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Foreign Law Firms Can Now Set Up Offices in India- BCI

    16 March , 2023         Fdiindia

Foreign Law Firms Can Now Set Up Offices in India- BCI

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has permitted foreign lawyers to practice foreign law, international arbitration matters, and international legal issues regarding non-litigious matters in India on the principle of reciprocity. 

The BCI, which had earlier opposed the move, notified the rules, saying foreign lawyers or firms will be permitted to practice on transactional or corporate work like joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, and other matters on the basis of reciprocation.

However, they will not be allowed to appear in Indian courts, tribunals, or regulatory authorities nor permitted to offer any advice on real estate matters. 

The BCI has said that opening up law practices in India to foreign lawyers will go a long way to assisting the growth of the legal profession in the country. 

“ The standards of Indian lawyers in proficiency in law is comparable with the international standards and the legal fraternity in India is not likely to suffer any sort of disadvantage in case of law practice in India opens up to foreign lawyers in a restricted and regulated manner on the principle of reciprocity. These rules also help to address the concerns on the flow of foreign direct investment in the country and make India the hub of international commercial arbitration,” it stated. 

Reciprocity implies that a foreign lawyer is permitted to practice foreign law in India only if the Indian advocates are allowed to practice in the jurisdiction of the foreign lawyer. This will benefit lawyers from jurisdictions like England and Wales, which have already granted reciprocity to Indian advocates and experts. 

“Hundred percent FDI is allowed in the services sector. My preliminary view is that foreign firms should be able to buy domestic firms, in the corporate and arbitration practices at least,” stated Rohit Jain, managing partner of Singhania and co.


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