Kartik Mittal featured as the ‘Contributed article of the week’ in The Legal Diary

March 11 2024

Kartik Mittal featured as the ‘Contributed article of the week’ in The Legal Diary, discussing ‘The Truth About Acting for Adversaries’. In his article, Kartik addresses the challenges lawyers face when representing clients from countries in conflict with the UK government.

The Truth About Acting For Adversaries

Acting for Individuals and/or entities associated with countries who are considered as adversaries of the UK government, on the international scene, is always more challenging.

The most difficult aspect of acting on such cases is the social stigma that comes from members of public. This maybe for several reasons including that they may not be very well versed with the duties/professional ethics associated with being a lawyer, their understanding of the legal profession being misguided by movies/tv shows which sometimes portray lawyers in a manner which is far from reality and/or not appreciating the fluid and ever evolving nature of foreign relationships between countries.

I recall that, very recently, I was asked by a non-lawyer at a social gathering if I was involved in any important case ongoing in the UK Courts. I told them that my firm was acting for the Central Bank of Venezuela in a dispute against the Bank of England relating to Venezuelan gold reserves, which was well publicised by the media. The person immediately replied saying “I hope not for the Maduro Government?” to which I responded explaining not the government itself but those appointed by President Maduro to the board of directors of the Central Bank of Venezuela. The person ended the conversation by saying “that’s a shame” and left.

The response that you receive sometimes from the members of the public is in stark contrast to that you receive from your peers including legal adversaries. I have always found my peers including legal adversaries to be polite, courteous, and friendly. I guess that this is because as part of the legal profession it is clearly understood that the role of a lawyer is simply to present his/her client’s case (whoever it maybe) in a coherent manner, and in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed by the Court, with a view to assist the Court to arrive at a fair and just decision. It is not the role of lawyer to judge their clients, nor are they allowed to have their personal views affect the legal services they provided to a client. Access to courts is a fundamental tenant on which our society is built, and the lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring that everyone has a right to put their case forward before our courts. It is fundamental in any democratic setup for government actions to be capable of being scrutinised. The judiciary plays an important role in reviewing government decisions and the lawyers play an essential role in assisting the court to conduct such reviews.

See the full feature here.

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