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June 08, 2003 

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Lawyers learn English

In all fairness I should confess I am not much proficient in English, though I am a lawyer that too of the Supreme Court. I wish I were. But I like and envy every lawyer who can well deliver his case in English before the court and can draft well in English. I do not still believe lawyering in higher court in particular is truly possible regardless of some proficiency in English language precisely. Because, the genesis of our legal practice is rooted in English and still there is no Bengali translation of the huge body of law enough to render English redundant. So there is no and in fact no body will dispute this aspect of things. I am in full agreement with Mr. Shamsul Haque when he touts the cause of English in the legal arena. Thank Mr. Haque for his honest ideas expressed in lucid words. As I know he is not a lawyer. I, as a practising lawyer, want to say something from my own experience. I have come across a number of lawyers having good academic background lamenting for their knowledge as redundant and of no use. Things have deteriorated so much because number of people who can understand and has the mind to appreciate a good thing have reduced to a minimum. In other words they are sadly outnumbered by the people emerging through troubled waters basically not committed to this profession and the institution nor having the proper background of a lawyer.
Junior lawyers of high social background having foreign degrees /certificates are privileged. They are the welcome folk favoured by fortune. But what about the bulk of young lawyers having good academic learning unfortunately coming from humble socio-economic background having none to be referred to as a matter of identity? Who is there to appetite them, their knowledge of English, their integrity and potentials as lawyers? I have seen their sufferings and still their sufferings and humiliation go unabated. Every man wants appreciation at least. One can not conceive of building his career at the Bar without a bit of accommodation, appreciation and sympathy from the seniors. Let us take a pause and ponder for a moment is there any body anywhere found to be really concerned about building up a stronger Bar for that matter a stronger Bench for the future. Does it at all bother us that it is our foremost responsibility that we should nurse, nourish and raise a set of young lawyers of commitment and integrity so as to meet the challenges? Nature does not permit any vacuum for too long. Things will settle some day. But we will be failing in our duty if we remain unconcerned about what we are going to hand down for our posterity. Let not the history say that we have failed.

M. Shamsul Haque,
Advocate, Supreme Court.


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