A well-qualified barrister always ensures the following basic principles:
1. Respecting and complying with the Constitution and the laws
Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics and Professional Behavior of Vietnamese lawyers on independence, truthfulness, respecting the objective truth of lawyers as follows: “Lawyers must be independent, honest, must respect the objective truth not for material or spiritual benefits or any other pressure to act against the law and professional ethics”. As a person with extensive expertise and legal knowledge, more than anyone else, barristers are persons who need to respect the law during their practice. A good barrister is a person who by himself or herself, can protect justice and righteousness, ensure fairness for clients and not commit wrong acts to help their clients to get illegal benefit. Not for the personal benefits of any barrister or any client, a barrister must not violate the laws, using illegal tactics to profit, causing harm to others and society.
2. Do not concurrently provide legal services for clients who have conflicts of interest between the parties or between clients and lawyers, relatives of lawyers.
Regarding definitions, Rule 11.1 of the Code of Ethics and Professional Behaviour of Vietnamese lawyers on settlement of disputes on interests as follows: “Conflict of interest in law practice is the opposition of material or spiritual interests that have occurred or are likely to occur between two or more lawyers’ clients; between lawyers, employees, spouses, children, parents, siblings of lawyers with clients in the same case or in other cases related to such case”.
Accordingly, barristers need to determine the relationships, the subject status of clients in the cases that they are participating in, thereby they can consider whether or not continuing to pursue the case. If there is any conflict on interests between clients or between clients and barristers or relatives of barristers, barrister absolutely cannot accept such case and must deny requests of clients. This also demonstrate barristers who have professional ethics, are willing to “win” in a great clarity way and not take advantage of clients to gain illicit profits for themselves.
3. Keeping information confidential
With specific characteristics, barristers are always in contact with sensitive or high security information that clients never disclose. That could be business secrets, strategies and goals of the enterprise in the future, information about contracts, etc. Furthermore, for a commercial dispute, if information of the parties is revealed, it will cause negative affects to business activities of clients, degrade the reputation of clients with other partners or consumers in the market.
Therefore, barristers must always keep themselves the principle of confidentiality of all information provided by clients and provide information to the others only if they are permitted by clients or required by the laws. This issue is also specifically stipulated in Rule 12 of the Code of Ethics and Professional Behaviours of Vietnamese Lawyers: “Lawyers are obliged to keep clients’ information confidential when implementing legal services and when the service has ended, unless otherwise it is agreed by the client or in accordance with the law; lawyers are responsible for asking relevant colleagues and their employees to commit not to disclose the confidential information that they know and explain clearly if they reveal anything, they must be responsible before the laws”.
Ensuring the confidentiality of information provided by clients will create a reputation and image of a professional barrister in the eyes of clients. It opens up many potential opportunities for clients continuing to choose that barrister or legal practice organization in other cases when they need it.
4. Self-keeping “a hot heart, cold head and clean hands”
Bringing in “a hot heart” means that barristers are always enthusiastic in their work, to serve the clients with their best, thoughtful, considerate, and to care about the benefits that clients want to achieve, always put themselves in the position of clients, have a high responsibility for their work and dedicate for helping clients in cases that clients are encountering.
Keeping the “cold head” means that barristers keep the steel spirit in the process of working, not letting feelings affected to reasoning, seeing the problem objectively and comprehensively based on actual basis. A good barrister always knows which the strengths and weaknesses of a client in a case or dispute are, not for the immediate benefit gained from the provision of legal services that “draw” unreasonable things, “flattering” clients to make clients believing that they always have the advantage and surely get the victory when the matter has not been finished, does not affirm what is groundless and unreasonable to profit from clients. Besides, the coldness of a professional barrister is also expressed in not being seduced and corrupted by temptations and traps from any other party, always keep the inner belief, faith in justice to fight for the interests of clients against the opposing party and the judicial authorities.
A “clean hands” barrister firstly always complies with the law, then does things that are not contrary to conscience and professional ethics, to consider everything clearly and thereby choose for himself or herself an appropriate solution.
Therefore, it can be realized that a well-qualified barrister is a person who can reconcile all three foregoing factors in the process of rendering legal services to clients. It is the process of using their own true ability to support the clients in each specific case and enhance their ability to practice, do good deeds and help the society.