Friday, January 31, 2020

Unequivocal statements made by counsel will be binding on their clients.

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Unequivocal statements made by counsel will be binding on their clients

The Supreme Court has observed that unequivocal statements made by counsel will be binding on their clients.
In this case, counsel for the landlord made a statement before the High Court that the tenant will be re-­inducted in equal area in the newly constructed building within one month. Before the Apex Court, the issue was whether the landlord is bound by this statement made by the Counsel.
The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hemant Gupta and Dinesh Maheshwari noted that an unequivocal statement was made by the counsel engaged by the landlord to espouse his cause before the High Court. It also noted that there is no case that he had expressly instructed his counsel not to make such a statement.It said:
The engagement was in respect of eviction proceedings and the statement was in relation to the commitment of the appellant qua the subject matter thereof and being an unequivocal statement, it will be binding on the appellant.
The Court noted that in Himalayan Coop. Group Housing Society vs. vs. Balwan Singh, it was observed that authority-­agency status affords the lawyers to act for the client on the subject matter of the retainer. It noted the following observations from the judgment:
Generally, admissions of fact made by a counsel are binding upon their principals as long as they are unequivocal; where, however, doubt exists as to a purported admission, the court should be wary to accept such admissions until and unless the counsel or the advocate is authorised by his principal to make such admissions
A lawyer generally has no implied or apparent authority to make an admission or statement which would directly surrender or conclude the substantial legal rights of the client unless such an admission or statement is clearly a proper step in accomplishing the purpose for which the lawyer was employed.
We may add that in some cases, lawyers can make decisions without consulting the client. While in others, the decision is reserved for the client. It is often said that the lawyer can make decisions as to tactics without consulting the client, while the client has a right to make decisions that can affect his rights. 

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