How To Be A Good Advocate & Fulfill Expectations Of Courts & Clients: Tax Judge Justice Akil Kureshi Explains

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Akil Kureshi, the presiding judge of the Tax Bench in the Bombay High Court, has delivered a lecture on the subject of “What does a judge expect from Junior Advocates” in which he has offered several valuable insights.

The lecture is an inspiration to all young lawyers who desire to excel in the profession.

Young lawyers and chartered accountants, who are in the tax litigation practice and practitioners who represent before the High Court and Appellate Tribunal must watch the videos and listen carefully, which will definitely help them improve their tax litigation practice.

The learned Judge has given a number of practical tips how to became an outstanding lawyer. 

The Hon’ble judge has discussed about the foundation necessary for young lawyers which are drafting of petitions, representations, dos and Don’ts, Court crafts and ethics, etc.

The points made by the learned judge can be summarized as follows:

1. Introduction

The Learned judge in his introduction stated that quality of the judgements depend on the quality of Bar, therefore through the young lawyers, Honourable judge desired that they can contribute to the nation building. According to the learned Judge, legal profession is one profession, which very heavily depends on three things;

Constitution of India, Traditions and Conventions.

To understand the Constitution of India one must read the parliament debate before introduction and important case laws. Honourable Judge referred the two land mark judgements of Supreme Court which dealt with fundamental rights and basic structure of the Constitution.

In Golaknath v. State of Punjab 1967 AIR 1643/ 1967 SCR (2) 762 , the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament could not curtail any of the Fundamental Rights in the Constitution.

In Keshavanand Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225, which is a land mark judgement of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution of India.

– The first five to seven years of the careerwould decide your future with respect to the kind of practice which you have to develop.

– Honourable Judge stated that a Judge has three stages in life where, the first stage comprising of the first five years – the judges think they are always wrong, second stage comprising of the next five years – they think they are right, and finally the third stage with the next five years – whether they are right or wrong they decide the matter. However, the Lawyers cannot afford to do this. 

– Profession has undergone tremendous changes. Now most of lawyers join the five years course with the intention to practice, which was not the casein earlier days. This is very positive  change in the legal profession.

2. Foundation for young lawyers

– Start speaking early, 

– Keep continuously correcting yourself ,

– Real foundation can come through Vocabulary,

– When senior is not there, take responsibility and face the court,

– Do not be afraid of making mistakes,

– Do not run away from responsibility,

– Observe keep ,work hard,

– When you mention the matter you should read the matter ,

– Judges do not have sufficient time,

– Start with smaller matter, 

3. Responsibility to court

– When ever the matter is called out, you have to be present 

– Don’t rely on leave notes, sick notes etc 

– Well prepared on facts at every stage of matters, it may be for mentioning, early hearing etc 

– Give correct facts, in long run it goes long way to build judges confidence ;

4. Responsibility to clients.

– Give correct advice to clients,

– Put hundred percent effortsin the matter,

– Short cuts do not help,

– If you think the matter is weak, don’t advice the client not to file the appeal. Instead, firstconsult the seniors in the profession.

5. Responsibility to other side

– If you are taking the date or mentioning the matter, inform the other side in advance. 

– Don’t quarrel with the opposing Counsel, don’t raise your voice on other side due to anger or frustration.

6. Advocacy

– When a client comes to you, find the solution in law 

– Research in law is required and important

– Well prepared in-law.

– To be well versed with law, pick one Supreme Court journal, read important case laws and note down the ratio of the judgments which may be relevant to your practice. Similarly read at least one local journal of the State in which you are practicing. This will help you to understand the development in law

– To understand the development of law read the text Constitutional Law of India by H.M.Seervai, Introduction to Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu

– Embrace the technology , which may help you to get quick citation ,

– To understand the development of law, reading of text books and journals will be great help. first read the text book and then refer the CD etc.

– Knowledge of history, science, agriculture, economics etc which will help you to understand complex laws. To become an outstanding lawyer, you should know beyond law. This will help you to prepare complex matter, which may come once in a life time. 

7. Good drafting 

– What is the grievance of the petitioner should come in the first paragraph

– Facts 

– Read and refer the Impugned Order

– Give the page numbers of the impugned order when referring to it

– For Prayer, give Annexure number reference 

– Be ready with the citation 

– Give in advance, the list of index 

– Avoid being superfluous while writing

8. Appearance before court

– Respectful to the Judge since he is representing a Chair under an authority

– Respect to the Judge within respectful boundaries 

9. Art of advocacy and presentation 

– Facts – note down your proportions with page no

– Never display over confidence 

– Be clear about facts 

– Legal contentions which you are going to argue 

– Be prepared on all points 

– Be precise,not hurried,you cannot be leisurely 

– Your duty is your matter 

– Different kinds of judges 

– Try to judge how much the judge has read 

– Try to read the judge’s mind 

– Every matter revolves around its facts 

– Facts which are against the assessee – opening the argument first 

– These are my point and these are the points against the assessee 

– Learn to accept the Judgements though against you with grace 

10. Profession of law

Law is the only profession which relies heavily on ability and integrity.

You are the protector of fundamental rights and democracy. Without a good and vibrant lawyers, democracy will be buried. Profession oflawyer is greater than that of the doctors.Doctors deal with human being,lawyers are dealing with the entire society. 

Mr Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer who served as the 16th President of United States of America. 

Father of the Nation, Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a lawyer

Mr Sardar Vallabhai Patel who served as first Deputy Prime Minister of India was a lawyer.

All of whom became great leaders.

11. Lady lawyers  

– Special word for young lady lawyers. Women lawyers expected to play a duel role, very high expectation.

12. Contribution to Nation building

– Your contribution is in the process of nation building. You have to contribute in the process of nation building. If you want to be a good lawyer, when others stop, you continue.

Honourable judge also stated that, If a junior advocate argues before his court,if he is not with the junior, he will adjourn and ask the junior to let his senior argue the matter. 

At the end of session the Honourable Judge answered all the questions asked by the young lawyers. 

3 comments on “How To Be A Good Advocate & Fulfill Expectations Of Courts & Clients: Tax Judge Justice Akil Kureshi Explains
  1. MANOJ KAPOOR says:

    very nice and informative .

  2. vswami says:

    Indisputably, ‘Ádvocacy’ is a Fine Art, in its own merits, having its origin in the age-old literature called ‘ARTHA SASTRA” ; and well deserves to be included in the commonly known FINE ARTS.

    In quite an impressive speech @

    the two points rightly emphasised, and sought to be incisely driven home, are these : –

    1. The subtle but certain distinction between ‘lawyering’ and ‘ADVOCACY’.

    2. Why it is of utmost importance to, besides others, to mindfully draft upfront, and follow sequentially, an Index of ‘Dates and Events’.

    And, never ever to miss >


    All the more so >



    Grooming of mind and systematic preparation on day to day as well as in respect of each brief received is of foremost importance for young practitioners. Hon’ble Justice Kureshi has shared very valuable input through this article and kudos to him for this effort.

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