If a corrupted lawyer during a court case intentionally doesn't provide enough given information by his client to the judge, i.e. intentionally doesn't represent given information and loses the case, does such a lawyer commit a crime? If yes, what is the name of such a crime and how to deal with such a situation?

  • 4
    Do you mean "ineffective council?" That depends heavily on where you are, what kind of case it was and what kind of court! Please edit with more information.
    – Trish
    Oct 7, 2022 at 16:07
  • 2
    I will vote to reopen if it gets closed. Although very general, the answer may be provided in kind: Whether or not such criminal statutes exist anywhere, and give examples to it. Follow up questions may provide for fact-specific inquiries, but the general question relates to law, clear, includes sufficient detail to be answered on the same level of abstraction hence meets all criteria of a question on topic, and I invite others to declare the same.
    – kisspuska
    Oct 7, 2022 at 18:14
  • Should OP (@Jane B.) need less generic information she is welcome to submit an edit to this question including relative to the specific information omitted to be disclosed by the attorney, the jurisdiction (e.g. country and/or state where court is and the conduct took place), and what evidence is present in the hypothetical.
    – kisspuska
    Oct 7, 2022 at 18:18
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    In almost every instance where an attorney declines to present an argument or "evidence" demanded by a client, it's because that client is a loon; or because the argument is nonsensical, or will make the client's case worse (often much worse); or because it is perjurious, or against the rules of evidence.
    – tbrookside
    Oct 8, 2022 at 0:06

3 Answers 3


It's hard to say, given how little we know about the case and the information, also what you mean by "corrupted" and what your evidence is. Here are two hypothetical cases that illustrate different possibilities. 1: The accused instructs the lawyer to tell the judge "My client has an alibi against the robbery charge: at the time, he was murdering his brother". Lawyer deems this to be a bad argument because murder is punished more severely than robbery. The lawyer is doing his job, protecting the interest of the client. No crime or civil wrong.

2: The accused instructs the lawyer to tell the judge "My client has an alibi against the robbery charge: at the time, he was in church". The lawyer doesn't understand that this is exculpatory evidence, thinking "they never asked about church, there's no point in me raising this issue". The client can probably sue for incompetence.

There are possible criminal charges possible, for example if the lawyer is working for The Mob he might be involved in an actual criminal conspiracy.

  • 6
    "Corrupted" to me implies that it was deliberate, so neither #1 nor #2 Oct 8, 2022 at 2:15

It depends on the nature of the information at issue, when the lawyer acquired it, and when and why he decided to take this course of action. And of course, it always depends on the jurisdiction where this happened.

Assuming a worst-case scenario in the United States, i.e., the lawyer planned from the outset to charge the client while deliberately tanking her case, the lawyer may have committed some sort of criminal fraud or theft of services.

Regardless of whether a crime has been committed, it seems quite likely that the lawyer has violated several non-criminal laws. He could be liable to the client for legal malpractice, civil fraud, or civil conspiracy.

Further, the lawyer is likely subject to discipline for violating several legal-ethics rules, including his duties of competent and diligent representation, and his duty of candor toward the tribunal. He would also commit misconduct under Rule 8.3 by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, and by engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

A client in such a situation could approach the police if she believed a criminal offense had been committed, though my experience indicates that the police will tend to treat the complaint as a civil matter unless the client arrives with overwhelming evidence of egregious conduct.

If the client wishes to recover damages from the lawyer, she should hire a new and better lawyer who handles legal-malpractice cases.

If the client wishes to see the lawyer disciplined, she can report him to whoever handles attorney-misconduct complaints in her jurisdiction -- likely the state supreme court or a local bar association.


The lawyer decides how to run the case

They will consult with the client and a client is well advised to tell their lawyer everything - good and bad.

The lawyers duty is to represent their client to the best of their ability subject to their duty as an officer of the court. A lawyer cannot knowingly mislead the court or allow their client to do so. They are not obliged to tell the court everything they know and they decide the strategy and tactics to employ - the client doesn’t.

Choosing a strategy the client doesn’t agree with is not “corruption”. Win or lose a lawyer cannot be sued for what they did or didn’t do in court.

What is corruption?

Corruption would be deliberately employing a strategy they believe to be sub-optimal for personal gain. A lawyer being bribed to lose would be the classic example.

Corrupt behavior is not necessarily criminal behavior although straight out bribery is clearly both. Notwithstanding, if corruption were proved the client would be entitled to a retrial.

  • “Choosing a strategy the client doesn’t agree with is not “corruption”. Win or lose a lawyer cannot be sued for what they did or didn’t do in court.” This is very true in practice with no repercussion, but is far from supported and very much prohibited per case law in the U.S.. EU Member States are also catching up along the case laws of the ECtHR (and possibly the ECJ). Maybe this is true in Australia?
    – kisspuska
    Oct 8, 2022 at 7:20
  • 1
    Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, India, Malaysia, Singapore - basically everywhere with a Common Law system.
    – Dale M
    Oct 8, 2022 at 10:22

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