Can an Advocate Practice in Any Court?

With the amount of pending cases in India piling up by the day, The justice system has started hearing cases online to avoid stagnation. In the despirate post covid era, pan india practice by advocates makes more sense than ever. In addition to this, the Bar Council of India has introduced mandatory experience provisions in 2019 for practicing law in higher courts. 

Advocates Act, 1961.

According to the Advocates Act, 1961, the term ‘Advocate’ is legally defined as “a person who is   enrolled in any role under the provisions of the act”. Generally, only advocates enrolled in the list of any State Bar Council have the exclusive right to become an advocate and practice law under the concerned act. However, the right to practice law was provided only to advocates practicing before tribunals and courts within the state.

Since the act allowed advocates to practice only in their respective states, it posed severe hindrances to the timely and efficient justice system of India. But in 2011, the section 30 of Advocates Act, 1961 was notified by the then Law Minister of India ‘Veerappa Molly’ which was considered as the need of the hour to revolutionize the legal system of India. 

Section 30 under the act has been defined as – “Subject to provisions of this Act, every advocate whose name is entered in the State roll shall be entitled as of right to practice throughout the territories to which this Act extends,-

(i) in all courts including the Supreme Court;

(ii) before any tribunal or person legally authorized to take evidence; and

(iii) before any other authority or person before whom, such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practice”.

Related Provisions

The Advocates Act, 1961 provides advocates the freedom to practice across states, before any court or tribunal of India. This was regarded as a measure to curb the increasing number of pending cases across different courts in India. However, the BCI has drafted rules and regulations advocates need to comply with to practice in India.

The six constitutional fundamental rights of India protects the interests of the general public. Among them, Article 19(1)g protects the right of individuals to practice the profession of their choice. Advocates under this right have the liberty to practice by partaking in the growing legal profession.

The Bar Council of India had introduced “BCI Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014”

Which states compliances to be followed to practice law in India. These rules were put forward to govern conditions to practice law based on credence to experience. Advocates now need to hold a “certificate of practice” and valid registration to practice under the Bar Association. 

The rules also stated that an advocate needs to at least acquire experience of working before High court or equivalent authority for 3 years and 2 years before the lower courts to be able to practice before the Supreme Court. But  these controversial rules were repealed in 2015 considering the various troubles it brought along and are no longer in force in India.

Here is a detailed article on an Advocate’s practice in India.

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