Legal Services Show a Steady Annual Growth of 8.2%
Free Legal Services Benefit More than 7.82 Lakh Person
Legal services in the country have been growing at a steady annual rate of 8.2% from 2005-06 to 2011-12. The Indian legal profession consists of nearly 1.2 million registered advocates, about 950 Law schools and approximately 4 to 5 lakh law students. Every year approximately 60,000 to 70,000 law graduates join the legal profession. India is ranked 45,with a score of 4.5 in terms of judicial independence by the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13. This is an improvement from 2011-12 when it was ranked 51. As regards efficiency in the legal framework in settling disputes, India has improved its position from 64 rank in 2011-12 to 59 in 2012-13 with a score of 3.8.
India is regarded as one of the best Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) destinations on account of the low cost of legal professionals (which is 50-80% more cost competitive than USA and UK), geographical advantage (Indian Time Zone allows it to offer legal services round the clock), language proficiency, and the legal system which is inspired by those of USA and UK. This is also because the LPO industry in the country can make use of advanced means of communication technology, and legal support in the form of research document reviews, drafting of documents, making applications for patents and various paralegal and administrative services.
Through the free legal services available in country, more than 7.82 lakh persons have benefited during 1st April, 2012 to 31st October, 2012. Of this, more than 23,000 belong to the Scheduled Caste and about 20,000 persons are Scheduled Tribes. More than 37,000 women and 5,900 children have also benefited through these free services. In addition, more than 54,000 Lok Adalats have settled 17.3 lakh cases during the same period. Under the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA), through the Paralegal Volunteers Project 73,555 PLVs have been trained in the country and have started functioning. These volunteers impart legal awareness to various target groups, thus bridging the gap between common people and legal service institutions.