The Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014

Prachi Kumari

The Bar Council of India at a meeting held on October 30, 2014 approved the Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014 by its Resolution No. 169/2014 dated 29/10/2014. The Certificate of Practice and Renewal Rules, 2014 aims to give due weight age and credence to experience for practicing in higher courts and also ‘weed out’ advocates who have left practice.

As per these rules, a lawyer must practice for two years in a trial court and for three years in a high court before being allowed to practice before the apex court. Besides this, the new Rule also mandates the renewal of licenses every five years. All practicing advocates will hence have to file an application for renewal of their license, in advance of six months before the validity period of ‘certificate of practice’ of its renewal, expires and the same will be vetted by the Bar council.

Actually, State Bar Councils and The Bar Council of India are concerned about the trend of advocates switching over to other professions or services or business without any information to the Bar Council. This trend has reached at alarming stage.

Therefore, the BCI has brought about these two changes. Effects of these changes are:

  • The 5-year experience requirement, which is in “Rule 7 of Chapter III shall come into force on such date as the Bar Council of India may, by notification in the Gazette of India, appoint in this behalf”.

The rules provide that from now the certificate of practice needs to be renewed every five years by filing an application with the relevant state bar council six months in advance from the date of the certificate’s expiry.

  • Within six months of 29 October 2014 (the date of the notification), under Rule 8 all advocates who graduated before 2010 must get a certificate of practice from the BCI, which will cost Rs 500 (Rs 400 to the respective state bar council and Rs 100 to the BCI).

I agree with the view of the BCI that “before an advocate could practice law in higher courts, there is a need that she/he is exposed to real court experience in lower courts/trial courts. This will help in integrating the whole judicial system from the perspective of the bar.”

The SC is the highest court of justice in India (except some situations where an appeal can be made to the President) and BCI is concerned about maintaining dignity and standard of the apex court. Therefore, it takes such decisions from time-to-time. Example of one of such steps is banning interns on miscellaneous days i.e. Monday and Friday in the SC.

I think experience count at every walk of life. If an advocate joins the apex court of the land with five year experience, then there is no harm in it.