Difference between Lawyer and Advocate

Difference between Lawyer and Advocate

Was Mahatma Gandhi a barrister or lawyer or an advocate or he was an attorney? In this article on lawyer and advocate we will discuss differences between these terms. After reading this article you will be able to understand when to use a specific term and when not. 

The attorney solicitors and advocates all fall under lawyers. The lawyer and advocate are generally used as synonyms in law.  In the article we will know about all these types and also know about the difference between advocate and lawyer.

Who is a lawyer?

A person who is pursuing or completed the degree of law or who is a law graduate.

Any person who has completed the degree of law, whether of 3 year LLB course or 5-year law course, that person is known as a lawyer. But can a lawyer represent his client in the court of law by just having a law degree? The answer is no. A person who has only a law degree doesn’t mean that he is fit to represent his client in bi Court for arguments. 

Who is a barrister? 

The word barrister is also similar to a lawyer. If you have completed your law degree e from any institution in India, you become a lawyer but if you have studied the law in England you become a barrister. The barrister is also able to represent his client in court. It means the lawyer and barrister are two different terms only but in reality, they both cannot represent their clients in the court. 

Who is an advocate? 

When a lawyer enrols himself with a bar council then he becomes an advocate. It means that when a person represents himself as an advocate it means he has enrolled himself under the bar council. He has the right to represent his clients in Court. Basically, this is the main difference between a lawyer and advocate. 

Difference between lawyer and advocate

After reading the definition of a lawyer and advocate, you got the bare idea about the difference between lawyer and advocate. The lawyer and advocate difference can be understood from the following points that are showing the difference between lawyer and advocate:

Difference between lawyer and advocate

Sr NoLawyerAdvocate
1 Lawyer is a term that is used for a student who is pursuing the law or has completed his law. An advocate is a person who has qualified for law and enrolled his name in the bar council.
2A lawyer has to enrol his name in the bar council if he wants to represent his client in the court of law. An advocate has already enrolled his name in the bar council and he is ready to represent his clients in a court of law for arguments. 
3Lawyers have less experience in the field because they are fresher in the field of law. Advocates can be considered more experienced than a lawyer.
4Any lawyer can give legal advice to his clients but he cannot represent them in a court of law. Advocates have very vast knowledge and experience in the field of law. They are more able to give legal advice and in case if the client needs to institute the plaint or written statement in the court of law, they can do this as well. 
5The lawyer charges less because they can just provide legal advice to their clients. An advocate charges much higher than a lawyer because of his knowledge and experience in the field of law. He can also fight the case by representing his client and will charge for the same. 
6A lawyer cannot be called an advocate.An advocate can be called a lawyer. 

How can a lawyer become an advocate? 

A lawyer is a person who has completed his law but he has no right to represent his clients in court for arguments. There are criteria that should be completed by a lawyer to become an advocate. 

Suppose you have completed your no degree and now your status is a lawyer. After the completion of your degree, you have to give the exam of the bar council of India which is also known as the BCI exam. The lawyer has to pass this exam to enrol his name in the list of BAR Council. After that, the bar council will provide you with the license to practice in the Court. With this process, a lawyer becomes an advocate and gains the power to represent his clients in the court of law. 

Now there are three terms that are used for an advocate. These terms are:

  • Advocate
  • Senior advocate
  • Advocate on record

Advocate: – advocate is a person who has a law degree and is enrolled with the bar council of India. He is authorized by the bar council to appear in the court and represent his client. 

Senior advocate: – senior advocate is also an advocate who has a law degree and is eligible to represent his clients in the court of law. Senior advocate is a designation that is given to an advocate by the Supreme Court or High Court

There are the eligibility criteria to become a senior advocate which is:

  • He should have completed the age of 45 years.
  • He must be practiced as an advocate for not less than 10 years
  • The person must be appear in many cases
  • The code may also see that how many cases were in his favor

After taking all these criteria this Supreme Court or High Court may designate an advocate as a senior advocate. So basically this senior advocate designation is given on the basis of the knowledge and experience of an advocate. 

Advocate on record (AOR)

Generally, every Court has its own rules and functions to run the procedure in the court. Similarly, the Supreme Court of India has its power to make rules and regulations that only an advocate on record can file the Vakalatnama for litigation, an affidavit, a petition or any other application on the behalf of his client in the Supreme Court of India. 

The Supreme Court of India has made the law that only the advocate on record can file the case in the Supreme Court. However, any other advocate can draft the case and argue the case as well but cannot file the case in the Supreme Court. The reason behind this rule made by the Supreme Court is that the Supreme Court doesn’t want to waste the time of the court. An advocate on record knows the rules and regulations of the SC properly.

Who can be an AOR? 

To become an AOR, the advocate must have passed the Supreme Court AOR exam. 

What is the eligibility for the Supreme Court AOR exam?

If an advocate was to give the Supreme Court AOR exam, 

  • The advocate must have the experience of 5 years in which he should have 4 years in practice plus 1 year practice under any AOR of the Supreme Court. 
  • The AOR under whom the advocate is practicing, must have the experience of more than 10 years in the Supreme Court of India. 

So this is the difference between an advocate, senior advocate and advocate on record. 

Who is an advocate general? 

The advocate general is also known as “Maha Adhivakta“. 

The governor of every state appoints an advocate general for his state. An advocate general

  • Represents the state government in any Court matter. 
  • Advocate general is also known as the first law officer of the state.
  • He plays the role as legal advisor if the state government needs any legal advice in any legal matter. 

Who is an Attorney General?

Attorney General is an advocate who:

  • Represents the central government in the court for any legal matters. 
  • Also known as the first law officer of the country.
  • The President of India appoints the attorney General. 
  • The Attorney General plays the role as legal advisor for the central government if the government needs any advice in the legal matters.

Who is a solicitor General?

A solicitor General is also known as the second law officer of the country. A solicitor General helps the Attorney General to deal with the legal cases related to the central government. 

Who is a public prosecutor? 

A public prosecutor is an advocate who represents the state in a criminal case. 

Who is a government Pleader? 

An advocate who pleads in a civil case while representing the state is called a government pleader. 

FAQ related to lawyer and advocate

Are advocates and lawyers the same? 

No, the advocate and lawyer are two different terms. An advocate is a person who has enrolled his name in the bar council of India and he is eligible to fight the case in a court of law. But the lawyer is only a person who is pursuing the law or has completed the degree of law but hasn’t enrolled his name in the bar council of India yet. 

Is an advocate higher than a lawyer?

Yes, an advocate can do more than a lawyer in the field of law. He has completed the degree of law and enrolled his name in the bar council. He can plead the cases in court on behalf of his clients. 

How does a lawyer become an advocate?

After completing the degree of law a lawyer has to give the bar council exam. After passing the exam he will be eligible for enrollment and the bar council will provide him with the license. After completing this process a lawyer becomes an advocate. 

Who can plead in court?

A person qualified as an advocate is eligible to plead in court. He can deal with the cases of his clients in front of the judge and is also able to make arguments and provide oral and documentary evidence

I hope that after reading this full article, now you know the difference between all the words used for the person who has the degree of law according to the designation and experience in the field of law. So next time if a person introduces himself as an advocate you will know that he is enrolled in the Bar Council of India and also he can represent the clients in the court of law. 


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