Did you know that no legal firms or lawyer can advertise themselves or their services in India? If you observe, there cannot be found any commercial or advertising regarding any legal firms. Is this right in such a competitive world where everything reaches people only through commercialised platforms? Let us find out.
Lawyers and legal firms are not permitted to advertise their professional services in India, as per the rules established by the Bar Council of India or BCI. This rule has its roots in the antiquated Victorian interpretations of British Common law, which did not consider the practice of law as a strictly professional activity and saw lawyers as integral members of the judicial branch.
According to American Bar Association Professional Ethics Ordinance 27, commercialising an advocate’s help is “unprofessional.” Due to the legal profession’s perception as a “noble profession” rather than a service, this limitation has emerged.
What Does the BCI Say?
Part VI, Chapter II, Section IV of the Bar Council Rule, Rule 36, reads that “An advocate shall not solicit work or advertise, either directly or indirectly, whether by circulars, advertisements, touts, personal communications, interviews not warranted by personal relations, furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments or producing his photographs to be published in connection with cases in which he has been engaged or concerned. His sign-board or name-plate should be of a reasonable size. The sign-board or name-plate or stationery should not indicate that he is or has been President or Member of a Bar Council or of any Association or that he has been associated with any person or organisation or with any particular cause or matter or that he specialises in any particular type of worker or that he has been a Judge or an Advocate General.
In order to enlighten consumers about their businesses and help them make better judgments, in 2008, the BCI decided to add a section allowing advocates to keep websites about themselves or their legal firms. This modification to BCI Rule 36 went into effect right away.
It will be deemed a violation of Rule 36 and the advocate will be held accountable for misconduct under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 if the information provided is not in compliance with the information authorised by the Bar Council of India. If the violation happens, or if the lawyers breach the rule, they will be considered to have committed professional misconduct.
As we now understand that legal firms cannot advertise in India, what is your opinion on the rule? Though lawyers can maintain their websites, a full-fledged commercialisation of their services is still not allowed in 2022! But, let us hope for a change in the coming years! For any further information or news on the topic, talk to our legal experts at Vakilsearch.
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