Practitioners of the Law: Company, Court, and Lawyers in Bengal, 1773-1781

Achintya, TCA, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Halliday, Paul, History - University of Virginia, University of Virginia

The establishment of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal in 1773 set the stage for a significant jurisdictional clash with the East India Company’s administration in the province, the court struggling to exert itself over the Company establishment and Company Courts. I argue that beyond the well told story of that institutional tussle, there is an underlying narrative of tension that needs rescuing. I demonstrate here that the creation of the Supreme Court brought with it a new set of legal actors to India. These actors, forming their own professional network, clashed with the pre-existing network of legal actors. The thesis therefore reframes the story of the Kassijora Case and the materials from the Touchet Report, from the perspective of legal professional networks. A tale of the struggle between the attorney culture aligned with the Company, and that of more newly arrived barristers, owing their allegiance more to the new Supreme Court and its judges.

MA (Master of Arts)
Legal History, India, South Asia, Supreme Court, British India
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