect and understanding.
2. It is prohibited to insult, be little or in any other way attach the reputation of a fellow advocate in the justice forum.
3. Any advocate may not record the dialogue he holds with his client or other advocate without notifying them of his intention to do so.
4. Any advocate shall reply to letters of correspondence from his colleague and respect the agreement he entered into on this matter.
5. Any advocate may not sit for settlement in the absence of the opposing party’s advocate without the knowledge of the said advocate, unless otherwise agreed.
56. Obligations of Advocate in Proceedings
Any advocate shall refrain from the following acts, in a proceeding;
1. Institute a case or forward a litigation motivated by envy or bad faith to injure the other party,
2. Encouraged or allow a client to commit a repugnant or fraudulent act,
3. Attempt to influence a judge or other official by means not acceptable other than to convince according to the law or seek the act to be done by another person.
4. Internationally make papers and statements which are exaggerated, mislead the court; or,
5. Internationally mislead the court by falsifying the testimonies of witnesses or the contents of a document,
6. Produce to court as through relevant an evidence which is clearly irrelevant to the matter,
7. Counsel or induce a person who is required as a witness, not to appear before court,
8. Nag, traumatize or threaten a witness in methods that are inappropriate.
57. Refraining from Repugnant Acts
Any advocate shall, in his life, refrain from any repugnant behavior which should harm the honor or his profession.
58. Notifying Unethical Conduct
Any advocate on knowledge of the following violation shall have the obligation to notify to the body issuing advocacy license or to the local justice administration authority or to the name of the advocate and the type of the violation.
1. Where an advocate violates these regulations;
2. Where a person renders legal service without having advocacy license; `
3. Where an advocate is found rendering advocacy service in violation of the conditions attached to the license.
59. Effective Date
These Regulations shall enter into force on the date of their publication in the Federal Negarit Gazeta.
Done at Addis Ababa this 24th day of September, 1999.
PRIME MINISTERS OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA