In any litigation or court case, Civil or Criminal, the lawyer-client relationship is intricate. It is part exercise in teamwork and part close relationship requiring the revealing and maintaining of sensitive and confidential personal information.
In all aspects, this relationship between the lawyer and the client is based on mutual trust and privacy. Once the trust is severed or shattered, it is difficult for the client and the lawyer to continue working together.
In the above said circumstances, it is better to timely change the lawyer in an ongoing litigation or case. The fact is that the client is free to change the lawyer anytime during the case proceedings, but it is not necessarily wise to do so.
The client should give careful consideration to the following mentioned questions before changing a lawyer;
- How much time and effort the new lawyer will have to take to speed up the case,
- Whether there is still any scope to retain the current lawyer in continuing the representation of the litigation,
- Last but not the least, the new lawyer will require a retainer and that needs to be taken care of.
Since, replacing a lawyer in the middle of a case can be a costly affair, one may want to figure out why the relationship has worsened and what steps can be taken to reinstate it. Hence, it is advisable to improve the misunderstandings with the lawyer by initiating more discussions.
In spite of that, the procedure to change a lawyer in the midst of a case is;
- At the beginning of a litigation or suit, the pleader has to file a duly signed written document by the client in the court, which is termed as a Vakalatnama.
- After being dissatisfied with the current lawyer, the client might ask for a No Objection Certificate from him on the Vakalatnama or on other documents related to the case.
- If, in case, current lawyer does not agree to give No Objection Certificate, then a notice of termination can be issued to the lawyer and apply to the court for withdrawal of Vakalatnama.
- If the pleader fails to give the case history to the client, the client can ask the newly appointed lawyer to apply for the order sheets and related documents in the Court.