Employees as Advocates: Revisiting the Legal Position
All India Reporter, Vol. 99, No. 1186, pp. 173-176, 2012
5 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2012
Once permitted as a statutory exception to select class of personnel, the amended rules of the Bar Council of India do not permit a person engaged in full time employment to enroll as Advocate and thus practice in India. Recent decisions of the Bombay High Court and the Madras High Court holding that practice in this context implies both litigative practice – i.e. appearance before Courts, tribunals, etc. – as also non-litigative practice – i.e. drafting, providing legal opinions etc. – and their interim affirmation by the Supreme Court, has serious implications on these position. In this paper the author has made an attempt to trace the changes in legal position.
The paper examines the legal position under the Advocates Act, 1961 which governs the enrollment and conduct of advocates/lawyers in India, the changes introduced by the Bar Council of India from time to time and recent decisions of the Bombay and Madras High Court relating to practice of foreign law firms in India to examine the currently applicable legal position.
Upon appraisal of the various factors affecting the provisions, this paper concludes that Enrollment as Advocate under the provisions of the Advocates Act is essential to carry out litigative or non-litigative practice; and Employees cannot be enrolled as Advocates. Therefore employees cannot carry out either litigative or non-litigative practice.
Keywords: advocates, India, foreign law firms, employee, lawyers
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K39, K40, K49, N45, L59
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation