Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Saturday said the role of lawyers has evolved to address myriad global legal challenges in an era characterised by ever-increasing globalisation.
He said rapid technological advancement has created “complex legal issues”, with lawyers leading the way in navigating this landscape. While the judiciary definitely bears the responsibility of administering justice and upholding the rule of law, lawyers play an equally vital role, he stressed.
“In an era characterised by ever-increasing globalisation, the role of lawyers has evolved to address myriad global legal challenges,” the CJI said while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) ‘International Lawyers Conference 2023’ here.
He said lawyers ensure that clients and governments adapt to technological changes while upholding legal rights and regulations, covering areas like cybersecurity, data privacy and intellectual property.
“Lawyers also bear significant commercial responsibility, driving economic growth by helping clients and governments enhance business efficiency and cross-border operations. Through their role in facilitating international trade, investments, and collaborations, they contribute to nations’ economic well-being and global cooperation,” Justice Chandrachud said.
He said just as the Indian industry has radically altered its footprints from 1980 or earlier by reaching out around the world now, “I believe it’s time for our lawyers to reach around the world in a global landscape”.
The CJI said the government is in the process of building infrastructure and there is a global outreach by it to the rest of the world. “I believe that our legal profession must not be left behind. We cannot look upon ourselves as merely domestic practitioners. Our reach, our vision, our outlook must now become global.”
Justice Chandrachud said there is often a difference in perspective between him and his colleagues on the bench. “But that is why we are a national court.”
“However, when the day comes to a close, we come together and share a moment of camaraderie,” he said, adding it plays a pivotal role in fostering mutual respect for each other’s perspective and acknowledging that there is always something to learn from each other.
“Only when we recognise this shared intention to deliver justice, can we sit on the same table to find solutions.”
The CJI further said, “While none of us have a magic wand to wish away all the challenges to justice delivery, I am certain that the sessions lined up over the next two days (in the conference) will inspire each of us to collaborate as nations, institutions and individuals to find innovative solutions”.
Justice Chandrachud was the chief guest of the ceremony which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice of the United Kingdom Alex Chalk KC, Attorney General for India R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra and others, including several judges of the apex court, were also present during the event.
In a press conference held on September 20, the BCI chairman had said that several issues, including the rules framed by the council regarding entry and regulation of foreign lawyers and offshore law firms, will be discussed during the two-day conference.
As per details shared by the BCI, 10 technical sessions on several topics, including ‘Artificial Intelligence: Transforming the Legal Landscape’, ‘Intellectual Property Rights in a Borderless World’, and the ‘Changing Landscape of Criminal Law’, will be held during the conference and several judges of the apex court and others would participate in them.
In March this year, the BCI had taken a significant decision to permit foreign lawyers and law firms to practise in areas such as foreign law, international legal issues and arbitration matters, saying that the legal fraternity here may be left behind if it sleeps over the matter.
The decision to notify the Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022 had evoked mixed reactions from bar council leaders and eminent lawyers.