[blindLaw] arguing matters in court: a roadblock and a possible way forward

Rahul Bajaj rahul.bajaj1038 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 03:23:48 UTC 2022


Good morning from New Delhi. I work as a practicing attorney at an IP and
civil litigation firm in Delhi. In litigation, making regular appearances
before judges is vital for gaining the confidence of the bar, the bench and
the litigant public. I have clerked for a Supreme Court judge before and
did some specialized litigation in my law firm job as a fresh law graduate.
but this is my first actual experience of doing a hardcore litigation job -
something I have always wanted to try. I am 4 months in. One challenge I
have been facing is not having a mechanism to appear in court on my own and
argue matters before judges. Part of the reason for this not happening is
because it takes time to build experience and trust.  but it also has to do
with accessibility. Sharing below the key features of an exchange with a
senior colleague at the firm I had recently apropos this. keen to hear any
constructive suggestions on the way forward.

I said to him:
"Going forward, I am wondering what we can do to enable me to go solo to a
court and do the needful in a given
matter. For instance, this coming Monday, I think I would have been more
useful to the firm if I were going to a court where no one else is able to
due to the volume of matters, as opposed to going to the high court
[details of case redacted] where multiple people are anyway going, simply
to observe proceedings. Of course, in a given day, if there is no such
matter where there is scope
to contribute more than merely observing the proceedings, then it makes
sense to go just to observe matters. I guess what I am saying is that I
would not
like my choice of matters to be dictated by the accessibility of a court
complex but instead by where the firm might need me most and where I can
most. Equally, I understand that it would be easier for me to go for a
matter where I can tag along with a colleague or court clerks, as opposed to
being on my own. And, of course, accessibility barriers cannot be simply
wished away...  That said, going forward, we should develop a system where
I can take up assignments where the firm can rely on me to be its face for a
matter. And where this choice is not guided by accessibility, but factors
that are otherwise applicable, namely experience and trust. I am not sure
we can do this. I think the best way would be to hire an employee, part of
whose express mandate would be to assist me, inter alia, in court and with
challenges. I am sure we can work out the logistics and commercials in a
mutually convenient fashion. What do you think?

We had a good conversation about this. they shared that the reason why they
were hesitant to send me alone for a matter to a court was because there
wouldn't be a court staff or colleague to provide help. And that we needed
to figure out a way to deal with this. and that I shouldn't think that this
was a reflection on my abilities as a lawyer, but that it was a learning
process for them also.

I suggested hiring a fresh law graduate as my assistant, with the salary
being shared 50-50 between me and the firm. that person can help me
with barriers of this nature, most notably court appearances. I will await
further correspondence.

I understand that some litigation practices referenced above may be
unfamiliar to you. but the broad contours of the issue should be fairly


Rahul Bajaj
Attorney, Ira Law
Senior Associate Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
Rhodes Scholar (India and Linacre 2018), University of Oxford
Co-Founder, Mission Accessibility
Special Correspondent on the rights of persons with disabilities, Oxford
Human Rights Hub
Coordinator of the working group on accessibility, e-Committee, Supreme
Court of India

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