Every industry, be it big or small, be it of hundred years or a new born Start-up, be it a simple cosmetic brand to the most popular Airline has a story to tell about its establishment and background. Nothing is developed out of the blue. It starts with just a vague idea that matures into a concrete one then comes the very first step, which further goes through several stages before reaching its final form. And no doubt this journey is full of ups and downs throughout.
When the word “The Legal Industry” comes to our minds, we do not know what to think of. It is so vast that it covers everything from Legal Start-ups to top tier law firms. Also, when we think of the Legal Start-up, various words pop up in our mind like “Pre-placement Offers”, “Top tier law firms”, “Legal Journalism” and what not. Now think about it, something which is currently so huge, can it emerge out of the blue? Of course not. Like every industry, the Legal Industry has a story to tell and of course it is an interesting one as this industry has been there since man becomes civilized. It started right when men were food-gatherers. Even then there were some rules in the Society, for example, one tribe cannot invade the hunting area of another, these rules used to be implemented to avoid chaos in the society and if any of the members broke any rules he was accordingly Punished. Does Justice necessarily have to be delivered in a court by a learned judge? In today’s era, maybe yes, but this is not how the journey of the Legal Industry started. It started with justice delivered under the sky. But the aim of justice still has not changed much, earlier it used to protect the basic needs of a man like food, shelter and clothing and till today it protects the same under the name of “Fundamental Rights”. It started from a very primitive as “basic rules”, which slowly germinated into “codified laws” of the modern era.
Now, this was just a glimpse of how the legal Industry evolved. If you want to know in detail as to how the Legal Industry gradually developed into its current form, what changes it went through over the years, then this article is going to be a perfect read for you. This Article discusses in length all of the above topics.
The Evolution of the Legal Industry in India can be divided into four major stages:
1.Legal Profession in Ancient India.
2.Legal Profession in Medieval India.
3.Legal Profession during British Rule in India.
4.Legal Profession after Independence.
Legal Profession in Ancient India
In Ancient India, people were divided into small tribes and the head of each such group delivers justice. However, a commendable point was that there was scope for “open arguments”. During this era there were no lawyers as such that is anyone can raise their concerns or raise their opinions either for or against the case at hand.
However, after Kingship was established, the King began to deliver justice, though he was assisted by his court councillors. The primary concern of the King was to protect the “Dharma”. In the first stage, the plaintiff used to first appear before the King in the King’s court and tell the King his grievance. Next, the defendants were given a chance to present his opinion. Next, the King was advised by his courtiers and religious head and accordingly in the final step he used to deliver his judgement.
Opinions of religious heads that is Brahmins and priests acquired an important position. In fact, at one of time it so happened that their words were blindly followed by the King and they were formed into law. Examples of Legal system in Ancient India can be found in epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. It should also be taken into account that women had very little or almost no contribution in the Legal system of this age.
Here, it must be pointed out that Customs were considered an important and primary source of Law. Now, comes the question what does it take to become a valid custom. So, it has to be followed since time immemorial. It has to be continuously followed and of course it should not be an evil practice, like we can see how the society banned the evil practice of Sati and thus it was not germinated into a rule or Law. Therefore, any practice which is against humanity is not a valid custom. Now comes the question, how did custom become a Law. Since time immemorial, some uncodified rules used to govern our society, then they were recognized by the society and given the form of “codified Laws”. This stage may seem of less importance, but it is very much significant as the seed of the Legal Industry was planted in this stage itself.
Legal Profession in Medieval India
Now, comes the Muslim Period. It was similar to the Ancient period. There were no proper Institutions of Law but in this period came the concept of “Vakils”.
Legal Profession during British Rule in India
The British period was probably the most important stage in the development of Law. Most of the major developments took place in this era. The Charters played the most important roles in this era.
Charter of 1726
Charter of 1726 just made a subordinate administrative expert in every one of the three-administration town of India. Changes in the Judicial framework were introduced. The Charter Established Civil and Criminal Courts in the Presidency Towns. It established a Mayor's Court.
Charter of 1774
On March 26, 1774, a Charter of Justice was allowed for the foundation of the Supreme Court at Calcutta King George III. The Supreme Court was set up on 22nd. October, 1774. It is the first endeavour in making a different and autonomous legal framework in India.
Indian High Court Act, 1861 was another important Act of this era. It established High Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.
Legal Profession after Independence
This era is no less significant than the British Period. This era saw important developments in the Legal Profession. The most important development of this era was probably the Advocate Act, 1961.
Advocate Act, 1961
So as to execute the suggestions of All India Bar Committee, the Advocates Act, 1961 appeared. The Act reaches out to the entire of India. The Act targets correcting and merging the laws identifying with legitimate experts and to accommodate the foundation of State Bar Councils and an All India Bar Council.
The Legal Industry has gone through numerous changes over the years and it is obvious that it will go through many more changes to keep up to the changing trend of society. Therefore, all we have to remember is to do our duty of being an effective safeguard against certain evils. Our duty is to be an effective watchdog and to see to it that the parties which comes to power in future do not change the Legal industry to safeguard their selfish motives.