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Updated: Mar 14, 2022


Origin and Development of Legal Profession

Origin: In India, the Legal profession originated during the British Rule. There is no evidence of the existence of legal Profession before that i.e. During the Hindu Rule and Mughal Dynasty period. During that period, the administration of justice was in the hands of the King and the Kings court was treated as the highest court of the country. There is no appeal against the order of the King. Persons disobeyed the King’s order was charged with sedition. During that period the King was respected as the representative of God who was sent by the God to render justice to the people. In the King’s court the plaintiff has to represent his case personally and thereafter the King will hear the other side. To assist and advice and the King in the administration of justice there was a council of ministers and a group of educationalists.

During British’s Period:

The East India Company which started its business in India, during 16thCentury slowly started capturing important cities in India and they started administering those areas under Their control. They have created company courts and those courts were headed by persons having no legal knowledge. And persons having no legal knowledge were allowed to practice in the court.

The first time in India, the legal profession was recognized and regulated by the Charter Act of 1774.This Act has permitted the English lawyers to practice in the Supreme Court of Calcutta. Later on in 1801, the English lawyers were allowed to practice in the Madras Supreme Court and in the year 1823 they were allowed to practice in the Bombay Supreme Court, but Indian Lawyers were not allowed to Practice in those courts. (In 1826 these 3 Supreme Courts were abolished and in that place High Courts were Created). In 1865, the Special Rights Act has conferred the right to the Madras, Bombay and Calcutta High Courts to frame rules for the recognition of Advocates and for preparing the Advocates roll. In 1879, the legal PR actioner’s Act has conferred the similar power to the other High court were allowed to practice in that high court. As per this Act Persons studied Law in England Were called as Advocates and persons studied Law in India were called as “Vakil”.The “Vakils” were not allowed to practice before the High Courts. In 1923, an Advocates Committee was constituted under the leadership of Sir. Edward to study the legal profession and to make suitable recommendations to improve the legal profession. This committee has recommended for the creation of Bar Councils in each High Court and allowing the “Vakils” to practice before the High Court. Accepting the recommendation Bar Council Act was passed in 1926. This Act was paved the way for the creation of Bar Councils in each High Courts. But the Bar Council was not empowered to enrolleeAdvocates, that power was retained with the High Courts. The function of the Bar Council was only advisory and the rules and regulations made by the Bar Council shall be brought into force only after the concurrence from the High Court.

After Independence:

After Independence in the year 1951 and Advocates Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Justice C.R. Das to study the problems in the legal profession and make suitable suggestions to remedy such problems.

This committee has made the Following recommendations.

1. All India level, one Bar Council namely Bar Council of India and in each state, State Bar Council should be created.

2. Power to enrolled Advocates and disciplinary power against the Advocates should be entrusted with the Bar Council.

3. Advocates should be allowed to practice throughout India without any discrimination.

The fifth Law Commission The fifth Law Commission also scrutinized these recommendations and recommended for the implementation of these recommendations. Accepting these recommendations, the Central Govt. passed the Advocates Act in the year 1961 giving suitable provision for creation of Bar Councils and the Bar Councils are entrusted with the power of regulating the legal profession. Mission also scrutinized these recommendations and recommended for the implementation of these The Advocates Act was passed by the Parliament in the year

Salient Features of Advocates Act 1961.

Following are some of the important salient features.

1. The Act has consolidated all the existing law on legal profession.

2. The Act has made provision for the creation of Bar Council of India at the Central level and State bar Councils in each state.

3. The Act has made the provision for the preparation of common roll of Advocates throughout India.

4. It empowers Advocates whose name is in the common roll to practice in all the courts in India.

5. The difference between the Advocates and Vakil is abolished and all those who practice law is called as Advocates.

6. Provisions are made to confer the status as Senior Advocate for those Advocates who poses extraordinary knowledge in the field of law.

7. It has conferred autonomous status to the Bar Councils.



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