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 Can I publish my lawyer’s conduct on social media?
Lawyers are governed by Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32), the Ghana Bar Association Code of Ethics and the Legal Profession

Can I publish my lawyer’s conduct on social media?

Dear Mirror Lawyer, What do you do to a lawyer who handles your case without following your instructions and you end up losing the case?

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Some lawyers do not respect their clients at all and throw their weight about as if they are demigods. Can I take him to social media?

 Abraham Cudjoe, Kumasi.

 

Dear Abraham, Sorry for the bad experience you have had with your lawyer. I can, however, assure you that many lawyers are honest and very professional in their work for their clients.

I would first caution you not to publish anything about him on social media. It is not the right way to vent your frustrations against your lawyer’s conduct. You may end up being on the wrong side of the law. Tarnishing his image in the court of public opinion would not solve your issue.

Lawyers are governed by Legal Profession Act 1960 (Act 32), the Ghana Bar Association Code of Ethics and the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct and Etiquette} Rules 2020 LI 2423.

Such behaviour as you described could be dealt with in two ways. You may report the conduct of the lawyer to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council for investigations and sanctions. He would be called before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to answer these allegations.

 You should note that in the event that a Lawyer is found guilty of misconduct under Section 16 of Act 32, his name could be struck off the roll of Lawyers or could be suspended for a number of years. These are very harsh repercussions against a lawyer, whose only duty was to help you with your case, so you should be very sure of his misconduct before taking this action.  

Alternatively, the law also allows you to sue a lawyer for damages for professional negligence. When it comes to negligence, you must prove that the lawyer owes you a legal duty of care, the lawyer breached the duty and as a result, you suffered some consequences.

 Once you have all the evidence, which shows that your lawyer did not follow your instructions leading to the loss of the case, you can mount an action against him.

In the Ghanaian case of Fodwo v Law Chambers [1965] GLR 363, the plaintiff took out a burglary insurance policy with an insurance company.

Later, his shop was broken into and, when the insurance company repudiated liability on the policy, the plaintiff retained the defendant's firm of legal practitioners to prosecute an action for the recovery of his losses. Several members of the defendant firm handled the plaintiff's case, but the lawyer who finally had charge over its conduct in court was one of the associates who failed to tender certain documents given to him by the client at the trial.

As a result, the lawyer failed to prove the actual loss sustained by the plaintiff. Judgement was given against the plaintiff partly because of the conduct of the associate.

The plaintiff sued the law firm for the negligence of the associate for failing to prove the loss sustained by the plaintiff, thus causing him (the plaintiff) to lose his action against his insurer.

The Court of Appeal per Apaloo JSC (as he then was) held that a lawyer can be sued for negligence on his conduct of a case and that the negligence of one partner of a firm of solicitors is the negligence of the whole firm for which the latter can be sued and that in undertaking their client's business, legal practitioners guarantee the existence and due employment of skill and diligence on their part.

Where an injury was sustained by a client in consequence of the absence of either, the delinquent legal practitioner is responsible to his client for the injury.

In this case, there was a want of skill and diligence on the part of the associate and, therefore, the law firm was liable for the associate’s negligence.

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