What is Vakalatnama?

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Two advocates recently moved the Supreme Court challenging a Gujarat High Court order to initiate a probe against them on suspicion that a vakalatnama was forged by them.

About Vakalatnama

  • It is a legal document in India that authorizes an advocateto represent a party in court proceedings.
  • The term "Vakalatnama" is derived from two words: "Vakalat," which means authority or power of attorney, and "Nama," which means a document.
  • When a person engages the services of a lawyer to represent them in a legal matter, they sign a Vakalatnama, which formally appoints the lawyer to act on their behalf.
  • This document outlines the scope of the lawyer's authority, thespecific case or matter for which representation is sought, and other relevant details.
  • It is also known as a memo of appearance, Vakilat Patra, VP.
  • There is no mention of any particular definition of Vakalatnama in the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, or the Power of Attorney Act, 1882.
  • The meaning of Vakalatnama is defined in the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2001, under which “Vakalatnama” includes a memorandum of appearance or any other document by which an advocate is empowered to appear or plead before any court, tribunal, or other authority.
  • The holder of the vakalatnama is called a pleader, an advocate, counsel, vakil, or an attorney who is authorized to accept the vakalatnama on behalf of his client or party of the litigation.
  • Who can authorize a Vakalatnama?
    • An aggrieved person can authorize a Vakalatnama.
    • Anybody holding the Power of Attorney for the aggrieved person.
    • Anybody representingthe aggrieved person in business or trade in that jurisdiction.
    • A Vakalatnama can also be authorized by a joint party in a case in order to appoint either a set of advocates or the same advocate.
  • A good Vakalatnama should contain the following:
    • The date the Vakalatnama would be executed
    • The name of the case/cases in which the advocate is being appointed
    • The name of the court/courts in which the advocate is being appointed
    • The name of the person authorizing the Advocate/advocates
    • If the Vakalatnama is not executed by the issuer in person, then a written document should support the appointment of the advocate
    • The advocate's address so appointed
    • Types of power granted to the advocate
    • Signatures of the parties
    • Advocate's signature accepting the Vakalatnama
  • A vakalatnama can be revoked or withdrawn by the client at any time. However, it's important to follow the proper legal procedures for revocation, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction.
  • No Vakalatnamais needed for performing other legal work such as giving opinions, sending notices, drafting petitions, or other documents.

Q1: What is the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2001?

The Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 2001 is an Act to provide for the constitution of a Welfare Fund for the benefit of advocates and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. It came into being on 14 September, 2001 and extends to the whole of India except in those states which already have a state Welfare Fund Act functioning.

Source: Two lawyers move Supreme Court against probe for allegedly forging vakalatnama