Q+A: Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has announced new rules for foreign lawyers and law firms to practice law in India. The Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022 allows foreign lawyers and law firms to practice law in India on a reciprocity basis. They can establish offices in India and practice transactional and corporate work, such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts, and other related matters on a reciprocal basis.
What are the restrictions provided by the new rules?
Foreign lawyers and law firms cannot appear before any courts, tribunals, or other statutory or regulatory authorities. They can only practice in non-litigious matters. The BCI hopes this move will address concerns over Foreign Direct Investment inflow and make India a hub of international commercial arbitration. To be eligible to practice in India, foreign lawyers must be entitled to practice in their home country and register with the BCI.
What are the implications?
This move by the BCI has been a long time coming, as they had previously opposed the idea of foreign lawyers and law firms practicing law in India. However, this change in stance is expected to have significant implications for the Indian legal landscape. Foreign lawyers and law firms will now have the opportunity to offer their services in India, which will create competition and expose Indian law firms to global best practices.
However, some Indian law firms have expressed concerns about whether foreign law firms would indirectly or in a surrogate manner practice Indian laws. This is where stricter oversight by the BCI would be required to ensure that foreign lawyers and law firms adhere to Indian laws and regulations.
Category: Legal & Constitution Current Affairs