When approaching an advocate for attorney consultation, it is important to ensure that they are a qualified professional who has the necessary skills and certifications to handle your case.
For the purpose of advocate verification, each lawyer is issued an advocate code by the Bar Council of India as proof that they are qualified to practise as an advocate. This form of advocate verification is known as “advocate sanad” or “advocate code.” The Bar Council uses this to check whether a potential advocate is competent enough to carry out their duty as an advocate.
Process for advocate verification
Every advocate will have an advocate code, to aid advocate verification. Detailed lists of active and qualified advocates are maintained and updated regularly. The State Bar Councils are given the task of updating advocate codes regularly.
The website for each State Bar Council will be able to provide a list of every advocate registered in its jurisdiction, along with their advocate codes. Because of this, the State Bar Council websites are invaluable in advocate verification. To locate a specific advocate code for an advocate in a Court other than the Supreme Court, follow the process below:
- Determine which Court the advocate would be registered with: If your advocate practices in District Courts and High Courts, advocate verification can be performed through the State’s Bar Council website. As an example, if the advocate practices in the Kerala High Court, their advocate code would be available at the Bar Council of Kerala for advocate verification.
- Navigate to the directory of advocates: This option would usually be labelled as “Member Directory” or “Advocate Directory”.
- Search for your advocate’s name: The list of advocates can be arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or presented through a search bar. In any case, looking through the list for their name or using the search option will help complete the advocate verification quickly.
- Read the given information: The website will now present detailed information regarding the attorney, which contains the advocate’s name, address and advocate code. Note this down for future reference.
- While looking into an advocate during the advocate verification process, it is important to remember that “Bar Council Members” and “Advocate/Member Directory” are two distinct options. The former is merely a list of names, whereas the latter is the option through which advocate verification can be performed.
If you wish to perform advocate verification for an advocate practising in the Supreme Court, the process would be as follows:
- Visit the Supreme Court’s Advocate Directory. This is where a comprehensive record of Supreme Court advocates is stored for advocate verification.
- Select the option that says “Alphabetically”. This arranges the records in alphabetical order.
- Select the letter that your advocate’s name starts with. This will show a list of every advocate whose name starts with that letter.
- Find your advocate on this list.
- The information provided here includes their name, mobile number, email ID, address and advocate code. If the advocate is present here, the advocate verification is complete.
What if my advocate is not on this list?
- If the advocate you are searching for is not on either of these lists, chances are that they are misrepresenting themselves as an advocate. Every advocate must have an advocate code, and if they are not on these lists, they do not have an advocate code.
- Unless the advocate has only attained their position very recently, failing to show up on these lists would mean that they have failed the advocate verification process.
- Due to the number of people operating in the judicial sphere, it would be relatively easy for a person to masquerade as an advocate and deliver sub-optimal legal services.
- This is why the Bar Council of India devised a system of recording each and every advocate competent enough to provide their services to people. This ensures that each citizen has the advocate verification process available to them at their fingertips.
- These records are very useful as they ensure uniformity of qualifications, aid citizens in the advocate verification process, and let judicial officers confirm the authenticity of an advocate at a moment’s notice.
- These records are updated regularly to ensure that the information being provided is correct and to minimise confusion regarding the legitimacy of advocates.
Procedure for getting an advocate code
- Please note that advocate verification only assures you of the advocate’s qualifications, not their competence. To find the advocate that is suitable for you, focus on the quality of their advice, not their academic qualifications.
- For an advocate to receive an advocate code, they have to be enrolled with their respective State Bar Council. The eligibility criteria for this are as follows:
- The applicant has to be a citizen of India.
- The applicant should be 21 years or older.
- The applicant must have a degree in law from a university recognised by the Bar Council of India.
- If the applicant has received their degree from a foreign university, their degree must be recognised under the rules set by the Bar Council.
- Each State Bar Council is empowered to add additional rules for their advocate verification process. However, the aforementioned rules are common to all State Bar Councils.
- After submitting an application, the candidate must appear in an examination called the All India Bar Council Exam, held by the Bar Council of India, to qualify as an advocate.
- This exam is held in 40 cities across India, in 11 languages. It is held semi-annually.
- Enrollment fees must also be paid to the State Bar Council, as well as the Bar Council of India.
- Other documents that are to be submitted include an application for enrollment, the relevant degree along with its marksheet, judicial stamp papers and other relevant fees, along with proof of payment.
To ensure that you are getting the best attorney consultation possible, it is necessary to verify that the person representing you is an authentic advocate, and advocate codes are one of the tools through which this can be accomplished. Such measures help us retain our faith in our representatives during legal processes. Advocate verification through the Bar Council’s records assures you that the advocate representing you has all the necessary qualifications that have been prescribed for advocates.