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Legal Profession

The profession of law is called a noble profession, and lawyers are a force for the perseverance and strengthening of constitutional government because they are guardians of the modern legal system. The first step in the direction of organizing a legal profession in India was taken in 1774 with the establishment of the Supreme Court at Calcutta. The Supreme Court was empowered “to approve, admit and enroll such and so many advocates, Vakils and Attorneys-at-law” as to the court “shall seem meet”. The Bengal Regulation VII of 1793 for the first time created a regular legal profession for the companies’ courts. Other, similar regulations were passed to regulate the legal profession in the Companies courts in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madras, and Bombay.

The Legal Practitioner Act of 1879 was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to legal practitioners. This empowered an advocate/Vakil to enroll on the roll in any high court and to practice in all the Courts subordinate to the high court concerned, and also to practice in any court in British India other than the high court on whose roll he was not enrolled.

After independence of India, it was felt that the judicial administration in India should be changed according to the needs of the time. Presently, the legal profession in India is governed by the Advocates Act of 1961, which was enacted on the recommendation of the Law Commission of India to consolidate the law relating to legal practitioners and to provide for the constitution of the Bar Council and the All India Bar. Under the Advocates Act, the Bar Council of India has been created as a statutory body to admit persons as advocates on its roll, to prepare and maintain such roll, to entertain and determine instances of misconduct against advocates on its roll and to safeguard the rights, privileges, and interests of advocates on its roll. The Bar Council of India is also an apex statutory body which lays down standards of professional conduct and etiquette for advocates, while promoting and supporting law reform.

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