In terms of enrolment there are five types of lawyers are now existing in Bangladesh
(i) Advocates to the subordinate Court who are entitled to practice in all the Subordinate Courts of Bangladesh only;
(ii) Advocates to the High Court who have right to practice in the High Court and all the subordinate courts of Bangladesh
(iii) Advocates on record who are entitled to practice before the Appellate Division. A senior Advocate or any other Advocate in the Appellate Division can plead in any appeal only under the instruction of an Advocate-on-Record. No case can be filed in the Appellate Division without engaging an Advocate-on-Record.
(iv) Senior Advocate: According to Rule 11 of Order IV of the Appellate Division Rules, 1988, the Chief Justice and the judges may, on application or otherwise, select, from time to time, from among those whose names are on the Roll of the Advocates, persons who are judged, by their knowledge, ability and experience, to be worthy of being granted the status of Senior advocate and on signing the Roll of Senior Advocates shall assume the said status. A senior advocate cannot be enrolled as Advocate-on-Record (Rule 16).
(v) Advocate to the Appellate Division: According to Rule 3 of Order IV of the Appellate Division Rules, 1988 a person may be appointed as an Advocate to the Appellate Division who has practiced in the High Court Division as an Advocate for a period of not less than five years. A person who is not enrolled in the Appellate Division may appear with special permission.
Advocate for the State
In Bangladesh there are four types of lawyers or officers who are appearing on behalf of the prosecution i.e. state.
- Attorney General: The Attorney general for Bangladesh is appointed by the President who mainly functions in the Supreme Court though he has the right of audience in all courts of Bangladesh. Article -64 of our constitution provides that the Attorney General (AG) shall perform such duties as may be assigned to him by the President. In the Supreme Court except the Attorney General for Bangladesh there is also Deputy Attorney generals, Assistant Attorney Generals etc to plead on behalf of the State.The Government are also appointing Additional Attorney Generals as required next to the AG.
Article-26. (1) The Attorney General for Bangladesh shall have the right of pre-audience over all other advocates.
(2) The right of pre-audience among other advocates shall be determined by seniority interse.
(ii) Public Prosecutor (PP): In respect of criminal matters in the sub-ordinate Courts especially before the Sessions Courts or Special Tribunals Public Prosecutors are appointed by the Government. The Prosecutors may appear for the State before the Magistrate Courts also. The PP’s are of three types, public prosecutor, additional Public prosecutor and Assistant Public prosecutors. There are special public prosecutors for special Courts/Tribunals.
(iii) Government Pleaders (G P): In civil matters the Government may appoint any qualified lawyers to appear on behalf of the State who will be known as GP.
(iv) Court Sub Inspector(CSI): In the Magistrate Courts or Sub-ordinate criminal Courts the Government may appoint some Police officers to act on behalf of the State who are known as CSI. In Metropolitan areas senior police officers are also working in Sessions Courts.
Lawyers in the past
(i) Classes of lawyers
In the chartered High Courts rules had been framed under which there were, apart from Attorneys, two other classes of lawyers, Advocates and Vakils.
Advocates : Advocates were to be barristers of England or Ireland or members of the faculty of the Advocates of Scotland. The High Courts other than the Calcutta High Court, permitted non-barristers as well to be enrolled as advocates under certain circumstances, e.g. in Bombay, law graduates of the Bombay University, could be enrolled as Advocates.
Vakils: The Vakils were the persons who had taken their law degree from an Indian University and fulfilled certain other conditions. In Madras, a law graduate qualified to be admitted as a vakil if he passed an examination in procedure and underwent practical training with a practicing lawyer for a year.
The High Courts were given power under section 6 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, to make rules as to the qualification, admission and certificates of proper persons to be pleaders and Mukhtars of the subordinate Courts.
Pleaders: Under the rules framed by the High Courts as per the provisions of Legal Practitioners Act, law graduate who did not posses the additional qualification to enable them to be enrolled as the High Court Vakils, and non-law graduates after passing the pleadership examination conducted by the High Court, were enrolled as pleaders to practice before subordinate courts.
Mukhtars: Besides the Pleaders, there were Mukhtars who passed by Mukhtarship examination held by the High Court after passing the matriculation or equivalent examination.
Advocates under the Muslim period
- A) Mufti: Mufti was a lawyer of eminence attached to the court to expound law and was appointed by the Chief justice in the name of the Sultan.
- B) Pandit: A Brahmin lawyer, generally known as Pandit, was appointed to explain personal law of Hindus in civil cases. His status was the same as that of Mufti.
- C) Mohtasib: He was in charge of prosecutions on original side and in appeal he answered for the prosecution.
In criminal cases the Mohtasib-e-Mumalik or the chief Mohtasib, like Attorney General, assisted the Emperor.
The officers attached to the court of Quazi-e-subah were Mufti, Mohtasib (Public prosecutor), Darogah-e-Adalat-e-Subah, Mir Adil, Pandit, Sawaneh Nawis and Waqae Nigar.
Officers attached to the District court were- Darogha-e-Adalat, Mir Adl, Mufti, Pandit or Shastri, Mohtasib and vakil-e-sharayat. Appeal from this court lay to the Qazi-e-Subah.
Officers attached to the Adalat-e-parganahs were-Mufti, Mohtasib-e-Parganah, Darogah-e-Adalat and Vakil-e-Shara.
Though there was no institution of lawyers like the “Bar association”, litigants were represented by the lawyers known as Vakils. During Aurangzeb’s reign, wholetime laywer was appointed in every district who were known as Vakil-e-Sarkar or Vakil-e-Shara.
Section 4 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 empowered an advocate or vakil on the roll of any High Court to practice in all the Courts subordinate to the Court on the roll of which he was entered and in any court in British India other than a High Court onwhose roll he was not entered and with the permission of the Court in any High Court on whose roll he was not entered. There was a proviso, however, to the effect that this power would not extend to the original jurisdiction of the High Court in a Presidency Town.
(ii) Practitioners on the Original and Appellate side
On the original side of the Calcutta High Court only the Advocates, e.g. the Barristers of England and Ireland and the Advocates of Scotland, were entitled to appear and plead, on the instructions of an Attorney. These advocates were also entitled to appear and plead on the appellate side of the High Court and sub-ordinate courts.
The Vakils of the Calcutta High Court were not entitled to act or plead on the original side or in appeals from the original side. The Madras High Court had , however, altered its rules, as early as 1886, and permitted the vakils admitted under the Rules of 1833, and the Attorneys to appear, plead and act for suitors on the original side. The result, therefore, was that in the Madras High Court there remained no distinction between Barristers, Vakils and Attorneys as regards their rights to appear and plead on the original side.
Under the new Rules, the Vakils and Attorneys could also act on the original side while the advocates had to be instructed by an attorney. In the Bombay High Court the Vakils were not originally permitted to act or plead on the original side. This position, however, later changed and a non-barrister, on passing an examination conducted by the High Court, became eligible for enrolment as Advocate entitled to appear and plead on the original side. The only limitation was that the Advocates of the original side, whether Barristers or non-Barristers, had to be instructed by an Attorney before they could appear and plead on the original side.
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