Judge Johannes Zlahn, presiding judge of the Civil Law Court, has threatened to send lawyers he described as “money eaters” to jail if allegations are proven against them.
It is reported that some lawyers are in the constant habit of charging hundreds of United States dollars as legal fees, but then fail to live up to the expectations of their clients and even abandon them. Such lawyers could face the wrath of Judge Johannes Zlahn.
Against this backdrop, Judge Zlahn announced last Friday that he was prepared to send lawyers to jail for receiving money from clients and neglecting their cases.
It all started when Judge Zlahn instructed his Clerk of Court to read the list of cases he would have heard last Friday, but when the list was called the judge noticed that lawyers, who should have handled those cases were not around.
The lawyers’ absence annoyed him so much that he was openly heard saying, “It is disappointing that senior lawyers will receive money from clients and fail to represent them and this is unacceptable.”
He added, “Any lawyer that asks for assignment and a notice is prepared in that direction, served, received and signed for but that lawyer fails to appear for hearing, will be held in contempt, fined and subsequently sent to jail.”
According to the judge, the act by such lawyers not to honor court notices of assignment is contemptuous, unprofessional and unethical.
The judge stated that when a person throws himself or herself at the mercy of a lawyer and relies on the lawyer to protect his or her rights, it behoves the lawyer to live up to the person’s expectation by effectively representing the person.
According to him, failure of lawyers to follow through with their clients’ cases is among the reasons that are responsible for over-crowdedness of court documents.
“This is why lots of cases have not been heard for the last five years. They are negligent in representing their clients,” he declared.
He warned, “When it is time to hear their clients’ cases they often fail to appear without any justifiable reason. This will not happen in this court that I am presiding over, and if any lawyer would think they can receive money from their clients and refuse to follow their cases, let them try it.”