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HISTORY OF LEGAL PROFESSION

Introduction -Legal Profession: A profession is an activity which has certain characteristics which are : I) Well defined body of knowledge : There are college universities for law, eg: NLU etc. II) Restricted entry: You have to pass bar council’s exam to practise your profession as a lawyer. III) Ethical code of conduct: There are certain rules which lawyers have to follow otherwise it leads to Contempt of Court. IV) Professional Association: To become a practising lawyer you need to get certified association with bar council. V) Service Motive: Lawyer’s main motive is to provide justice to his/her client.

A legal profession is function that is based on expertise in the law and its execution. The individuals who pursue this profession has certain duties and that is to: 1. Study 2. Promote 3. Uphold and 4. Enforce the collection of rules imposed by the authority. •History of the Legal Profession in India: -The 1st British court was established in Bombay in 1612 by Governor Aungier. -The power of the admission of attorney were given in the hands of governor-in-council instead of courts. -Before establishment of the greater courts in Bombay and Madras in 1726 there were no legal profession. -Lawyers lacked professional training back in those days. -I would like to divide this history into 3 parts: 1. The legal profession in Ancient India. 2. The legal profession in Medieval India. 3. The legal profession in British India. 1. The legal profession in Ancient India: ~In Ancient India, people lived in small groups and heads of these groups acted as judges. Those judges provided their judgement by listening to arguments presented in front of them openly. ~In those days,there were no legal experts. ~After the establishment of rule of kings, the kings give justice in royal courts where they were advised by ministers of those courts. Like Akbar advised Birbal on the cases put in front of him. ~Hindu religion and customs influenced the laws in those days. ~King was the legislative, executive and judiciary, all in one. ~Religious leaders dominated society in that period. ~In that era, the victim filed a complaint with the king and later they used to get a summons from the court. The court then investigated the matter based on the evidence and advice of religious leaders. 2. The legal profession in Medieval India: ~During the Medieval period, both the parties used to call their Vakeels (lawyers) to litigate. ~Vakeels used to get paid with a percentage of the claim that the party they used to represent received. ~Courts used to admit Vakeels. ~The identical device was present in Northern India even under the control of the East India Company. 3. The legal profession during British India: ~During this period Mayor’s Court got established. ~Mayor’s Court: # Initially it was only present in Madras. It was established under the Charter of 1687 and was created by the East India Company. # Charter 1726 created the Mayor’s Court which drew powers directly from British Crown via letter of patent sent to the Crown by the East India Company. # Provisions of Charter of 1726 lead to power struggle between the superiors as according to these provisions the Mayor Court’s decisions would be appealed to the Governor-General in Council. # Governor-General was the servant of British crown and Mayor’s court drew powers from the Crown. This resulted in Tug of War between Governor General and East India Company. # Formation of Mayor’s Court: The East India Company wrote formal written application to the British Crown to grant some special powers for administrative efficiency in the presidency. So, the Charter of 1726 got issued by King George the 1st which lead to the establishment of Mayor’s court in all 3 presidencies. This Charter also lead to the formation of Municipal Corporation in presidency town. # Jurisdiction of Mayor’s court: <No Criminal Jurisdiction <Original Civil Jurisdiction over British soldiers in town. <Can issue and approve wills. <Testamentary (personal) and Posthumous (probative wills jurisdiction) -Many of these alleged attorney who were working in these courts lacked proper training and chose to become lawyer just because they wanted something to do. Most of them were employees of the company. This lead to inefficient management.

-Madras regulations of 1802 copied Bengal regulation of 1793 with slight verbal variations. -One notable difference between these 2 is that the plaintiffs were allowed to stipulate more, but not less than the regulatory fee they paid. -Madras regulation of 1816 was inspired by the Bengal regulation of 1814. It provided some decentralization of the powers of the court. -The Bombay regulation of 1802 was similar to the Bengal regulation with minor variation. •Development of legal profession in India after Independence: -In 1951, the All India Bar Committee was formed. The chairperson of this committee was Justice S.R. Das. -In its report, the committee recommended the establishment of All India Bar Council and State Bar Councils. -The powers recommended to provide to the All India Bar Council and State Bar Council are: 1. Registration 2. Suspension 3. Dismissal of lawyers from the Bar association. -This commission recommended that All India Bar Council and State Bar Council should be authorised to practise in all country’s courts. -It also recommended that no more untrained lawyers and undergraduates Mukhtars should be hired. -The 5th Law Commission of India made similar recommendations in its 14th report.




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