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Senior Advocates Section 16 Advocate Act, 1961

Section 16 provides that there shall be two classes of advocates, namely, senior advocates and other advocates. An advocate may, with his consent, be designated as senior advocate if the Supreme Court or a High Court is of opinion that by virtue of his ability, standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law, he is deserving of such distinction. Senior advocates shall, in the matter of their practice, be subject to such restrictions as the Bar Council of India may, in the interest of legal profession, prescribe. An advocate of the Supreme Court Who was a senior advocate of that Court immediately before the appointed day shall, for this purpose be deemed to be a senior advocate.

Provided that where any such senior advocate makes an application before the 31st December, 1965, to the Bar Council, maintaining the roll in which his name has been entered that he does not desire to continue as a senior advocate, the Bar Council may grant the application and the roll shall be altered accordingly. The rules framed by the Bar Council of India in the exercise of its power under section 49(1)(g) 0f the Advocates Act are also notable. Chapter I of Part VI of the Rules of Bar Council of India makes provisions in relation to the senior advocates. The provisions of these rules may be summed up as follows:

In the matter of their practice, a senior advocate shall not file a vakalatnama or act in any court or Tribunal or before any person or authority mentioned in Section 30 of the Advocates Act. Explanation to the rule makes it clear that ‘to act’ means to file an appearance or any pleading or application in any Court or Tribunal or before any person or other authority mentioned in section 30 of the Act or to do any act other than pleading required or authorised by law to be done by a party in such courts or Tribunal or before any person or other authority mentioned in the said section either in person or by his recognised agent or by an advocate or an attorney on his behalf.

The rule provides further that a senior advocate shall not appear without an advocate on record in the Supreme Court or without an advocate in Part II of the State Roll in any Court or Tribunal or before any person or other authorities mentioned in Section 30 of the Act. Where a senior advocate has been engaged prior to the coming into force of the rules, he shall not continue thereafter, unless an advocate in Part II of the State Roll is engaged along with him, provided that a senior advocate may continue to appear without an advocate in Part II of the State Roll in case which he had been briefed to appear for the prosecution or the defence in a criminal case, if he was so briefed before he is designated as a senior advocate or before coming in the operation of the rules, as the case may be.

Besides, a senior advocate shall not accept instructions to draft pleading or affidavits, advice on evidence or to do any drafting work of an analogous kind in any Court or Tribunal or before any person or other authority mentioned in Section 80 of the Act or undertake conveyancing work of any kind whatsoever.
This restriction shall not extend to settle any such matter as aforesaid in consultation with an advocate in Part .II of the State Roll.

The rule provides further that a senior advocate be free to make concessions or give undertakings in the course of arguments on behalf of his clients on instructions from the junior advocates. A senior advocate may in recognition of the services rendered by an advocate in Part II of the State Roll appearing in any matter pay him a fee which he considers reasonable.
The rule provides that a senior advocate who had acted as an advocate (junior) in a case cannot, after he has been designated as a senior advocate, advice on grounds of appeal in a court of appeal or in the Supreme Court, except with an advocate as aforesaid. It has also been provided that a senior advocate shall not accept directly from a client any brief or instructions to appear in any Court or Tribunal or before any person or other authority in India.

Features of Senior Advocate

Section 16 of the Advocates Act, 1961 states that there shall be two classes of advocates, namely, senior advocates and other advocates. A lawyer, with his consent, may be designated as senior advocate if the Supreme Court or a High Court is of that opinion that by virtue of his ability, standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law, he is deserving of such distinction.


Capability or ability to show your talent to multi-party work environment and this process shows your talent of working well in a team as well as it sets a collective contribution so as to satisfy the client. The main aim is to settle the ego and positions of each other to reach the maximum outcome.

Proper Time Management:

Law demands hard work and hard work needs time and with that it also needs to prioritise their work, task and also delegate the work.


Credibility is based on trust. The keystone of you career is built on this level of trust with your colleagues, clients, judges and sometimes even opposing counsel. But this quality or a trait which is not by birth but it is earned with time. The only effective way to build your career is trust and human interaction is a way to maintain it or destroy it. In this profession, one should be a man of words.


Both personal and professional confidence is needed to become a senior advocate as analysing power of your decision time, advantages and disadvantages should be high. Confidence can be seen within yourself and it defines you as you walk and talk. Even your gestures play a major role.

Attention to detail:

While drafting any paper, misplace of single word can convert the meaning of the sentence. An advocate must have an accurate approach towards their work. Any mistake application can lead to rejection of your application.


Experience speaks. With your practise experience comes. It is one of the traits that a senior advocate has and through this experience an advocate can handle all the cases, circumstances and even all the unwanted situations. His handling power becomes prominent with comparison to others.

Logical Thinking:

A good lawyer always keeps his personal life separate from professional life and they usually are not emotional. But they need to understand the feelings of the other person and apprehend their issues. This trait is very important your personality. Your ability is tested when you can think in any circumstances or situations without even consulting your associates and then present that case in your favour in a reasonable or logical manner so as to win your case. Never take your opposite counsel personally because it’s about your client not about you and always be harmonious even with opposite counsel also.

Self control:

Whether your case is on a negative track or a positive track control on emotions, expression and thoughts is also essential. You always need to think before you speak. If words are beneficial they can be harmful too.


A senior lawyer always have a stability in this thoughts as well as in his career. He can tackle every situation in a peaceful manner and have a conversation calmly without any aggression. Stability and maturity in professional or personal life comes with experience.

Senior Advocates And other Advocates

  1. A senior advocate in general is based and judged on age and experience of a particular legal profession. It is also defined in Advocates Act as stated above. While a junior lawyer lacks experience and does not have much idea of how to tackle things and go around with them.
  2. Senior advocate has to follow a separate code of conduct. It is different from other lawyers.
  3. General people see an aged lawyer with good practice and experience as a ‘senior lawyer’ while a fresh lawyer needs to learn so many things from the senior lawyer and had to grasp some skills.
  4. Devotion and years of practice is the key behind the success of a senior lawyer while a junior lawyer lacks this skill and quality.
  5. Senior advocates are prohibited from doing some kind of legal work like drafting, etc while junior advocates have no such prohibition.
  6. The status of senior lawyer is designated to them by the Supreme Court or High Court on the basis of merit and seniority.
  7. The court can give this status to any advocate but with their consent if it is in the opinion because of his ability or special knowledge in law.
  8. A saving provision has been laid down with respect to the advocates who are right now senior advocates and who will continue to enjoy the status of senior
  9. A senior advocate is prohibited or banned from accepting some kind of legal work. For e.g. drafting, draw pleadings or affidavits,
  10. A senior advocate is not permitted to appear without an Advocate-on-record or without any junior.
  11. A senior cannot file any pleading or represent his client neither can draft an application by his own handwriting.
But this does not mean that it gives special favour or does any discrimination and if it does then it will violate Article 14 that is equality and Article 18 conferment of any title of the constitution.

The role and duty of advocate is to help in providing justice. Advocate work as an instrument of getting justice. Senior advocate is recognition of his skills, experience, knowledge and expertise. If one is aspiring to become a senior advocate, then it needs lots of sweat taking hard work and with that special knowledge in the field of law. But only hard work is not the key to success with that you also need to do some smart work. Among that, building your communication skills, advocacy skills, counselling skills and use of your brain in multiple directions. To become a senior lawyer and a have a special ability is not so easy task. Experience is one of the major factors which creates your confidence and leads you to the success. 

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