Bar Council Of India Permits Foreign Lawyers, Foreign Law Firms To Practice In India
Foreign lawyers can now take up non-litigious, arbitration work in India, says Bar Council of India
In a significant development, the Bar Council of India has allowed foreign lawyers and law firms to practice law in India on a reciprocity basis.
Foreign lawyers intending to practice in India can now do so by registering themselves with the council. The move is expected to open up opportunities for Indian lawyers intending to diversify their practice.
The Bar Council of India is of the view that opening up of law practice in India to foreign lawyers in the field of practice of foreign law; diverse international legal issues in non litigious matters and in international arbitration cases would go a long way in helping legal profession/domain grow in India to the benefit of lawyers in India tooBCI Notification
Currently, only lawyers who are registered with the Bar Council of India in compliance with the Advocates Act of 1961 can practice law in India. In 2018, the Supreme Court further reaffirmed the position by disallowing foreign lawyers and law firms from practicing in India, both in litigious and non-litigious matters.
The current permission is limited and only applicable to non-litigious matters. Foreign lawyers can engage in work that is transactional or corporate in nature. They are allowed to take up work related to joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, the drafting of contracts, and other related matters.
They will not be permitted to do works related to the conveyancing of property or title investigation works. Further restrictions are also placed on appearance before courts. Foreign lawyers would not be permitted to appear before courts, tribunals, or any other regulatory authorities. They will be regulated by the Bar Council and would be subjected to any disciplinary proceedings provided under the law in the event of professional misconduct.
These rules would also apply to an Indian lawyer who is a partner or associate at a foreign firm and is registered with any Indian state's Bar Council.