Where did your legal career begin?
I was born and brought up in Delhi and studied law at Delhi University. I entered law after a brief
stint in legislature working with the Parliament Secretariat. I found there is nothing like being an
independent legal professional where you can give expression to your pursuits in a much more
robust manner than serving an organisation.
What’s it like being a lawyer in India?
In India, lawyers and activism of lawyers through the court system are very important facets of
how the country is governed. Courts have laid law and helped to fill gaps in government and
public issues. Lawyers play a major role in strengthening and implementing what you may term
the “social contract” of law, which often gets lost in competitive politics. Of course you have
to earn your bread and butter, but you can also play a role in strengthening rule of law and the
development of democracy that is more meaningful than aesthetic professional achievements.
Why is LawAsia important to the international legal community?
If you look at how the international legal community is developing, over past years the business
aspect of law has become overpowering. LawAsia, conversely, still maintains rule of law
concerns and freedom of the Bar and judiciary at its core. This is so important in Asia because
the democracy template is still developing – it is not stabilised like in Europe where such things
are taken for granted. We also emphasise that regional organisations might have better access
and better standing with hostile legal regimes in Asia than the West. Such regimes are often
unreceptive to Western or European and American discourse on human rights and democracy.
The 2016 LawAsia conference will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Why there?
During the recent civil war that only officially ended in 2013, Sri Lanka underwent a rough phase
from a rule of law point of view and independence of the judiciary point of view. LawAsia stood
by the Sri Lankan legal profession during this time and there’s now wide acknowledgement of
LawAsia within the Sri Lankan legal community. We wanted to showcase to the world how a local
legal profession can engage with, and be empowered by, international bodies like LawAsia to fight
battles in their own jurisdictions.
PRASHANT KUMAR, 46
Prashant Kumar is the President of LawAsia. He is a life member of the Bar
Association of India and the Supreme Court Bar Association and also heads
boutique law firm KPA Legal in New Delhi. He speaks to