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Jithendra.H.J (Lawyer)     22 August 2010

“Decision on allowing foreign law firms won't be taken witho

“Decision on allowing foreign law firms won't be taken without consulting Bar Council”


The question whether or not to allow foreign law firms inside the country is engaging the attention of the Union Government. It has been the government's policy not to take any decision without consulting the Bar Council of India (BCI), the Centre has submitted before the Madras High Court.In his counter affidavit to a writ petition, the Assistant Legal Adviser in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Y.K.Singh, submitted that lack of a regulatory framework in the country to monitor and supervise the entities operating as law firms in India had given rise to serious apprehensions among the legal fraternity. If foreign law firms entered the country in such a scenario, they would be functioning in an environment where there would be no regulatory framework to control or supervise their activities and conduct. Their area of practice would not be confined only to foreign law, as they contended, but also Indian law. To address this issue, there was a need for a framework to regulate law firms as such.In his writ petition, A.K. Balaji, an advocate of Harur, had sought a direction to the Centre and BCI to take appropriate action against nearly 30 foreign law firms which were illegally practising in the country. He also prayed for a direction to prohibit foreign law firms or foreign lawyers from having any legal practice in the country.

Regulatory framework

The official submitted that many accountancy and management firms were employing law graduates who were rendering legal services which were contrary to the Advocates Act. Hence the need for an appropriate regulatory framework to regulate law firms had to be addressed first.There was no empirical data available with the government or the BCI about international law firms which under the guise of Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) were practising law in the country, as alleged. The government, in consultation with the BCI, proposed to commission a study to know the nature of extent of LPO activities undertaken by law firms. Thereafter an appropriate decision would be taken.


Mr. Singh said the petitioner's contention that foreign law firms should not be allowed to take part in negotiations and arbitrations would be counter-productive.Many arbitrations with Indian judges and lawyers as arbitrators were held outside India where both foreign and Indian law firms advised their clients. If foreign law firms were denied entry to deal with arbitrations in India, then the country would lose many of the arbitrations to Singapore, Paris and London.This was contrary to the government's declared policy and against national interest, especially when the government wanted India to be a hub of international arbitration.


 2 Replies

Basavaraj (Asst, Manager-Legal)     24 August 2010

wonderful massgae

Abhinav (Associate)     31 December 2010

Foreign firms would not be able to compete, at least intially, unless they tie-up with Indian law firms.


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