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HC’s new norms for designating sr. advocates

28 October 2013

Aimed at providing greater transparency, the Madras High Court comes out with new norms on conferring the designation of senior advocate.

According to the norms, an advocate should have completed 15 years’ of professional experience and landmark judgements should have been delivered in cases taken up by such a person.

Pointing out that the declared gross income from the profession should not be less than Rs. 7 lakh annually for the past three years, the norms spell out that an advocate should furnish at least fifteen judgments where he/she has contributed to the growth of law, in the preceding three years.

Welcoming the norms, R. Muthukumaraswamy, president of the Madras Bar Association (MBA) toldThe Hindu that “In those days, a senior advocate would recommend to Chief Justice the case of a junior advocate who has experience of 10 years for granting senior advocate’s designation and the matter would be placed before the full court for approval. Now, for first time, the Madras High Court has now made it public the norms.”

Explaining the procedure to be adopted while designation, the notification said “a Select Committee comprising of 10 judges of the High Court, preferably representing different facets of law, which would identify such of those advocates, who by their ability, conduct, standing at the bar or special knowledge or experience in law and distinction are eligible to be designated as Senior Advocates in terms of Section 16(2) of the Advocates Act, 1961”

“It appears that the gross income is too low. Today, it is nothing for a person who has fifteen years experience. The message clearly should be brought out that there shall not be application by candidate or recommendation letters by two seniors as practised now,” viewed senior advocate R. Krishnamoorthy.

The notification further said advocate, for being designated as senior advocate, on being invited by the High Court, should furnish the information in a prescribed format. After verifying the credentials of the advocate, the Select Committee will forward the list to the Chief Justice. The selection list of names will thereafter be placed for approval before the High Court for designation as senior advocates.

The notification made it clear that the High Court, by simple majority, will withdraw the designation of a senior advocate in case he/she committed professional misconduct or shown intemperate behaviour in court.

Published by: The Hindu