LawBasket Ethics, Renunciation of Engagement and Termination of Mandate Terms This is the LawBasket Terms relating to ethics and conduct of lawyers on the platform, as well as the rules regarding termination of mandates by clients. The terms will be referred to jointly as the Ethics, Renunciation of Engagement and Termination of Mandate Terms. The terms deal with general terms applicable to all lawyers, and specifically to lawyers in Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Key principles for all lawyers on LawBasket 1.
Independence Professional independence is a key ingredient of the lawyer’s ability to provide professional services to the client objectively. Professional independence ought to be nurtured and respected by all lawyers on LawBasket towards fellow professionals and towards the clients. Independence requires that the lawyer is free from undue influence arising from political, financial, career, personal, emotional or other considerations. Honesty and integrity Honesty and integrity are the hallmark of the legal profession and must be exhibited by every lawyer in all his/her dealings with clients on LawBasket. Honesty and Integrity among members of the platform fosters trust and confidence in the platform and enhances the moral standing and public image of the profession generally. Honesty and integrity encompasses civility, professional integrity, high personal moral standards, and respect for others among characteristics. Duty to the law The lawyer’s first duty is to the law and due process. A lawyer is an officer of the law and must at all times and in all his dealings show fidelity to the law and demonstrate respect for the rule of law and due process. The legal professional must therefore never subvert or connive in the subversion of the law or due process in his dealings on LawBasket. Conflict of interest Trust and confidence in the legal profession depends upon the lawyer’s loyalty to clients. Avoidance of situations of conflict of interest also enhances the lawyer’s ability to render unbiased and objective service to the client and enhances the standing of the legal profession in the eyes of the public. Lawyer-client confidentiality The right and duty of the legal professional to keep confidential information received from and advice given to the client is an indispensable feature of the practice of law and essential to public trust and confidence in the administration of justice and in the LawBasket platform. It enhances the client’s trust in the legal professional and facilitates full and frank communication between the lawyer and the client. Lawyer-client confidentiality must be nurtured, respected and protected by regulatory authorities, fellow professionals and the lawyer. Professionalism The lawyer must demonstrate professionalism in his dealings with the client, with fellow professionals and third parties. Professionalism requires that the lawyer is competent and renders service diligently at all times. Professional undertakings The legal profession is an honourable profession. The old adage that “the lawyer’s word is his [her] honour” must be strictly adhered to and given effect by lawyers on LawBasket. Undertakings facilitate legal transactions and without them transactions would be severely hampered. Their effectiveness depends on the integrity of the legal profession. Therefore, an undertaking – whether given in writing or orally - is sacrosanct and must be honoured.
Fiduciary duty to the client 8.
In handling of the client’s funds and other property the lawyer stands in a position of trust. Therefore, the legal professional has a fiduciary duty to safeguard client’s funds and other property, fully account for them, not use them in a manner that is averse to the client’s interests. Remuneration As professionals, lawyers are entitled to fair reasonable remuneration for services rendered. Reasonable remuneration enhances the ability of the lawyer to render services diligently and promotes financial independence. LawBasket facilitates an environment in which legal services can be provided in a framework which enables members to earn reasonable remuneration without legal fees becoming a barrier to access to legal services. The lawyer in society
10. The lawyer is a member of his/her society and is expected to lead by example. Therefore, the lawyer’s conduct in society must uphold the dignity and honour of the profession and reflect the best of his/her society’s values. In his/her “outside” life as in his/her professional life the lawyer must eschew conduct which undermines the standing of the legal profession. Specific Rules in jurisdictions 11. For specific rules in various jurisdictions, please see below: KENYA Please view the relevant rules of professional conduct by clicking here NIGERIA Please view the relevant rules of professional conduct by clicking here SOUTH AFRICA Please view the relevant rules of professional conduct by clicking here ZIMBABWE Please view the relevant rules of professional conduct here Renunciation of agency and termination on LawBasket 12. A lawyer on LawBasket can only renounce from an accepted engagement on the following grounds: a)
If the client fails to provide information necessary to completely perform the mandate within a reasonable time.
If the client seeks the performance of a job that is materially different from that which was included in the job invitation or the job post.
13. A client may terminate a mandate in the following instances: a)
If the lawyer fails to provide updates on the case or fails to acknowledge instructions on the case within a reasonable time.
If the lawyer asks for a fee that is substantially more than was indicated in the budget for the job when posted or sent to the lawyer through a job invitation.
14. Both parties may mutually agree to terminate the mandate: a)
If both parties mutually agree to terminate the engagement, subject to payment of all outstanding fees and other payments.
Both parties may also specify particular events that can cause termination of the engagement, such as non-completion of work within a specific timespan.
15. A mandate will terminate automatically when: a)
The purpose of the mandate has been achieved, and specifically when the job has been marked as complete.
The engagement will automatically terminate upon the occurrence of certain events such events as death or insanity of either the client or the lawyer.