Supreme Court refuses to allow entry of foreign law firms

Lester Mason
March 13, 2018

The court, however, allowed foreign lawyers to come to India on an advisory capacity, especially regarding worldwide law and global arbitration.

The court also said that BPO companies engaged in rendering legal services did not come within the ambit of the Advocate Act and thus they can operate in India.

The Bombay High Court, in its 2009 judgement, had held that while foreign law firms could not practice in India, foreign individuals may do so after getting registered in India.

The Supreme Court also directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to frame the rules to govern the role that lawyers from other countries can be involved in legal matters in India, reported news agency ANI. Such visibility is against the BCI rules. However, the Court has allowed foreign lawyers to advise clients in India on a casual, temporary "fly in fly out" basis.

Ajay Shaw, partner, DSK Legal, said: "This judgment will not have any bearing on Indian law firms at this stage". This, of course, would be determined by the government on the basis of the principles of reciprocity accorded to Indian lawyers in the relevant jurisdiction.

However, it has permitted foreign la firms to participate in arbitration proceedings. Last year's amendment was made by the commerce ministry, while whether to allow a foreign law firm in India is a purview of ministry of law and justice, said industry experts at the time.

Two recent Delhi High Court judgments may go a long way in bolstering India's.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article