Must follow cardinal rule

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 December, 1995, 12:00am

WITH reference to your report on the rebuff given by some members of the Duty Lawyer Scheme to Mr Justice Duffy's view that lawyers ought to have their clients' written instructions before representing them in court (South China Morning Post, on December 14), let me give my whole-hearted support to the learned judge in this regard.

It is almost a cardinal rule that one ought to have client's written and signed instructions (and in his native language) in at least the three following situations: (i) When a client changes his plea to guilty or wishes to settle his civil case in the midst of a trial.

(ii) When a client does not wish to take the witness stand to testify.

(iii) When certain evidence is agreed between the parties. Make sure a client understands what is being agreed and have his signed consent.

To act otherwise is most unwise and may be irresponsible to oneself even.