Seven Lamps of Advocacy

February 16, 2017 by 

Advocacy is an honorable profession. Advocates are part and parcel of the judiciary system. Their endeavors solve the conflicts in the society. Advocates defend the rights and liabilities. They hold important and unique place in the society. Advocacy is not a craft but a calling; a profession wherein devotion to duty constitutes the hallmark.

Legal profession is regarded to be a noble one. A good advocate should possess some essential qualities and equipment. Justice ‘Abbot Parry’ qualifies the following qualities as “Seven Lamps of Advocacy”. They are (i) Honesty (ii) Courage (iii) Industry (iv) Wit (v) Eloquence, (vi) Judgment and (vii) Fellowship.

1)     Honesty

Honesty means the quality of straightforwardness; freedom from deceit, cheating or stealing and not telling lies. Honesty is the most important quality that an advocate should possess. His thoughts words and deeds should have sincere co-relation to each other with genuineness. An Advocate should be dependable reliable to everyone who seeks his advise and services. The nobleness of legal profession lies in honesty itself. An advocate should not do illegal practices. He should not do any act which will lead to professional misconduct. He should disclose the real facts and legal profession to his clients frankly. Honesty, integrity and character are inseparable. These there virtues together are essential for the success of an advocate. The great sages of law had sucked the law from the breasts of knowledge, honesty, gravity and integrity.

2)     Courage

Courage is the quality that enables a person to control fear in the face of danger, pain, misfortune, etc.; It is the duty of an Advocate to fearlessly uphold the interest of his client by all fair means without fear of any unpleasant consequences to himself or any other person. It is the knowledge and the skill of the Advocate  that gives him the necessary courage and confidence to present the case fearlessly and to uphold the interest of the client. Courage is as good a weapon in the forum as in the war camp, According to Charles Hutton’s. ‘He hath in perfection the three chief qualifications of an advocate; Boldness, — Boldness and Boldness’.

3)     Industry

Advocacy is needed a life of industry. An advocate must study his brief in the same way that an actor studies his part.  means hard work. Hard works is absolutely necessary for an Advocate. His knowledge of law should be up to date. He shall never be ignorant of the current law in force. He shall get acquainted with the latest law by systematic study. If one ignores the law, the law will also ignore him. That is why it is said that “law is the jealous mistress”. Lord Eldon Says, “An advocate must live like a hermit and work like a horse”. Advocacy is an intellectual profession. Intelligence and knowledge will be sharpened with hard-work and strenuous efforts.

4)     Wit

Wit means clever and humorous expression of ideas; liveliness of spirit. Wit flows from intelligence; understanding and quickness of mind. Wit lessens the work load of an advocate. So constant clash between them is common. Anxiety for a favourable verdict on the part of the lawyers; and perpetual worry for the pursuit of the truth on the part of the judges generate strain and tension.

It relaxes his mental strain. Often the wit of an advocate will turn a Judge from an unwise course, where Judgment, or rhetoric would certainly fail. The lamp of wit is needed to lighten the darkness of advocacy.

5)     Eloquence

The success of an advocate depends upon his eloquence. Eloquence means fluent speaking and skilful use of language to persuade or to appeal to the feelings of others. Fluent speaking impresses the listener. As advocate must be fluent, skilful in using appropriate words to impress the Court. Eloquence attracts the attention of the listener. Eloquence is related to the art of oratory. ‘Eloquence of manner is real eloquence’ and there is a physical as well as psychological side to advocacy.

Words are his keys of thoughts. Strong vocabulary gives him assurance, build his self confidence and build his personality. Words must be employed with eloquence. The art of persuasive and impressive speaking will give the desired result in his favour.

6)     Judgment

Judgment is an intellectual capacity, ‘the inspiration which enables a man to translate good sense into right action’. It means the ability to come to a sensible conclusion and make wise decisions at the relevant time in the proper way. It is on the basis of these conclusions he should employ the necessary facts and the techniques in the case which he is engaged. This quality is necessary from the beginning of filing the case till its final disposal. An Advocate must always anticipate all the possible moves of the other side and must develop the necessary presence of mind , alertness and tact to cope with any awkward situation of difficulty that may arise in the case.

Judge Abbot Parry has referred to judgment as one of the seven lamps; but he refers to it essentially as an intellectual capacity, ‘the inspiration’ which enables a mean to translate good sense into right action e.g. ‘seeing the right point of his case’ and the like.

7)     Fellowship

Fellowship means the membership in friendly association or companionship. Fellowship is exactly like great public schools, the boys of which have grown older, and have exchanged boyish for manly objects. In legal profession, one Advocate fights with another Advocate for justice before the learned judge. There may be controversies and contradictions in their contention relating to the case, but that shall never affect the fellowship. The Advocates should refer the opposite party’s Advocate as “Learned Friend” and the judge should be referred as  “Learned Judge”. In order to maintain the fellowship, the Bar Council of India  has laid down certain rules to be observed as the duty to colleagues. Among advocates, there is just the same rough familiarly, the general ardour of character, the same kind of public opinion expressed in exactly the same blunt, unmistakable manner. By keeping the lump of fellowship burning, advocates encourage each other by sharing the knowledge to walk in the light of the seven lamps of advocacy.


A new lamp was added by  K.V.Krishnaswamy Aiyer, in his book “Professional Conduct and Advocacy” adds one more lamp i.e. tact. Tact means handling people and situations skilfully and without causing offence. An advocate must be in a position to tackle and win his client, opponent party, opponent advocate in a smoother way. Many people of unequal ability have failed for want of tack. An advocate should not quarrel with Court or loose temper over trifle things in the Court and outside. Men of unquestioned ability have suffered for quarreling with the tribunal or for standing on their dignity over trifles, for getting their clients, or for losing their tempers; they are men of parts but more properly refers to the human side of putting into action the result of one’s judgment.