Foreign law Firms in India

Foreign law Firms in India

Foreign law Firms in India

#GS02 #Government interventions and polices #Judicial Bodies

Context:

  • The Bar Council of India (BCI), a statutory body governing legal practice in India, has framed Rules that allow them to open offices there, five years after the Supreme Court permitted foreign law firms and foreign lawyers to visit India temporarily for the purpose of providing legal advice to their clients.

Points to ponder:

  • Foreign law firms are not allowed to practice law in India under current laws and regulations.
  • The Advocates Act, 1961, and the Bar Council of India Rules prohibit foreign lawyers or law firms from practicing law or setting up offices in India.
  • Foreign law firms can advise Indian clients on foreign law or international legal issues from outside India.
  • They can also provide consultancy services or legal advice on non-Indian law matters through temporary visits, collaborations, or other forms of partnerships with Indian law firms.
  • In 2015, the Indian government proposed draft legislation that would allow foreign law firms to operate in India under certain conditions, but it is yet to be passed by the Indian parliament and is still pending.
  • Some foreign law firms have established representative offices or liaison offices in India to provide information about their services, but they are not authorized to practice law in India.
  • A division panel of Justices AK Goel and U.U. Lalit declared in 2018 that foreign law companies and foreign attorneys are not permitted to practice law in the nation, either on the litigation or non-litigation side. The guidelines for foreign lawyers and law companies to register in India were announced by the BCI on March 10, 2022.
  • They have to renew their registration every 5 years with BCI and also they have the right to refuse to register.