Amina Sultan Al-Buainain joined Al Doseri Law as an intern in January 2022 and is currently studying at The Royal University for Women. As part of her internship, she was assigned to write a paper on the legal profession entitled “Ethics and Roles”. Founding Partner Saad Al Doseri found Amina’s paper informative and has decided to publish it as an encouragement and recognition of her efforts.
In her essay, Amina reviews the book Advocacy as a High Profession by Muhammad Shawkat At-twny.
Among the rich chapters of the book, one line struck me, in which the At-Tuni briefly described the role of the lawyer, and the difference between one who practices law as a profession and one who practice it for fun. He stated, “Law is a high profession, the lawyer who recognizes this fact will reach the glory. On the other hand, those who practice it just as an ordinary profession will never reach glory even if he succeeds financially and becomes popular.” As for fulfilling the duties of the lawyer, it refers first to the conscience of the lawyer, based on which they determine and organize their priorities. A fact that cannot be neglected, however, is that a few lawyers aim to achieve wealth, disregarding the fact that law is a humanitarian profession, serving and fulfilling people’s needs.
A lawyer who prioritises materialism over humankind will indeed receive nothing but disappointment. On the other hand, the genuine lawyer is one who helps those in need -with the help of the God- and gives human relationships priority. Even if a lawyer is not given the financial compensation they deserve, for they will be rewarded by the God. As God asked in the Holy Quran “Is there any reward for good other than good?”
The first Advocacy Law in the Kingdom of Bahrain was issued in 1980 during the era of the late Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Emir of the country at that time. It comprises 50 articles that mark the foundations of practicing law in Bahrain, wherein the lawyer’s duties are determined.
Conflicts of Interest
The lawyer shall practice law with due professionalism within the applicable regulations. Based on my understanding, conflicts of interest in the legal profession have two manifestations. One is a conflict of interest between a lawyer and their client, and the other is among clients with the same lawyer. The former entails that a lawyer shall not represent a person whose demands conflict with the lawyer’s private interest. The latter manifestation must be protected by ensuring that a lawyer does not represent two clients with conflicting interests. Accordingly, Article (24) of Advocacy Law states: “The lawyer is prohibited from accepting a power of attorney from his client’s opponent during an ongoing dispute in which he is representing a client or that is directly related to it, and the lawyer shall not provide an opinion or advice to the opponent of his client in the same case or in any other case related even after the termination of the power of attorney. In general, the lawyer may not represent conflicting interests; furthermore, this prohibition applies to anyone who works with a lawyer in his office in any capacity whatsoever”.
Ethics of a lawyer
A lawyer shall possess qualities that reflect the basis of the legal profession and their highest virtues, including courage, nobility, honesty, and sincere emotion. The lawyer shall not defend falsehood, as it is deemed an infringement of others’ rights and an abuse of the power granted to him over those who are weaker. Moreover, Sheikh Al-Uthaymeen – may Allah have mercy on him – said “Practicing law in Islam is required if the man is achieving the truth and nullifying falsehood to correcting injustice for the oppressed, and helps the right-holder fulfilling his rights, but if a person defends the falsehood or oppressor and help him achieving victory, then it is forbidden. However, it depends on the lawyer’s intention.”
Furthermore, the legal profession reflects and symbolises justice. Thus, whoever works in such a field shall be a partner in justice rather than one in crime, in addition to keeping all clients’ secrets provided to him by the nature of his work. The lawyer shall consider his clients’ interests as his priority and avoid traits of greediness. Allah his mighty said, “and keep your promise. Surely, the promise will be questioned” (Surah Al-Isra ). Among the most important qualities and characteristics that a lawyer must have is honesty, as it was the first quality granted by God to His Prophet Muhammad, which reflects the greatness and importance of such a quality before the almighty God. Thus, by the nature of their profession, a lawyer is obliged to work with such qualities and consider our Prophet Muhammad his idol, as the prophet -peace be upon him- stated, “There is no faith for the one who has no trust, and no religion for the one who does not have a covenant.” In the previously mentioned hadith, the great importance and value of having such qualities are shown, in addition to the need of complying with it. This is especially true for a lawyer who might neglect such qualities, exploit peoples’ ignorance, infringe their clients’ rights and take their money unlawfully.
Practicing law VS. Trade
According to Article (1) of Legislative Decree No. (27) of 2015 with respect to the Commercial Registry Law, “a trader is every natural person or corporate body licensed to undertake commercial activity in accordance with the provisions of this Law.” Technically, we can agree on this definition, but from my personal point of view, a lawyer is not a trader. The description is a poor definition that does not correspond to the nature of the legal profession.
To define a lawyer exclusively as a trader who seeks to earn an abundant profit is an insult to such a noble profession.
Thus, comparing lawyers to traders symbolises a lack of substance, foundation, and standards. Advocacy cannot be compared to any other profession, as it is a humanitarian profession that brings joy to society, settling differences and resolving problems. Traders, on the other hand, mainly seek to profit. This does not apply to the legal field. An honourable lawyer defends others, provides advice, paves the way for justice, and contributes to the advancement of society. This has nothing to do with trade, profit, and exploitation. It is an art based on honourable foundations that do not apply to most traders.
In the second chapter, Al-Tuni discussed the nature of a lawyer’s work and linked it to basic practices and values in life such as peace, art, community, and freedom. He also discussed the importance of a lawyer’s role in reforming and linking these basics that can either benefit and raise or corrupt society. The writer followed this chapter with an examination of the ethics that a lawyer should have, such as courage and honesty. He argues that a lawyer should also provide advice and consider the right timing for showing rage and anger. Moreover, he distinguished confidence from arrogance, arguing that a lawyer must utilise the former to claim victory for his client. The following chapter mentions the role of a lawyer within the courts, and how they shall deal with various people in it. A lawyer must know how to handle judges, fellow lawyers, witnesses, and public prosecutors, as a lawyer spends more time in court than anywhere else.
The following section dealt with the role of a lawyer in their office. It examined how to select the proper location for an office, including the furniture, books, researchers, and references that must be available in the office to help and facilitate their work. It also covers in detail how a lawyer should select their employees, the extent of their mutual influence on each other, and their primary role in advancing and upgrading the office. Al-Tuni also recommends that a lawyer should also understand the affairs of his personnel. In the following chapter, Al-Tuni mentions legal schools. He evaluates the development of the legal profession in the Republic of Egypt from the Turkish era to the present day. He discusses this from the monopoly of tyrants to the legal profession for those who are not fluent in the Arabic language. This prompted the Egyptian workers and lawyers to cling more to the legal profession in support of their Arabic language and their people, as events unfolded until courts were established for the first time and lawyers and jurists got occupied with it. Al-Tuni later highlights “human schools,” which are just as important and filled with knowledge as true schools. These include Morcos Fahmy, Al-Helbawi, Muhammad Ali Allouba, Wahib Doss, Ahmed Rushdie, and others who grant the nation knowledge and have good conduct and impact.
The book “Advocacy a High Profession” is a unique book that includes great lessons informed by the At-Tuni’s experience. It is a valuable resource for those who work in and study the legal profession.
At-Tuni opened the book with a general concept of law in Egypt, and after many years of hard work, he wondered how readers would respond to the following questions:
What am I leaving after me?
Am I inspiring the people?
What did I do for society?
After this, he recalled many memories and experiences.
Al-Tuni explores the roles of judges and lawyers in achieving the truth and nullifying falsehood through their positions, direct authority, and ability to determine the path of individuals and society. He also discussed the negative aspects of the judicial system at different levels from his perspective, proposing solutions. He concluded this book with suggested methods and techniques to enhance the legal profession. He also attempts to change popular society’s view of lawyers by highlighting the responsibility placed on their shoulders and how they promote and improve society and its security.
Our banking and finance team has developed an extensive track record over the past decade in providing specialised legal services and advice of the highest quality to Bahrain’s banking and financial sector.
As a premier insolvency team in Bahrain, we specialise in representing every type of stakeholder in connection with insolvency matters.
Our firm provides specialist contentious and non-contentious advice covering the local and international construction market.
Our corporate team has extensive corporate and commercial expertise, having developed very close working relationships with key Bahraini regulators and decision makers in this field, as well as with prominent law firms across the region and beyond.
Our employment team helps clients to steer through the sophisticated landscape of local laws that govern the employer/employee relationship.
The strength of our dispute resolution team is internationally renowned and we have significant experience in the local Bahrain courts at every level.