Monday, December 4, 2023

Use legal aptitude test marks to place young lawyers in senior chambers: BCI to Supreme Court

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The Bar Council of India (BCI) told the Supreme Court that based on scores obtained by young lawyers in an online legal aptitude test, they could be placed under lawyers designated as senior advocates or those with 25 years of standing at the Bar.

In the affidavit filed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) in the Supreme Court , it states that Senior lawyers may soon have to give space to at least five young lawyers in their chambers.

Further the BCI proposed introducing a state-level entrance test for admission in law colleges instead of letting universities and colleges conduct their exams separately.

The BCI has filed its affidavit on a query of the Supreme Court on a raft of proposed reforms in the country’s legal education.

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The affidavit, filed through advocate Durga Dutt on behalf of BCI apprised the Top Court that the council is also planning to frame a rule wherein online objective tests will have to be undertaken by fresh law graduates and the results of the online tests shall be valid for a period of six months.

The bench led by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard an appeal by the BCI against an order of the Gujarat high court, which allowed a woman to enroll as an advocate without quitting her job through an order in November 2020.

In the April 11 affidavit, it is underlined that a panel has been constituted to scrutinise the possibility of making a rule obligating senior lawyers to accommodate fresh law graduates in their chambers. The BCI further complained about the indifference of universities and state governments towards improving the infrastructure of government-run law colleges.

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BCI on the court’s concerns over mushrooming law colleges and lowering of standards stated that it has earmarked about 500 institutions throughout the country which are sub-standard. It has imposed a three-year moratorium on opening new law colleges in August 2019, in order to discourage mushrooming of law colleges.

As per BCI data, there are 1.7 million registered lawyers in the country and 80,000 to 100,000 new advocates get enrolled annually. According to BCI there are around 1,500 law colleges across the country, with private colleges making up for 75%.

The Top Court will hear the matter on April 19.

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