Supreme Court refuses to allow entry of foreign law firms

Supreme Court refuses to allow entry of foreign law firms

Supreme Court refuses to allow entry of foreign law firms

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel opined, "Fly in and fly out would cover a casual visit and not amount to practice".

The Court has also permitted foreign lawyers to participate in global commercial arbitrations, subject to institutional rules.

The court, however, allowed foreign lawyers to come to India on an advisory capacity, especially regarding worldwide law and global arbitration. It also ruled that BPO companies working on legal services can operate in India as they don't have to operate under the ambit of the Advocates Act.

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 Court has also asked BCI and the Central Government to frame necessary rules in this regard. Such visibility is against the BCI rules.

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Ajay Shaw, partner, DSK Legal, said: "This judgment will not have any bearing on Indian law firms at this stage". Counsels for the BCI, arguing against allowing foreign lawyers from practicing in India, pointed to similar limitation being placed in other countries.

Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had told the court that the Centre supports the entry of foreign firms in the Indian legal sector. Foreign law firms have primarily worked on best-friend relationships with Indian law firms and may continue to do so now that specific directives have been issued.

Global firms Ashurst, Chadbourne & Parke and White & Case have.

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