History of Litigation- Changes Over the Time

Scholars have paid close attention to the evolution of the legal profession. The Origins of the English Legal Profession by Paul Brand demonstrates this (1986). The lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times was also written by famous jurist Roscoe Pound (1953).

It is a professional obligation to practice law. Significant academic research supports the regulation of the legal profession.

Since the middle of the 13th century, the admission of attorneys in England has been restricted. Three important regulations were issued in the late 13th century:

a. The legislation of Westminster I, chapter 29 (1275);

b. The London Ordinance of 1280; and c. the Ordinance of 1292, de Attornatis et Apprentices. Further regulations were enacted throughout the medieval period, such as the Statutes (4 Henry IV, \chapter 18 (1402), and the Ordinance (33 Henry VI, chapter 7). (1455). Furthermore, judges have long used their inherent power to regulate lawyer admittance and prevent misbehavior.


Legal profession during Edward I’s period (1272-1307)
Legal profession after Edward I
Professional Conduct and the Law Society
The legal profession in America
Legal Profession in India

Legal profession during Edward I’s period (1272-1307):

The legal profession appears to have begun during Edward I’s reign (1272-1307). It consisted of two sorts of lawyers at the time: serjeants and attorneys. Serjeants were pleaders who spoke on behalf of their clients, while attorneys dealt with procedural issues. Attorneys appeared on behalf of litigants afterward.

Both the leaders and the attorneys aiding the plaintiffs were inexperienced at first. However, these persons began to emerge more often to help plaintiffs over time. As a consequence of their experience, these individuals gained competence and were sought out by litigants, who paid for their services.

Famous legal personalities such as Ranulf Glanvill and Ralph de Hengham appeared in the middle of the 12th century, and notably in the 13th century. In the early 13th century, distinct precursors or ancestors of professional attorneys developed.

The term “responses” was used to describe the appointment of an attorney. “Ad lucrandum vel pudendum” was the name of the writ that allowed an attorney to act in Court in lieu of his principal. Individual attorneys might appear in court on behalf of a client as a special attorney or as a general attorney for a variety of things over time. By the end of the 13th century, however, limits on the employment of serjeants had been lifted, and litigants were frequently represented by professional serjeants.

The legislation now allows litigants to designate and utilize counsel. A charter granted to the residents of London in 1268 acknowledged a similar privilege. As a result, a burgeoning English legal profession was developed by full-time professional attorneys.

The judicial system underwent significant reforms. New Royal Courts were established, as well as professional judges. As a result, the legal environment for the establishment of a professional lawyer was formed. Because serjeants were the aristocracy of medieval law, being appointed a serjeant was a prestigious position. In the event of judicial nominations, serjeants were the sole deciding power. As a result, Chaucer referred to a serjeant as a “man of law.”

The name comes from the French term services, which means “one who serves.” The number of serjeants had grown during the final part of the 13th century. They then became principal pleaders in the Court of Common Pleas, as well as in the other Royal Courts to a lesser extent. The Apprentices of the Common Bench was formed in the 1280s. Apprentices were once those learning to become sergeants. They worked under the command of serjeants or senior apprentices. The apprentices were also representing clients and practicing law by the end of the 13th century. They were, however, effectively acting as attorneys rather than pleaders.

Three enactments were crucial during the time concluding with Edward I’s reign. The first was Chapter 29 of the Statute of Westminster I. (1275). This legislation barred conduct in the King’s Court by “any serjeant-counter or other” that mislead the Court or a party. A serjeant who committed this offense was sentenced to a year and a day in jail and barred from pleading again. Because it has a harmful influence on the justice system, Chapter 29 prohibits misbehavior in court proceedings. Attorneys and pleaders were both subjected to the same penalties under Chapter 29.

Most legal historians agree that the Ordinance of 1292 was a watershed moment in the establishment of the English legal profession. In reality, this was the origin of the long-held assumption that lawyers are court officers. This was related to the fact that judges admitted attorneys directly. Admission was contingent on both integrity and competence. This was because the admissions requirement was similar to the excellent moral criterion used in present admissions regulations. False litigation was also prohibited by statutes such as the Statute of Conspirators, 1292, and the 1305 Ordinance of Conspirators.Top of Form

The significance of serjeants as a professional group began to wane in the early 17th century. Apprentices became the more significant category of pleaders as a result and were the forerunners of today’s barristers. They established the Inns of Court around the middle of the 14th century. Although an attorney represented a client in court on the client’s behalf, he was not permitted to plead. On behalf of his client, an attorney attended. The French verb attorney, which means “to assign or depute for a certain purpose,” demonstrates this. The attorneys’ main job was to represent their clients in court and manage their cases.

It should be noted that both England and Continental Europe had canon and ecclesiastical attorneys (who dealt with Church-related matters). In the English ecclesiastical courts, canon lawyers appeared. Canon attorneys were separated similarly to common law lawyers. The ecclesiastical advocate was the pleader, and the ecclesiastical procurator was the attorney. Professional canons for advocates, according to Pollock and Maitland, aimed to set an example for professional common-law pleaders. The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England provided canon and Roman law-based legal instruction. There was no teaching on English common law included.

Only Blackstone’s famed Vinerian lectures in the 18th century provided education in English common law. Legal education, on the other hand, was considerably older in Continental Europe. The oldest was the courses on Roman and civil law given at the prestigious law school of the University of Bologna. The backbone of legal education was the training of pleaders by apprentices seeking to become serjeants. They were educated to attend court on a regular basis and were judicially encouraged to watch the workings of courts and serjeants. The Inns of Court were founded in this manner.

The Red Book of the Exchequer contains the first recorded version of an attorney’s oath. “You must does not Falsehood nor consent to anything to be done in the office of Pleas of this Courte wherein you have admitted an Attorney,” says the oath. And if you learn of something that needs to be done, you must inform the Lord Chief Baron or another of his Brethren so that it may be corrected; you must not delay anybody for monetary gaine or malice; you must not increase your fee; you must be content with the old fee.


India’s legal system is one of the world’s oldest, with laws and jurisprudence stretching back centuries and growing like a living way of life as the Indian people adjust to changing circumstances. It is a common misconception that the Indian legal system took on a systematic shape and development only during British rule; rather, we have a traditional mindset of following laws and regulations and performing our societal duties, as evidenced by the verses of Manusmriti, which state that Dharma, or Rule of Law, is the supreme power in the state, and the King is also subject to Law in order to achieve Dharma’s goal.

Several civilizations and rulers have ruled India throughout its history, including the ancient Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Age era, the Haryanka and Mauryan dynasties in the north, the Sangam and Chola dynasties in the south, the Islamic Delhi Sultanate empire, the Mughals, and finally the British Empire, whose legal system and machinery we still use in India.

After India gained independence on August 15, 1947, it convened a constituent assembly to draught its constitution, which incorporated the principles of democracy, secularism, fraternity, and, most importantly, the right to equality for all citizens, but we maintained the same legal system and infrastructure, and most of the laws currently in force in India date from the British era. The constitution borrows several elements from other constitutions, such as the parliamentary form of government and rule of law from the United Kingdom (UK) and legal systems, as well as the bulk of its structure from the British parliament’s Government of India Act, 1935.

The future of the Indian legal system and profession appears bright with the arrival of Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence since these technologies will provide more efficient and cost-effective access to justice. As a result, the researcher will examine the legal system and profession in India from a historical, current, and future perspective in this study.


In the 16th century, attorneys were ejected from the major Inns of Court, and in 1739, they created the “Society of Gentleman-Practicers in the Courts of Law and Equity.” The Law Society was established, yet it was not until 1986 that a committee was created to gather and codify professional behavior guidelines. The Guide to Professional Conduct of Attorneys now exists, reflecting the values of modern solicitors. Over centuries of litigation, both divisions of the English legal profession shared the same essential duties: justice, competence, loyalty, secrecy, reasonable fees, and assistance to the poor.

According to Nicholas’ Introduction to Roman Law, Roman jurists were not compensated for their profession and were expected to act out of a strong feeling of public service. Lawyers in Europe were bound by an oath, which was essentially a simplified rule of legal ethics. Lawyers in France were required to swear an oath that contained a promise of care, diligence, and a commitment to exclusively support just causes. The oaths were administered by religious attorneys in France, and the French legal system had a long-lasting impact on Switzerland and other areas of Europe.

The idea of a lawyer as a court official comes from the Roman concept of an advocate, who was formally warned to “avoid trickery and circumlocution” when called upon by the praetor to help in the case of a client.

The American legal profession:

A lawyer is considered an officer of the Court in the United States as well and is admitted to the Bar only after taking an official oath. There were no official academic prerequisites to be a lawyer in America until 1875 because there was no necessary schooling or testing. Judge Hoffman of Baltimore drafted the first regulatory code in 1836. The Code covers the majority of the issues that even current attorneys face. Hoffman’s resolution argues that attorneys should be motivated solely by justice, and it also states that “lawyers must have humility regarding their own legal competence.”

According to the Hoffman Code, attorneys must cite the law objectively and with “honor.” Their argument must be both objective and inventive. Alabama’s Legal Ethics Code of 1887 came after that. The Code said that the only way to have a decent professional bar was to be moral. The American Bar Association established professional ethics canons in 1908, and they were followed until the 1960s.

The public must have faith in the “purity and impartiality of the legal profession,” according to the preamble. The 1969 American Bar Association (“ABA”) Code of Professional Responsibility succeeded it. The American Bar Association revised its model norms of professional behavior in a project called Ethics 2000. a) litigation fairness, b) competence, c) loyalty, d) secrecy, e) reasonable fees, and f) public service are the six traditional basic obligations currently specified by the ABA.

Attorneys’ behavior was governed by oaths, legislation, judicial monitoring, and procedural procedures throughout the Colonies and early States. For early American attorneys, the oath was the most comprehensive single enumeration of ethical norms. Many states have passed legislation governing attorney fees. Later, the Bar Association addressed a larger variety of substantive matters, focusing on admission criteria and processes.

India’s Legal Profession:

The legal profession in India may be traced back to Governor Aungier’s founding of the First British Court in Bombay in 1672. The Governor-in-Council, rather than the Court, has authority over attorney admission. There were no legal practitioners in Madras and Calcutta prior to the founding of the Mayor’s Courts in 1726.

The Mayor’s Courts, which were formed in each of the three presidential towns, were Crown Courts with a right of appeal to the Governor-in-Council first and the Privy Council second. Judges needed expertise in 1791, therefore the function of an attorney to preserve his client’s rights were upheld in each of the Mayor’s Courts. Despite objections from Council members and the Governor, this was accomplished. During the time of the Mayor’s Courts, a second principle was developed. This was the right to fire an attorney who had committed wrongdoing. The first instance of dismissal was by the Madras Mayor’s Court, which discharged attorney Jones.

Bottom of Form In 1774, a Royal Charter established the Supreme Court of Judicature. The Supreme Court was founded in response to unhappiness with the Court of the Mayor’s shortcomings.

In Madras in 1801 and Bombay in 1823, similar Supreme Courts were formed. After the Supreme Court in Calcutta opened in 1774, the first barristers debuted in India. As barristers began to act as advocates in the courts, attorneys stopped arguing and became solicitors. As in England, the two levels of legal practice progressively became distinct and independent. Mr. Benjamin Sullivan became Madras’ first barrister in 1778.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s formation, the legal profession gained reputation, riches, and status. The Chief Justice and three puisne judges were required under the Court’s charters to be English barristers with at least 5 years of experience.

Following the establishment of the High Courts, there were six levels of legal activity in India: a) Advocates, b) Attorneys (Solicitors), c) Vakils of High Courts, d) Pleaders, e) Mukhtars, and f) Revenue Agents. In reality, the Legal Practitioners Act of 1879 merged all six levels of the profession under the authority of the High Courts. Until the Advocates Act of 1961, the Legal Practitioners Act and the Letters Patent of the High Courts served as the primary statutory framework for legal practitioners in the country’s subordinate courts.

The three presidential towns’ High Courts each had a distinct personality. The first side comprised notable civil and criminal cases that had previously been handled by Supreme Courts. On the original site of the High Courts, the solicitor and barrister, i.e. attorney and advocate, were kept separate. On the appellate side, each lawyer worked alone.

Vakils, on the other hand, has been practicing in Madras since 1866. The barristers fought for their ability to undertake unique side work in 1874. This privilege was clearly established in favor of the vakils in 1916. Vakils in Bombay and Calcutta, for example, may be raised to advocate status and be competent to serve on the original side. A vakil of 10 years of service in the Court was allowed to appear for the advocates’ examination by attending the appellate side and original side Courts for one year each.


Though India has one of the oldest legal traditions, its judicial system still lags behind modern democratic legal systems in terms of judge-to-population ratios, modern infrastructure, the persistence of heinous crimes such as sexual assault, and the lack of access to justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

While India gained independence from Britain seventy years ago, the colonial mindset that has been embedded in our thinking and lives has not vanished, and our legal system continues to plague that culture, resulting in a slew of serious issues in recent years, such as delay injustice due to a heavy procedural based system and the non-decriminalization of obsolete laws such as obscenity and homosexuality laws (Section 377 of IPC).

The Advocates Act of 1961 was a step forward in this direction. Admission, practice, ethics, privileges, rules, discipline, and advancement of the profession, as well as law reform, are now largely in the hands of the profession itself, according to the Advocates Act.

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