SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Tomar, Mahipal S. (1985) Lawyers and their clients in a North Indian district. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (11MB) | Preview


This study is concerned with lawyers and their clients in the north Indian district of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Its aim is to examine the informal aspects of the formal legal system, the hypothesis being that an informal dimension is especially important where the formal institutional structure is weak. The thesis is divided into seven chapters. The first is concerned with the aims of the thesis, with the general social features of the district, with methodology and with a description of the fieldwork methods. All lawyers who were regular practitioners in the district courts (kachahri) of Muzaffarnagar city, have been included in the study sample. The second chapter deals with the definition of a profession, in particular that of 'legal profession' and with the various approaches to the study of a profession. Then the thesis looks at the history of the Muzaffarnagar district Bar, the social background of its lawyers and with the question why people join this profession. Chapter Four is concerned with the bases and patterns of the linkages between lawyers and clients, and in particular with the roles of the para-professional men such as touts and brokers as middlemen and the qualities such as primordial ties; with how lawyers become leading lawyers; with the question of the degree to which the lawyers in Muzaffarnagar conform to the criteria of the 'professional man'; and with the issue of the public image of the legal profession. In Chapter Five I analyse factional politics in the district Bar, in order to examine the bases of grouping among lawyers and with the question of 'unprofessionality' in their associational behaviour. Chapter Six is concerned with the relationship of the traditional panchayat system to the modern legal system in the context of ideas held about the provision of justice. In the final chapter the conclusion is drawn that primordial ties are of great importance to the operation of the legal system, that social background influences professional behaviour, that lawyers are profit-oriented rather than service-oriented, and that the difference betwen 'occupation' and 'profession' is a matter of degree.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item