Why is it in the news?
- The Supreme Court recently admonished an Advocate-on Record (AoR) for filing a frivolous case.
- It has emphasized that an AoR shouldn’t just be a “signing authority,” and urged for a reform plan for the AoR system in collaboration with the Bar.
Advocate-on Record (AoR)
- Only an AoR can file cases in the Supreme Court.
- They act as the link between the litigant and the Supreme Court.
- Other lawyers, including senior counsels, can be engaged by an AoR to argue cases.
- An AoR is deemed as a pool of elite Delhi-based lawyers primarily practicing before the SC.
- Advocates must pass an examination conducted by the SC.
Pre-requisites for taking the AoR exam include:
- Training under a court-approved AoR for one year.
- A minimum of four years of legal practice.
- Exam subjects: Practice and Procedure, Drafting, Professional Ethics, and Leading Cases.
- Passing requirement: 60% aggregate with at least 50% in each paper.
- Successful candidates must maintain an office within a 16-km radius of the SC and employ a registered clerk.
- As per Section 30 of the Advocates Act, advocates registered with the Bar Council are entitled to practice in any court.
- The SC’s power to regulate its own procedure and practice is enshrined in Article 145 of the Constitution, which includes the AoR system.
- The AoR practice draws from the British division of barristers (argue in court) and solicitors (interact with clients).
- In India, senior advocates, similar to barristers, do not directly engage with clients and are briefed by an AoR or other lawyers.
- Historical precedence from the SC’s inauguration underlines the long-standing practice and regulation of AoRs.