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The Bar Council of India and the Bar Councils of England and Wales and the Law Society of England and Wales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 5, to collaborate on an exchange programme for attorneys and law students for the benefit of mutual training and education among the three nations.

The meeting was attended by all BCI Members, including its Secretary Srimanto Sen. The MoU, according to BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, aims to encourage a positive exchange of ideas, knowledge, and instruction among the legal professions in both countries. The action will go a "long way" towards facilitating the interchange of legal knowledge, expertise, training, and ideas between the legal communities of the two nations, and the Indian lawyers will gain from the process, he added. Manan stated that "certain crucial changes" were required to its recently proposed Rules allowing the entry of international legal firms on a reciprocal basis.

The required amendments to the Regulations will be made very soon, he told the audience, and only then will the registration of foreign solicitors and law firms begin. BCI Vice-Chairman S Prabhakaran stated that the Council had heard from Indian law firms and a portion of the Indian Bar, and that it would be helpful to hear from foreign organizations on this matter. The registration of Foreign Lawyers & Law Firms would begin only after the Regulations have undergone the required revisions, he continued.

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enables the Bar Council of India (BCI) to suggest young solicitors to the Law Society and the Bar Council of England & Wales for training and education opportunities at foreign law firms, legal offices and English courts. These suggested advocates will not be permitted to practice law in the UK; rather, their only goal is to obtain expertise in both jurisdictions. The BCI will also choose law students for internships with the UK Bar organizations. The MoU also permits the extension of training facilities to English and Welsh solicitors and barristers. However, these aspiring solicitors and barristers will only be allowed to participate in training and education; they will not be allowed to practice in any capacity in India.

The issue of foreign/UK lawyers practicing in India and vice versa, notably in fields like international commercial arbitration, is not addressed by the MoU. The MoU does not apply to this situation. According to the statement, the Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022, would continue to regulate the regulation of Indian lawyers practicing in the UK and vice versa.

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