The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that advocates are not liable for deficiency of services under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and cannot be sued for poor service before consumer courts

The bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal said the legal profession is sui generis (unique) and the nature of work is specialised and cannot be compared with other professions.

“Advocates have to respect client’s autonomy, not entitled to make concessions without express instructions from client and transgress authority. Considerable amount of direct control is with the client of advocate. This strengthens our opinion that contract is of personal service and excluded from definition of service under Consumer Protection Act,” the bench said.

The judgement came on pleas filed by bar bodies, such as the Bar Council of India, the Delhi High Court Bar Association, the Bar of Indian Lawyers, and other individuals challenging a 2007 verdict of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission , which has ruled that advocates and their services come under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.