Bar Council of India (BCI), which regulates the lawyers in India withdrew their support to the government's initiative to allow foreign lawyers to operation in India. Under current regulations the practice of law in India is reserved for Indian citizens except when foreign lawyers fly-in and fly-out to advice on foreign law and/or participate in arbitrations in certain circumstances. The Government had circulated BCI's draft rules for the entry of foreign lawyers to a wide body of stakeholders early in July this year. At that time there was a lot of hype about the imminent changes but these were soon put to rest when the Society of Indian Law Firms presented their proposal to allow foreign law firm in a staggered manner where there should first be a change to the Indian legal system and then at a later stage foreign lawyers should be allowed to offer services here on the laws of their own countries. The process has been derailed because the BCI, last week, withdrew the initial draft regulations and canceled a meet among stake holders that was set to take place on September 29, 2016.

Going Forward

It is not clear whether the government of India is considering a different set of draft regulations prepared by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association. The BCI has informed the concerned government bodies that allowing foreign lawyer/law firms into India prior to the decision of the Supreme Court of India on a case where this issue is under consideration would be tantamount to "contempt of court."

We at LawQuest will be watching developments on this matter closely and will post alerts as an when there are developments.

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