‘Pro Bono services shall be made mandatory for Lawyers’. Letter to the Editor by Mr. Mathews Philip, Executive Director, SICHREM.


Sir,
This refers to your editorial on 19th December, titled ‘Can Lawyers’ fees be regulated ?’ It is an unpleasant fact that the poor and even the middle class cannot afford litigation due to the exorbitant professional fees charged by the lawyers. Therefore they continue to suffer injustice and exploitation. This makes the principle of ‘equality before law ‘ a myth. At the same time, one should agree with your opinion that it is not realistic to regulate lawyers’ fees by legislation. The earlier effort by the Supreme Court to set a limit has miserably failed. Of course there is a legal services authority that is supposed to extend free legal aid to the deserving people. Unfortunately this mechanism also is not very popular or performing effectively due to various reasons. What is practical is to make certain percentage of Pro Bono practice mandatory for lawyers. It is appreciated that a number of lawyers do this voluntarily already. But so far it is confined to PILs and cases for NGOs. Individual litigants also should get these services from well experienced senior lawyers. A legislation to guarantee Pro Bono services by all lawyers is the need of the hour. 
 
Mathews Philip 
Bangalore
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