Asia & Australia

June 18, 2018

New rules for designation of Senior Advocates notified: Karnataka HC


On June 7, the Karnataka High Court informed the High Court of Karnataka (Designation of Senior Advocates) Rules, 2018 in compliance with the guidelines defined in October 2017 by the Supreme Court on Senior Advocate Indira Jaising’s petition.

As for lawyers who are currently designated at the subordinate post, may also apply for the position. However, the only requirement as far as obtaining this position is concerned, it that the applicant must have some amount of working and handling cases or reported some cases or dealt with or cases involving important questions of law.

As per the Apex Court's directions, a lawyer can be considered for granting 'senior' designation either through a proposal signed by the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Advocate General and two Senior Advocates, or by an application made by the Advocate concerned.

Provision is also made for a Secretariat to vet applications and proposals submitted by advocates seeking designation. The structure of this Secretariat shall be decided by high court Chief Justice, in deliberation with other members of the Committee.

When applying for the position, the applicants can submit their application to the Secretariat who is responsible for compiling data on reputation, conduct, and integrity of the applicant including his participation in pro bone work and his appearance in cases involving questions of law during the past five years. The application then makes its way through the website of the respective high court leaving the forum open for suggestions and views from other stakeholders.

After receiving comments and views from the above mentioned, the report is handed to the Committee, which may then seek the Advocate's response on the comments. After the data-base on the Advocate is compiled, the Advocate's case would be put before the Committee for further scrutiny. The Committee would then evaluate the Advocate on the four criteria as listed above.

The last stage of the assessment is when the Advocates' candidature is submitted to the Full Court who would vote on the same. The Rules specify that voting by secret ballot will not normally be resorted to in the Full Court except when "unavoidable".

The files that are dismissed by the Full Court cannot be considered afresh until two years. Moreover, any sort of probing or debating by any nominee or applicant would disqualify him for being designated.

The Rules clarify that all pending applications for designation are to be returned to the Advocates, with a direction to apply afresh according to these rules.

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