Thursday, June 16, 2011

If Lawyers Can Practice In All Courts Why Not Full Time Law Professors: A Necessity of Engaged Scholarship

Now, lawyers can practise, as a matter of right, in all courts and
forums, including tribunals or any quasi-judicial authority. The
lawyers will be able to practise in courts across the country
irrespective of their enrollment in any bar council without the need
to transfer licence to their desired states.
Fifty years after the Advocates Act, 1961, came into force, the Centre
has notified Section 30 of the Act — with effect from 15th June, 2011
to enable advocates to practise anywhere in the country.
In 1988, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to consider whether
Section 30 should be brought into force or not. The court had,
however, held that it was the discretion of the Centre to bring the
section into force by issuing a notification.
This provision was not notified when the Act was added to the statute
book. As a result, in certain courts and tribunals, lawyers could
appear only if they were permitted by the presiding officer.
Section 30 says: "Subject to the provisions of this Act, every
advocate shall be entitled as of right to practise throughout the
territories to which this Act extends; in all courts including the
Supreme Court; before any tribunal or person legally authorised to
take evidence; and before any other authority or person before whom
such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force
entitled to practise."
The government issued the Gazette Notification on June 9. It said:
"The Central government hereby appoints June 15, 2011 as the date on
which Section of the Advocates Act shall come into force."
The long-pending demand of lawyers for notifying this Section was
fulfilled, thanks to Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily's initiative.
Expressing satisfaction over the progress in the implementation of
'vision statement' launched in October 2009, Mr. Moily said under the
programme to be launched from July 1, about 40 per cent of the petty
cases pending in various courts were to be disposed of in six months
through Lok Adalats and morning/evening courts.
As the 13th Finance Commission provided Rs. 5,000 crore for support to
the judiciary and the first instalment of Rs. 1,000 crore had already
been released for 2010-2011. The Finance Commission envisaged that all
subordinate courts could have extended court hours by hiring retired
judges or giving allowances to incumbent judges to dispose of petty
cases.
Such courts, he said, were to be established at a cost of Rs. 3.5 lakh
each and they were expected to dispose of 225 lakh minor cases
annually. In addition Lok Adalats were expected to dispose of 15 lakh
a year and by 2015, a total of 75 lakh cases would be disposed of by
Lok Adalats.
He said he had asked the CJs to launch the campaign from July by
fixing targets and types of cases for disposal.
He had suggested to them to follow summary procedure as allowed by
law, plea bargaining and compounding of cases to reduce the caseload
in courts.
On the progress in computerisation of courts, he said: "The government
is implementing a Central sector scheme for computerisation of the
District and subordinate courts [e-courts project] in the country and
for upgradation of the Information and Communication Technology
infrastructure of the Supreme Court and High Courts including
video-conferencing facilities."
The steps taken by Mr. Moily for legal reforms are praiseworthy. But
still there is long way to go. As till today the law teachers are not
permitted to practice before the courts in India. If the full time law
teachers will be allowed to act as an advocate it will increased
production of engaged scholarship
While in the USA the most advanced country where the legal education
and legal profession is highly respected the law teachers are allowed
to practice. Now the law minister should seriously thing on the issue
not as a mere professional responsibility, but as a matter of
necessity. Although others have made similar calls in the past, we
note several structural reasons affecting lawyers and judges that
preclude them from preparing the same quality and quantity of analysis
as law professors.

No other group on to lawyers, judges, or law students is in position
to provide quality engaged scholarship. The assumption that judges
and lawyers are in position to write engaged scholarship may be simply
wrong. More significantly, the failure of professors to do so
degrades the ability of courts to fairly ascertain the law, negatively
affects our own students, and could negatively affect the perception
of law schools and law faculty held by the public, the bench, and the
bar. In sum, there is a need for more engaged scholarship, law
professors are uniquely situated to fill that need, and doing so is in
our best interest. Engaged scholarship addresses problems related to
the law, legal system, or legal profession that affect a significant
portion of society or the legal community. It identifies current legal
issues, offers possible solutions to legal problems, or meaningfully
informs decision-makers on the issues before them.
Judge Edwards noted two characteristics of this type of scholarship:
it is prescriptive in that it solves legal problems, and doctrinal
because it offers solutions without ignoring the existing sources of
law that constrain or otherwise guide decision-makers.

Engaged scholarship tackles any number of issues, but does so with an
eye toward improving the process of law or educating those who affect
it. Engaged scholarship brings legal theory to the worker bees of the
legal beehive, and does so in a way that enables them to actually use
the information. It is submitted that our law minister should
seriously think over the matter and try hard to pave the way for
allowing law teachers to practice in all the courts of all over India.
This will be a biggest reform in legal education and legal profession
that will bridge the gap between law in books and law in action.

-Sources: http://www.siasat.com ( 16/06/2011)
http://www.hindu.com /16/06/2011)
https://www.law.suffolk.edu/HricikSalzmann.pdf (16/06/2011)


--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor , KIIT Law School,
Coordinator BCI Moot Court Competition
Coordinator Intellectual Property Law (Hons) Programme
Campus-16,KIIT University, PATIA, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, 751024.
Website: www.technolexindia.co <http://www.technolexindia.co.cc>m,
www.tabrez.org
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