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Out of control lawyers.

As with most, if not all, professions in Pakistan, there are black sheep who sometimes through their deplorable actions give the majority in that field a bad rap. Simply profiling these habitual offenders as 'just a few' and not taking them to task is no solution. Unfortunately, this problem is becoming increasingly pronounced in the legal fraternity. Apart from the latest incident where a lawyer over a minor tiff hurled a chair at a reputable civil judge resulting in a bloody head injury, there are plenty more similar instances of hooliganism and vandalism in and out of the courtroom. A woman judge was locked in her courtroom in Lahore a few years back for hours when she refused to give a favourable decision. With CCTV cameras now common in many courtrooms, there is a plethora of videos displaying how frequently a hearing can turn violent most often for judges.

That's not to say judges are not part of the problem. Certain outbursts are also the result of frustration over a grossly unfair judgment which has been influenced by money that has been paid. If indeed everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, then there should no concessions for pleaders who presumably have a better understanding of the law and are expected to use that knowledge to secure justice for their clients rather than getting themselves out of sticky situations and misusing that power. A lot has been said and close to nothing has been done when it comes to judicial reforms. While the previous CJP's idea of reform was unexpected video-recorded visits to session courts to embarrass judges, the current one is at least taking a more nuanced logical approach. That is evident because a section of the lawyers' community is up in arms over the creation of model courts to dispense speedy justice. Quicker decisions mean lawyers earn less as their services won't be required for extended periods of time, decades in some cases. This is a welcome move that should continue parallel to accountability of lawyers and judges as well.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Apr 27, 2019
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