Foreign Lawyers & Foreign Law Firms To Be Allowed in India
Recently , the Bar Council of India (BCI) has drafted rules to allow foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in India. Whereas, Ministry of Law and Justice has also called for meeting on 5th July with 4 ministries and 3 organisation including SILF.
The new draft rules propose the following :
i) The Registration with BCI by paying registration fees of $ 25,000 for individual lawyers and $50,000 for law firms.
ii) The Registrations will be valid for 5 years.
iii) The Registration will be renewed by payment of $ 10,000 for individual lawyers and $20,000 for law firms
iv) It will allow foreign lawyers and law firms to set up their offices in India.
v) They can practice in non-Indian law in India i.e transactional legal work, international arbitrations with seat in India etc.
vi) They can open up law offices in India and hire local advocates.
vii) They can enter into partnership with Indian lawyers and law firms.
viii) They can work as an advocate for any Indian law firm.
ix) The foreign lawyers will have to file a declaration on oath that they shall not “practice Indian law in any form or before any court of Law, Tribunal, Board or any other Authority legally entitled to record evidence on oath”.
x) The registration will require an additional deposit of a security guarantee i.e $15,000 for an individual lawyer and $40,000 for a law firm. This will be returnable on voluntary termination or expiry of registration.
xi) The registration will firstly require a certificate from concerned Ministry of Indian Government and a certificate of practice from foreign bar council and/or equivalent bodies.
One can expect that the final BCI rules will have further changes.To allow foreign lawyers and law firm practice in India ,suitable changes shall be also made in Advocates Act,1961. It should be also noted that the foreign lawyers and foreign law firms shall have to also observe the discipline and comply with the ethical obligations which are mandated by BCI.
Finally, it is one of the effort to encourage ease of doing business in India.
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