(Querist) 26 July 2021
This query is : Resolved
Hello everyone, I would like to ask whether a practicing advocate earning money through streaming or making videos and uploading them on youtube for monetization and google adsense would be violating Bar Council rules as they clearly say that engaging in some kind of trade, business is liable to have the license revoked and hence might also have action taken against him for non declaration? Thank you.
(Expert) 27 July 2021
The issue of earning money through video making and streaming is not specifically mentioned in the conduct rules relating to an advocate. So, we have to find out whether it is right or not from the related rules. The Bar Council of India Rules, Section VII, Rules 47 to 52 deal with the conduct of an advocate in this regard.
Engaging in any paid business or fulltime employment is disallowed by the rules. The rules indicate that he cannot be on fulltime payment for anything else from anywhere, including a legal job. An advocate is not expected to personally participate in the management of the family business even.
In essence, what the rules indicate is that an advocate should not depend on any other source of money for his living though it is terrible and he should not wholly focus on anything which demands his full time engagement, so as to keep him fully engaged in this profession.
On the other hand, he can do many things that should not be inconsistent with the dignity of the profession. An advocate can engage in journalism and broadcasting (may include telecasting) on both legal and non-legal subjects.
Considering the spirit of these rules it seems earning money through video making and streaming, except occasionally, cannot be considered right conduct for an advocate.
(Querist) 27 July 2021
Thank you for the excellent reply Rajasekharan sir. So if the videos speak about legal matters as well as legal advice to layman for example informing about what and where to file a petition or suits and what to do under certain circumstances from a legal standpoint, then they may theoretically be allowed to continue even if not full time, correct?
(Expert) 27 July 2021
Of course, that is a valid legal view.
If the streaming is on legal issues, then it would be quite natural that there would not be any problem at all.
Engaging in propagating legal knowledge, which would make administration of justice easier, is a noble duty of an advocate. Since he is working on law, the time he invests in would make him a better lawyer in course of time. Similarly, the money he gets in lieu of his investment of time and effort on it cannot per se be considered equivalent to a regular salary.
But the final decision maker in this issue is the Bar council of your state. They will take a decision on such issues only when some issues like this reaches them based on the facts of that case.