A significant change in the legal profession
In a major decision, The Bar Council of India (BCI) has agreed to open up a law practice in India to foreign lawyers and firms. The statutory body of lawyers has released rules for the registration of foreign lawyers and foreign law firms in India. With these latest rules, foreign lawyers & foreign law firms can practice diverse international law and international arbitration in India. Foreign lawyers or foreign law firms shall not be entitled to practice in India unless registered with the Bar Council of India.
“A foreign lawyer registered under rules shall be entitled to practice law in India in non-litigious matters only…” the Bar Council of India rules stated. This means that foreign lawyers or law firms will be entitled to engage and procure the legal expertise/ advice of one or more Indian advocates registered as foreign lawyers.
“The foreign lawyers or foreign law firms shall not be permitted to appear before any courts, tribunals, or other statutory or regulatory authorities. They shall be allowed to practice on transactional work/ corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts, and other related matters on a reciprocal basis,” the notification stated.
The rules also stated that the areas of law practice by a foreign lawyer or foreign law firm shall be laid down by the BCI and “if need be, the Bar Council of India may consult the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice in this regard”.
Significantly, under the rules, BCI may also refuse to register any foreign lawyer or law firm if “in the opinion of the Council, the number of foreign lawyers or foreign law firms of any particular foreign country registered in India is likely to become disproportionate to the number of Indian lawyers or Indian law firms registered or allowed to practice law in the corresponding foreign country”.
The apex body added that the move will not impact law practice in India if done in a restricted and well-controlled and regulated manner.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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An outsider managed to break the well-knit BCI cabal, which was impermeable to outsiders until now. Does this mean several hands get greased big time?
Good. Kapil Sibal will be the teacher who would be doing induction