Bar Council reps to meet Law Min officials on entry of foreign legal firms


New Delhi, Feb 29: Representatives of the Bar Council of India will meet Law Ministry officials on March 1 to discuss the issue of entry of foreign law firms into India, a matter hanging fire for long.

Months after coming to power, the Narendra Modi government had initiated discussions with the Bar Council of India for opening up the Indian legal sector to foreign law firms.

The UK and the United States have been pushing successive governments in the country to open up the legal sector to foreign firms but a decision in this regard could not be taken.

Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra had held informal talks with Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in this regard a few months ago, highly placed sources in the Law Ministry said.

The government is of the view that the legal sector would be opened up to foreign law firms in a phased manner which would also help the Indian legal fraternity.

       The view within the government is that once the foreign firms set up offices in India, they would begin hiring local legal brains.

The Commerce Ministry is also keen on this step as it would help push the Modi government’s policy of ‘ease of doing business’ in India. Earlier, the Commerce Ministry was handling the issue, but the Prime Minister’s Office shifted it to the Law Ministry.

The government is of the view that offices of foreign legal firms coming up in India will help government departments hire the services of international legal experts in arbitration cases.

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The Advocates Act, which is administered by the BCI, provides for foreign lawyers or law firms to visit India on a reciprocal basis for temporary periods to advise their clients on foreign law and diverse international legal issues.

The rules for the same will have to framed by the Bar Council for which it has sought response from state bar councils, sources said.

The view among a section of senior lawyers and lawyers’ bodies is that in the era of global integration, the doors of legal services in India should not remain shut for foreign lawyers.


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