“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people” – Mr Justice Frankfurter, United States Supreme Court 1950. Quite sadly, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, our beloved country of the pure, currently defiles by the cancer of rampant injustice and a harrowing violation of fundamental rights – by private individuals and states authoritie alike. Vast majority of the victims of this plague, come to the court from the poorest rural echelon. These litigants are not just poor helpless victims, but they are also illiterate and oblivion of their legal rights and protection, adding up to their misery. Many of these litigants or prospective litigants have intrinsically crippling vulnerabilities, like, for example, a victim of rape or sexual abuse, is not somebody who is only subjected to a crime but being victim of rape is one thing and social repercussion to the victim of this particular crime is another imperilment which the unfortunate victim has to endure, possibly for the rest of his or her life. The first door they knock to seek the salvation and redressal of the wrong that they have been subjected to is the door of – an advocate. Being an advocate is the noblest of the profession: as you fight for the justice and rights of others, no renumeration or award can possibly recompense the effort an advocate makes for cause of justice. When somebody comes to the court, already in dejection and decrepitude, oblivious of where to go and what to do, and in that state of affair, he meets a man wearing a black suit (a lawyer’s attire), in him, he sees – a saviour; a messiah. Of him, he thinks, that he could and would take him or her out of this imperilment. Sometimes one’s whole future and dreams rely on an outcome of a case, for which he is present there. Sometimes an unfavourable judgement would mean captivity for the rest of the life in excruciating condition of prison or sometimes it would mean losing lifelong savings, forever. “It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people” – Mr Justice Frankfurter, United States Supreme Court 1950 In that crucial moment of his life, the vulnerable, blindly rely on their advocate. That’s why competency of an advocate is a nub for the effective judicial system anywhere in the world wherever it’s adversarial and accusatorial in nature. Unfortunately, and of course alarmingly, the university legal education is utterly devoid of any training to deal with the clients who are on the verge of losing everything and going through the traumatic phase whilst dealing with their own personal predicaments and demanding more than an advocate can possibly offer. While imparting legal education and advocacy training, they simply forget the most import part of the legal system – humans. As it’s said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ After university education, another phase in which prospective advocates can be amply trained in is the phase of six months apprenticeship, which are mandatory to get an advocate license, but, because of perpetual lack of training most of the chambers would not effectively impart this part of the education, especially, chambers in the district bar and tehsils bar where there are the most high number of vulnerable clients and on the other hand every chamber, mostly run by single senior lawyer has 2 to 3 juniors on average, some have even more. It is acknowledged that no advocate has ultimate control over the conduct and duration of litigation and every case bears an inherent litigation risk, but it is also equally acknowledged, that advocates are first point of contact for public to our system of justice. There are no training programmes, or seminars, or conferences for the established advocates who are in direct contact with vulnerable litigants or witness, either whilst representing them or cross-examining them. Their attitude is very important to maintain the confidence and probity of the profession in the eye of public. As in England and Wales, there are special training programmes both for newly qualified lawyers and established lawyers named as New Practitioner Programme and Established Practitioner Programme which are compulsory to attend if one wants to continue to appear before courts. Furthermore, Bar Council, Inns and Solicitor Regulatory Authority regularly conduct other training programme which are more specifically focused in terms of what area of practice they are targeting. It is imperative that a similar training programme should be started in Pakistan, and it should be made compulsory for lawyers to attend and participate in their activities, so that overall standard of the bar in Pakistan improves. Throughout my legal career, probably even before that when I started my law school, I have consistently heard a phrase: ‘jis ko kahin admission ni milta wo law kerlaita he’ (anyone who doesn’t get admission in any course, he or she studies law) or ‘jo kuch aur ni ban sakta wo wakeel ban jata he’ (anyone who is unable to join any profession, he becomes a lawyer). I always feel mortified when I heard about one of the noblest professions and its education. Although it is a sigh of relief that Chief Justice of Pakistan has passed judgement in relation to legal education, that would certainly be helpful. But real responsibility is on the shoulders of bar representative bodies. Any reforms and training programmes which would be started from within the bar is likely to be embraced widely and easy to continue rather any attempt to reform or training programme from outside. I would conclude that we should never forget when we give a license of legal practice in somebody’s hand, we are actually giving the life, property, respect, rights of the most vulnerable in our society in his or her hand. And when an advocate is not competent enough to plead but still does it, every client become vulnerable. Isn’t it? Published in Daily Times, January 25th 2019.