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)

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