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Difference between the titles used for various legal authorities

Introduction

Generally, the terms lawyer and Advocate are used as synonyms as people are unaware of the difference between them both. Similarly, other titles such as a solicitor, barrister, senior advocate, advocate general, advocate on record, attorney general, solicitor general, public prosecutor, and government pleader are also different titles attained by legal authorities as per their achievement in the field of law. A citizen must know the difference between the different titles used for different legal authorities.

 This article discusses the key differences between the titles given to every authority in the legal field.
Titles used for various legal authorities

Lawyer

  • A lawyer is a person who has studied law and is a law graduate from India.
  • Any and every individual who has either completed a 3year LLB course and holds a degree or a 5year LLB course and holds a degree from India can be recognised as a lawyer.
  • However, a lawyer can neither represent his clients in Courts nor argue on the behalf of his clients in Courts.

Barrister

  • A barrister is similar to a lawyer except that a barrister is a person who has studied law and is a law graduate from England.
  • Any and every individual who has completed their LLB course and holds a degree from England can be recognised as a barrister.
  • Similar to a lawyer, a barrister can neither represent his clients in Courts nor argue on the behalf of his clients in Courts.

Advocate

  • “All advocates are lawyers but all lawyers are not advocates”
  • When a lawyer gets enrollment at the Bar Council Of India (BCI) he attains the designation or title of an advocate.
  • The process to become an advocate is that firstly, an individual must attain a degree of LLB, secondly, he must clear the examination of BCI and get an enrollment from BCI. After the enrollment process is completed, the individual receives the license to practice in Court and is promoted from the designation of a lawyer to that of an advocate.
  • Advocates have the authority to appear, practice, and represent their clients in Courts.

Senior Advocate

  • This designation or title is designated by the Supreme Court or High Court to those advocates who qualify certain parameters and have extraordinary knowledge or experience.
  • Eligibility criteria: → above the age of 45 years
  •  practiced as an advocate for not less than 20 years
  •  argued various cases and won the suit.
  • Senior Advocates have different gowns that have flaps on the shoulders.
  • This designation is given based on special knowledge and years of experience.

Advocate on Record (AOR)

  • Every Court has its own rules, functions, and procedures. Similarly, Supreme Court has its own rules.
  • In Supreme Court, only an AOR can file a Vakalatnamam, a petition, an affidavit, or any other application on behalf of a party. Otherwise, if it allows any advocate to file a petition, etc then its time will be wasted.
  • The criteria are that any individual can draft a suit, and any individual can argue but only an AOR can file it.
  • To become an AOR an advocate must clear the SC AOR examination.

Eligibility to write the SC AOR examination:

→ Minimum experience of 5 years.
→ The division is further divided into two parts that are 4 years of practice in any Court and 1 year of training under an AOR.
→ The AOR under whom the training is taken must have experience of practicing in Courts for at least 10 years.

Advocate General

  • An Advocate General of each State is appointed by the Governor of that particular State.
  • An Advocate General represents the State Governments in Courts of Law.
  • All suits of the State Government are represented by the Advocate General of that particular State.
  • An Advocate General is also given the designation of “1st Law Officer of the State” as he represents the State in a suit.
  • An Advocate General also acts as the legal advisor of the State.

Attorney General

  • An Attorney General is appointed by the President.
  • An Attorney General represents the Central Governments in Courts of Law.
  • All suits of the Central Government are represented by the Attorney General of the entire country.
  • An Attorney General is also given the designation of “1st Law Officer of the Country” as he represents the Central Government in a suit.
  • An Attorney General also acts as the legal advisor to the Central Government.

Solicitor General

  • A Solicitor General is also given the designation of “2nd Law Officer of the Country” as he assists the Attorney General in all the work.

Public Prosecutor and Government Pleader

  • In our country, if any crime is committed against an individual then it is implied that such crime is committed against the State. Thus, the case of the victim will be argued by the State as it is implied that the crime has been committed against the State. It will be recognised as a crime against society.
  • The case of the victim is represented by the State and the Advocate arguing such criminal case is known as a Public Prosecutor.

For example, Mukesh and Anrs vs. NCT Delhi (2017). Here the offender is Mukesh and the victim is represented by the State and the defendant’s name is NCT Delhi. So the Advocate representing the victim was recognised as the Public Prosecutor.
Whereas, when an Advocate represents the case of a State in a civil suit then he is recognised as a Government Pleader.

Conclusion

Hence, various titles and designations are assigned to a legal authority such as lawyer, advocate, senior advocate, advocate on record, advocate general, attorney general, solicitor general, public prosecutor, and government pleader. Every individual in the legal field must be aware of the duties that come in hand along with such designations. Not only the legal authorities but also the citizens of our country must have basic knowledge of the titles assigned to each legal authority and their duties.

References

https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/difference-between-advocate-and-lawyer-1539264726-1#:~:text=The%20word%20Advocate%20is%20usually,South%20Africa%20as%20a%20barrister
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-lawyer-and-a-barrister/articleshow/2393901.cms
https://legalvision.com.au/difference-lawyer-solicitor-barrister/
https://lawpath.com.au/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-a-lawyer-and-a-barrister
https://lawbriefcase.com/difference-between-lawyer-advocate-attorney-and-solicitor/
https://www.thelawyerportal.com/free-guides/difference-between-solicitor-and-barrister/

Author: Sneha Mahawar, Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies.

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