Who is an Advocate?

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

An Advocate is a person who argues  for the cause of another person in front of any other judicial authority. This could be a civil matter such as a contractual dispute between two individuals, or a criminal matter where the State punishes those who commit crimes with imprisonment etc. The majority of India’s  legal professionals represent clients in courts and other judicial bodies.

Qualifications needed to be an advocate1

An advocate is simply  someone who is enrolled in any roll under the Advocates Act.2

A roll is a list prepared and maintained by the State Bar Councils, which contains the names of all advocates registered under the specific Council. The respective State Bar Councils have the duty to prepare and maintain rolls, and admit advocates to be listed on the roll.3 To qualify, the person applying to be an advocate should:

  • Be a citizen of India. However, foreign nationals can also be advocates if they come from countries where Indian citizens can practice law.4
  • Be at least 21 years of age.5

Degree in Law

The person applying should have a degree in Law:

  • Before 12th March 1967, from any University in India (Includes Pre-Independent India before 15th August 1947).6
  • After 12th March 1967, from any University in India recognized by the Bar Council of India, after undergoing a three-year course in law.7
  • After undergoing a course of study in law (at least two academic years) from the academic year 1967-68 or any earlier academic year from any University in India recognised by the Bar Council of India.8
  • From any University outside India whose degree is recognized by the Bar Council of India.9
  • As a Barrister who has been a member of the Bar before 31st December, 1976.9
  • After passing the examinations specified by the High Courts of Bombay or Calcutta for enrolling as an Advocate in that High Court.9
  • Any other foreign qualification recognized by the Bar Council of India.9 See here for the list of recognized foreign universities.

Other conditions

For the purpose of enrolment, the applicant has to pay the required stamp duty to the State Bar Council. The applicant also has to pay an enrolment fee of Rs. 150 to the Bar Council of India, and Rs. 600 to the respective State Bar Council.10

Moreover, persons wanting to enrol as advocates may also need to fulfil any other conditions put forward by their respective State Bar Councils.11 For example, the Bar Council of Delhi requires advocates to make a declaration that they are not engaged in any other trade, business, or profession. In case they are involved in something, they have to disclose the full information about it at the time of enrollment.12

  1. Section 24(1), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  2. Section 2(1)(a), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  3. Section 6(1)(a); 6(1)(b), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  4. Section 24(1)(a), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  5. Section 24(1)(b), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  6. Section 24(1)(c)(i); Section 24(c)(ii), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  7. Section 24(1)(c)(iii), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  8. Section 24(1)(c)(iiia), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  9. Section 24(1)(c)(iv), Advocates Act, 1961[][][][]
  10. Section 24(1)(f), Advocates Act, 1961; Rule 15(1), Part IX, Bar Council of India Rules, 1975[]
  11. Section 24(1(e), Advocates Act, 1961[]
  12. Rule 104, The Rules of the Bar Council of Delhi, 1963[]

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