1. Dress Code Change: No doubt Indian lawyers wear power dress and we as citizens respect the dignity of it, yet mostly the black and white combination is assigned to hotel waiters & railway staff also. These reasons limitise the unique privilege to lawyer’s dress. Seldom lawyers ignore to go in functions straight from court, as they feel uncomfortable in the dress which may have same colour code of serving staff. Grey with white shirt’ on the other hand is recommended by many lawyers.
2. Sitting Chambers For Lawyers: New lawyers to senior lawyers, all have their own residence cum office to meet clients in the evening, but the moment you get to see them in court chamber it will make you surprise that you are in a box chamber made with old wooden or iron. You can see a typing wala nearby the chair, nobody could guess that they are the same lawyers with big cars. In most of the Indian states chambers are re-designed with aluminium glazing etc, but there is no uniform name plate /hoarding size policy workable and again these look like a colourful small parlours.
3. Document Centres Instead Type Walas: In every Indian court for daily filings , urgent petitions typing and computer work you can see people with tables everywhere. Some may have chambers, yet many lawyers mushroom around them & clients usually wait their turn for drafting or prints. There is no electricity connection rules for them, which may cause fire in loose wiring. There must be single but big certified ‘Document Centre’ in each such court with licensing policy and guidelines to use common typing, printing & Photostat facilities.
4. Car Parking Area Needs: Except High Courts, there is no concrete planning for the future needs of car parking facilities for the clients or lawyers in lower courts. The already built-up parkings have no proper exit plans as in shopping malls. The parkings become so haphazard in the morning and evening in front of courts that, no common person can commute during that time.
5. Court Managers to Streamline the Gap: Few tasks which the sitting judges perform have nothing to do as part of their job. Such as adjournments of specific nature, summoning and notices to serve and cause list management, or even refining the case papers needed to arrive at the judgment. These roles as a need of hour can be played by recruiting “Court Managers’. These managers must be conversant and trained to use legal softwares and analyse the data with the legal knowledge. The modern five year law students can easily be selected by specific tests for the posts.
6. Judges to Pronounce ‘Sir’ Only: Changing the very old time acts , ethics and customs is another area which needs to improve in Indian judiciary. The old British rulers made their proverbs ‘Your highness’, ‘your honour’ etc and the tradition is still followed, which solve no purpose but create a fear in the new comers to face the judges. In democracy where ‘opportunity of being heard’ is a right, there is no need of these acronyms. ‘Sir’ may be more than sufficient to precise the matter and save the time of the courts.
7.From Oral Arguments to Written Arguments : The final arguments , no doubt on the judgment day matters a lots. The style and pitch of arguments with strong voice increases the chance to win the case. But today the time has come where the client should not be fooled that how long time his lawyer argued with many reference books. The final arguments be limitised in written form and ‘Court Managers’ may be assigned the duty to ascertain the main law points in advance and deliver it to the judges for final judgement on monthly targets basis.
8. Eliminate Sticker Mania and Sur Names: Stickers are also a special privilege to lawyers to identify during travel and to give some special rights at various occasions. But the pompous old legal families with political links misuse the stickers of ‘Advocate’ or ‘Member High Court’ The bar association may have a vigil to issue it to practicing advocates only. Another such practice is using ‘Sur Names’ instead main name. It is irony of legal profession that castism is still followed in selecting a lawyer for filing case. In Advocate Act as well as in ‘Judicial Service Rules’ there must be a clause for not using Sur name by advocates or judges to avoid castism based practices.
9.Fee Slips May be Made Compulsory : In health or education sector fixed invoices are issued by the service providers. However in legal sector big lawyer charge big amount, others charge nominal, yet there is no such practice to issue fee slips to client and to evaluate the professional efforts of lawyer. There is subtle need to issue invoice as per particular format to every client during or after work by his lawyer. This clause may be mentioned as mandatory in ‘Advocate Fee Rules’ statewise. However only law firms follow it as corporate entities.
10. Website Without Disclaimer May Be Allowed: ‘Disclaimer ‘on a lawyer’s website is mandatory because advertising or offers are banned under Advocate Act. But the website of a lawyer does not always mean ‘advertising’. However a lawyer should be allowed to mention on his website his services, timings, contact or his landmark cases without disclaimer keeping in view this internet age. Even the courts have their websites with full information which does not mean that it is advertising of judiciary.
11. Formation of ‘Decree-Execution’ committees: In most of the pronounced decrees or judgements, further litigation is started for not following the decree or for contempt of court. The District wise committees should be formed who in co-ordination with court managers help to enforce the orders. The said committees may be formed from retired judges, senior advocates and para –legal volunteers. It will eliminate the extra burdens on courts to execute the decree again by separate litigation.
12. Improvements in Summon Delivery System: Summon delivery should be allowed via e-mail, fax or mobile call. Appearance of summoned person should be in ‘Court Manager’ office prior to the appearance before judge. Similarly Instead of next date or opportunity, court managers be given powers to bring such person on same day to save the time of the courts.
13. Electronic Record Management: In many Indian town Courts or Distt Courts, record rooms have become filthy paper junk rooms even smelly and un-traceable of records. With the advent of electronic age all these papers or judgements may be converted in electronic software data. Mostly in all High Courts and District Courts of India this practice is already started to save the records electronically which further need fast completion.
(By : Advocate F.S Dhiman , Chief Counsel at Ferry Dhiman & Co. ( corporate law firm , India www.lawferry.com ) contact mail firstname.lastname@example.org)