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  • Solanki Barua

Allowing Foreign Lawyers In India

Updated: Nov 19, 2023


The regulations provide international law firms operating in India in a very restricted capacity with legal certainty.


Introduction

With the recent publication of Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022, by the Bar Council of India (BCI), foreign solicitors and law firms are now permitted to practice in India. However, they were not able to appear before tribunals, courts, or other statutory or regulatory bodies, nevertheless.


What is the BCI Decision?

BCI has been against permitting foreign legal firms in India for over ten years.

The BCI now claims that its action will allay worries over the flow of foreign direct investment into the nation and turn India into a Centre for international commercial arbitration.

The regulations provide international law firms operating in India in a very restricted capacity with legal certainty. The BCI declared that it "resolves to implement these Rules to enable foreign lawyers and foreign law firms to practice diverse international law and international arbitration matters in India on the principle of reciprocity in a well-defined, regulated and controlled manner."


What are the New Rules?

If they can practice law in their native countries, the announcement permits international solicitors and legal firms to register with BCI to practice in India. They are unable to practice Indian law, nonetheless.

Advocates must only be registered with the Bar Council to practice law in India, according to the Advocates Act of 1961. They shall be permitted to practice transactional work/corporate work (Non-Litigious Practice) such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, contract drafting, and other related matters on a reciprocal basis. All others, such as a litigant, can appear only with the permission of the court, authority, or person before whom the proceedings are pending. Indian attorneys working with foreign law firms would likewise be subject to the same limitation of participating exclusively in "Non-Litigious Practice," they shall not be involved or permitted to perform any work relevant to the conveyance of property, title inquiry, or other similar services.


Co-Authored with: Prof. Jharna Jagtiani

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