Advocate a legal practitioner. He is an agent of his client and an officer of the court at the same time. An advocate has a responsibility to his client as well as to the court.
From 1972 Advocates are being enrolled and regulated under the provisions of the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order of 1972 and Rules made there under.The Bangladesh Bar Council has been constituted under the said Order with the elected representatives of the advocates, and with the Attorney General of Bangladesh as its ex-officio chairman. Bangladesh Bar Council grants licence to duly qualified persons to practise law either before the subordinate courts or before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Enrolment Procedure and types of Advocates in Bangladesh
In terms of enrolment there are some types of Advocates are now existing in Bangladesh and practising law either before the subordinate courts or before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Be an Advocate: Enrollment
Step 1: Practice before the Subordinate Courts(Judges Court) of the High Court Division
Step 2: Practice before the High Court Division
Step 3: Practice before the Appellate Division
Step-4: Advocate for the State (appearing on behalf of the prosecution)
Step 1: Practice before the Subordinate Courts(Judges Court) of the High Court Division-
Advocates to the subordinate Court: Who are entitled to practice in all the Subordinate Courts of Bangladesh only;
Enrolment Procedure- How to become an Advocate in the Judges Court?
1. A citizen of Bangladesh who has obtained a law degree from any recognized University situated in Bangladesh or in abroad or was called to the Bar is entitled to be enrolled as Advocate and he/she has to qualify in the enrollment examination held under the direction and supervision of the Enrollment Committee of the Bangladesh Bar Council.
2. After passing LL.B. a person will be eligible for pupilage. He/ She shall have to undergo pupilage for a period of 6(six) months under a practicing Advocate of at least 10 years standing in the profession. This is called a contract of pupilage. This contract of pupilage shall be executed in non-judicial stamp paper as Affidavit.
3. After completion of pupilage period of 6 months, he/ she will be ready for enrollment examination. The person has to collect Registration Form and Bank pay Slip from Bangladesh Bar Council Office. He/ she has to submit Registration Form along with payment receipt and an affidavit of execution of pupilage contract to the Secretary of the Bangladesh Bar Council within 30 days of execution of contract of pupilage.
4. Registration of the candidates for enrollment as Advocates shall remain valid for 5 (five) years. If the candidate fails to pass the written examination within 5 (five) years of the date of registration his/ her registration shall stand cancelled.
5. There are three stages in the enrolment examination:
i) M.C.Q. ii) Written Examination and iii) Viva Voce
6. Every applicant for admission as an Advocate shall have to qualify in the M.C.Q. examination and pass written and viva voce examinations conducted by the Enrollment Committee of the Bar Council.
M.C.Q. examination shall be of 100 marks of 100 questions. A candidate qualified in the preliminary examination (M.C.Q.) by obtaining 50 marks shall eligible to appear in the written examination. The syllabus and standard of public University / P.S.C. shall be followed and the duration of the examination (M.C.Q.) shall be 1 (one) hour.
The written examination shall be of one paper of 100 marks and the duration of the examination shall be of 4 hours. To qualify in the written examination a candidate shall have to obtain 50 marks to qualify in the written examination. Candidates who failed to pass the written examination shall have to qualify next M.C.Q. examination to appear in the written examination.
After being qualified in the written examination candidates shall have to appear in viva voce examination. Pass marks of viva voce examination is 25 out of 50.
Qualified candidates of the written examination shall have to a pass the viva voce examination in three attempts within a period of three years from the date of his /her written examination result.
7. After passing all examinations you have to get membership of Bar Association of your practicing area (for example- if you want to practice in Comilla then you have to be a member of the Comilla Bar Association).
* To do practice before the High Court Division you again have to attend written and viva voce examination.
Step 2: Practice before the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Advocates to the High Court: Who have right to practice in the High Court and all the subordinate courts of Bangladesh;
Permission Procedure- Who is competent to apply?
1. a) An advocate, who has been completed at least two years practice before subordinate courts of High Court Division of Bangladesh,
b) Advocates who has completed bar-at-law from U.K. or obtained higher second class (50% marks in average) in LL.M. from any recognized university and further worked with a senior advocate of the Supreme Court in his chamber for at least one year.
c) Retired judicial officer who worked at least 10 years in his office. Such judicial officers shall not be required to appear for written test but they shall have to appear in the viva voce examination.
2. He/she has to collect intimation form that is also called “Agreement of Pupilage for Permission to Practice in the High Court Division” from Bangladesh Bar Council. This form must be signed by the Senior Advocate under who the candidate will go for pupilage. Senior Advocate means an Advocate enrolled as such by the Chief Justice of Bangladesh.
3.After completing pupilage period the candidate has to collect registration/examination form and pay proper fees decided by the Bangladesh Bar Council.
4.The candidates have to attend written and viva voce examination.
5. After passing all examinations you will get permission to practice before the High court Division but you have to attend an interview after 1 year of the permission to get membership of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Step 3: Practice before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh
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.
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.
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).
Step-4: Advocate for the State (appearing on behalf of the prosecution):
In Bangladesh there are four types of lawyers or officers who are appearing on behalf of the prosecution i.e. state.
(i) 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 shall perform such duties as may be assigned to him by the President. In the Supreme Court except the Attorney General for Bangladesh there are also Deputy Attorney generals, Assistant Attorney Generals etc to plead on behalf of the State.
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 Public Prosecutors (PP) are of three types, public prosecutor, additional Public prosecutor and Assistant Public prosecutors. There are special public prosecutors working in the Special Courts or Tribunals.
— The Prosecutors may appear for the State before the Magistrate Courts also.
(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 be half of the State who are known as CSI, but they are not advocates.
The writer is an Advocate of District & Sessions Judge Court, Comilla.