Supreme Court backs law firms’ right to advertise

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Supreme Court backs law firms’ right to advertise
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The Supreme Court has asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) to allow lawyers wider scope in advertising their services. The court asked in July that lawyers be allowed to disclose details of their experience and areas of specialization on their websites.

Earlier this year, the BCI passed a resolution that relaxed its rules prohibiting all forms of advertising by lawyers.

The court took up the resolution while hearing a petition filed in 2000 by advocate VB Joshi opposing the bar council’s rules on advertising. The resolution requests that the BCI “not stand in the way of advocates furnishing website information” subject to the information provided being limited to the lawyer’s name, address, telephone number, email, details of his enrolment to the state bar council, relevant bar association, professional and academic qualifications and areas of practice.

The court asked the bar council to allow lawyers to advertise details of their experience and specialization as it would be “misleading” for a client to know about a lawyer’s areas of practice without details of his or her experience and areas of specialization.

Acting on behalf of the BCI, senior counsel MN Krishnamani agreed to consider the request.

Lalit Bhasin, appearing for the Society of Indian Law Firms, went one step further, suggesting to the court that “the resolution be extended to advertising in brochures and online legal directories”.

The Society of Indian Law Firms, an association of many of the country’s leading firms, had approached the court last year to be made a party to Joshi’s petition.

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