Gobalised world offers new legal challenges: PM

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 10:10 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said that as the Indian economy expanded and and grew more integrated with the global economy, legal eagles require an understanding of the complexities of a global economy.

"The emergence of a multilateral legal and judicial architecture, having a bearing on the domestic laws of the country and vice versa, necessitates an in-depth understanding of the principles of public and private international laws," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the Bar Council of India.

Manmohan Singh urged lawyers to equip themselves with expertise needed to deal with the case of conflict resolution in intellectual property rights and international commercial agreements.

"Cases relating to our obligations and commitments made in international agreements and conventions, such as the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements, have now started reaching courts of law and Arbitral Tribunals. I would urge all members of the Bar to equip themselves with the expertise necessary to handle these new types of cases," the prime minister said.

The prime minister called on lawyers to be active participants and facilitators in the implementation of social welfare schemes, including those offering free legal aid to under-trial prisoners, and support the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Pointing at changes in the legal landscape, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, in his presidential address, urged the Bar Council of India to "sensitise" lawyers and review the curriculum of legal education from time to time.

Urging lawyers to be strong on "etiquette, manners and ethics", Chief Justice Kabir said that "courtesy, politeness and good behaviour" makes a world of difference in professional conduct.

Justice Kabir said the justice delivery system should be available to the people just like health care is available at the primary health centers. This, he said, would help in resolving the disputes while they are still at a nascent stage.

Pointing to the declining standards in the legal profession, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati said that the legal fraternity should work to "eliminate distinction between acceptability and respectability" of the profession.

Stressing the need for inter-disciplinary education, Vahanvati said that lawyers must keep pace with the fast-changing world. He said that no legal education would be complete without a moral component.

Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said that the United Progress Alliance government was committed to doing everything "feasible and possible" for the welfare of the lawyers.

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