BCI Directs State Bar Councils To Take Action Against Lawyers Advertising Online

Lawyers Advertising Online

The Bar Council of India on Monday has ordered all State Bar Councils to take strict disciplinary actions against advocates who advertise or seek work through online portals, which violates BCI rules.

This directive follows a July 3, 2024, judgment by the Madras High Court, emphasizing that the legal profession is a noble service, not a profit-driven business.

The BCI has instructed online platforms to remove all listings, profiles, and advertisements related to legal practices by advocates within four weeks from the notice date. They must cease operations that enable the advertisement or solicitation of legal practice by advocates and submit a detailed compliance report to the BCI by August 10, 2024. Non-compliance will result in legal proceedings and penalties.

All portals, online platforms, and advocates violating Rule-36 of the Bar Council of India Rules are issued a public notice for immediate compliance. Any advertisements contravening this Rule must be withdrawn immediately.

The BCI reviewed practices of online platforms offering lawyer services and found them in violation of BCI Rules. The court ruled that online platforms cannot claim protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act for activities illegal under the Advocates Act and BCI Rules.

The Madras High Court directed the BCI to issue guidelines to State Bar Councils to initiate disciplinary proceedings against advocates who advertise or solicit work, either directly or indirectly. This includes advertisements, touts, personal communication, unwarranted interviews, newspaper comments, or publishing photographs related to their cases.

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About the Author: Meera Verma