This article provides an insight into the governance of practicing lawyers in India – namely, The Advocates Act. The Act governs registration, code of conduct and the general functionality of the Bar Council of India. Each of these has a laid out procedure containing rules and regulations for their actions.
Emerged successfully as one of the ancient judicial systems in the world, the Indian Legal System has established a special place of importance in the World History of India. Inherited after more than 200 years of ruling by the Britishers and their law, the Indian Legal System received its existence and similarities from the English Legal System. Adapting with modifications, the Indian Constitution frames and structures the legal system.
Empowering the supreme law and foundations of law, the Constitution of India became effective on 26th January, 1950. Modified with time today, the Indian Judiciary System is comprised of statute law and common law. With authorities, rights , structures, procedures, duties and power of the Indian Constitution, the Indian Legal System forms a three tier legal system in India, namely, the Supreme Court of India: the apex one, the High Court: the state courts and lastly Subordinate Court: the district courts.
Being one of the largest and the oldest professions in the world, the Indian Legal Profession has been enrolled with more than 1.4 million advocates from across the country. In order to practice Law as an advocate or barrister or solicitor, the legal professional should be enrolled with the Bar Council of India.
The Advocates Act, 1961
The Advocates Act, 1961 is an autonomous act of law that governs and empowers the legal profession in India. Extending across the country, the Advocates Act, 1961 is passed by the Parliament of India, providing the laws for legal practitioners and the constitution of the Bar Council of India as well as state bar councils. The act reserves the rights of legal enrollment, professional ethics, admission, practice, discipline, education, regulations, improvisations, and law reforms, etc , for legal professionals namely, Indian Lawyer and advocates practicing in India.
The Bar Council of India
Holding, an essential position in the Indian Judiciary System, the Bar Council of India is a legal body representing and regulating the Indian Bar. The Bar Council of India Act, 1926 unites different grades of legal practicing and enables different courts bars to function as a self- governing body or entity. The Bar Council of India is responsible for planning, prescribing and implementing issues with respect to legal education, professional conduct, and qualification measures for legal enrollment, legal ethics, professional control and disciplinary jurisdiction above the bar. The act majorly reserves the rights for enrollment of legal professionals for practicing law as Advocates in Indian Courts. The Bar Council of India also keeps the stake in granting recognition to only those law universities whose student qualification will be accepted in the eyes of the Indian Judicial System.
In order to practice law in India, an advocate or a lawyer is mandated to fully comply with all the provisions mentioned under the act. In order to register as a lawyer in India, the following requirements of the State Bar Councils are also to be duly complied with:
Lawyers in India have to abide by the following rules and regulations, stipulated under the Advocates act, 1961 and the Bar Council of India Rules. Some of these rules as mentioned herein below:
Practicing as a lawyer in India with a foreign degree in Law does calls for speculation around its authenticity and legality. But under the Advocates Act, an Indian can pursue his or her graduation in law only from those foreign universities that are approved under the Bar Council of India.
The Advocates Act, 1961 allows foreign lawyers to practice law in India on a reciprocal basis as stipulated under section 47.The much debatable issue of authorizing Foreign Lawyers to practice in India has still not received a wave from the Supreme Court and a blank resolution for the same is expected. However, the Madras High Court passed the judgment for foreign lawyers to practice in India under the act of Fly In and Fly Out . Fly In and Fly Out, permits foreign law firms or foreign lawyers to temporarily visit India to give legal advice to their clients on foreign legal issues. However, after the judgment announced by Bombay High Court in the case of Lawyers Collective Vs Bar Council of India & Ors, foreign law firms or foreign lawyers have been denied the right to practice law in India. However, the Madras High Court supports their proposal with reasons that since foreign law firms or lawyers do not have an official space in India, they do not come under the act of enrolment, yet they can practice under fly in and fly out. The struggle for the same still continues amongst Indian Lawyers and Law Firms, and presently, foreign Lawyers and firms are denied from the right to practice in India.