New guidelines for designation of senior advocates in the SC: What they say

Source: The post is based on the article “New guidelines for designation of senior advocates in the SC: What they say”  published in Indian Express on 17th July 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has issued new guidelines on designating lawyers as ‘Senior Advocates’ in the apex court.

The guidelines were issued by the court following the judgment in the Indira Jaising Vs Supreme Court case, which modified the criteria.

What is a Senior advocate?

Section 16 (1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 states there shall be two classes of advocates, namely, senior advocates and other advocates.

Section 16 (2) allows an advocate to be designated as a senior advocate if he consents to it and if the Supreme Court or a High Court is of opinion that by virtue of his ability, he is deserving of such distinction.

What is Indira Jaising Vs Supreme Court case?

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What are the new guidelines issued by the Supreme Court on designating lawyers as ‘Senior Advocates’?

Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates: All matters relating to the designation of Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court of India shall be dealt with by a Permanent Committee.

– The committee will be composed of the following: (1) Chief Justice of India Chairperson (2) Two senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court of India (3) Attorney General for India (4) A member of the Bar, nominated by the Chairperson and Members.

– The committee will meet twice a year. The Committee shall have a permanent secretariat. The composition of the Secretariat will be decided by the Chief Justice of India in consultation with the members of the Committee.

Eligibility to be designated as a Senior advocate: The candidates need to be at least ten years’ standing as an Advocate or ten years’ combined standing as an Advocate and as a District and Sessions Judge or as a Judicial Member of any Tribunal in India to be designated as Senior Advocates at the Supreme Court.

– They must practice mainly in the Supreme Court but advocates with domain expertise of practising before specialized Tribunals may be given concession.

– The age limit for applying for the designation of Senior Advocate is now 45 years unless the age limit is relaxed. The age limit can be relaxed by the Committee.

Role of Secretariat: The Secretariat of the Committee shall initiate the process for designation of Senior Advocate at least once every year by inviting applications from Advocates-on-Record/Advocates for designation as Senior Advocates

— The Committee will examine each application on the basis of the data provided by the Secretariat and make its overall assessment on the basis of a point- based format.

– The points will be given to the advocate based on years of practice, pro-bono work undertaken, judgements, publications and a personality test.

The Committee may short-list the number of candidates to be selected for interview by the Full Court comprising all judges. 

– The Full Court may review its decision to designate a person as a Senior Advocate and recall the conferment of designation if the Advocate is found guilty of conduct which according to the Full Court disentitles him to designation.

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