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15 January 2010
News and current affairs

Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar is organizing the 2nd GNLU International Moot Court Competition (GIMC) from February 3-7, 2010. The first edition was organized in 2009 from April 2-5 and was appreciated by all concerned. This year’s edition promises to be even better and bigger than the previous one.

The theme of the competition is International Trade Law. Last year the moot problem dealt with national security, breach of privacy and trade between countries, while this year’s moot problem deals with climate change and trade. In spite of the fact the disputes in the moot problem are arising through a Regional Trade Agreement and are primarily trade disputes, the forum of adjudication is International Court of Justice, making the entire concept very interesting. The reason for the same is that the issue of applicability of International Law to a Trade dispute is still a grey area with no concrete judicial opinion.

GNLU takes great pleasure to inform everyone that for this year’s competition, GNLU and World Trade Institute (WTI) Basel, Switzerland have entered into a partnership agreement wherein WTI would award the winning team with a scholarship to attend its five week Summer Academy on International Trade Regulation.

 The World Trade Institute (WTI) is one of the world’s leading academic institutions dedicated to the regulation of international trade. It is a centre of advanced studies at the University of Bern and is closely tied with leading trade institutions in Geneva. The WTI transcends boundaries by fusing law, economics and international relations in interdisciplinary research, training and advisory services. As host institution of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research on Trade Regulation, the WTI is at the core of a global research network.

 For this year’s edition, GNLU has also partnered with Westlaw, wherein Westlaw is providing passwords to access its database to all the participating teams for the purpose of research. Apart from providing passwords, Westlaw would also be awarding the Winning and Runner’s up teams with books worth INR 50, 000. These are significant steps forward in the achievement of the aims and objectives of GIMC, foremost of which is the dissemination of knowledge related to pressing issues in International trade.

 Apart from association with WTI & Westlaw, GNLU is proud to announce that the final round of the competition would be adjudicated by a sitting member of the Appellate body of the WTO, sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, senior advocates from Supreme Court and leading academicians from India & abroad. This would be for the 1st time that a sitting member of the Appellate body of the WTO would be judging a final round of a Moot Court Competition. The prelim/ quarter and the semi final round of the competition would be adjudicated by a panel of judges drawn from academia, law firms and practicing advocates, who are experts in the relevant area of the moot problem.

The association of WTI and Westlaw and prize money on offer worth more than INR 75000 makes GIMC one of the most sought after legal events in the legal calendar. GNLU is also grateful to Government of Gujarat and High Court of Gujarat for their constant support in making this competition a reality.

 With 38 teams drawn from Europe, America and Asia including all the leading law schools from India, GIMC 2010 promises to be one of the biggest events in the legal calendar this year.

 For more information contact

Ashish Chandra


GIMC 2010

Ph: +91- 9377404964


07 January 2010
News and current affairs

pie-chart-RM-surveyTwo thirds of lawyers think a lockstep partnership model is the correct long-term model for a law firm but only one third of equity partners share that view, according to the 2009 law firm survey by legal sector services provider Rainmaker.

04 December 2009
News and current affairs

LuthraLuthra-Vijay-SondhiLuthra & Luthra billings will have seen a dent on Wednesday as a legion of the firm's lawyers patrolled the Delhi High Court during the Delhi Bar Council elections garnering last-minute support for their candidate Vijay Sondhi (pictured).
Contesting lawyers, commuters and litigants will also now breathe a sigh of relief with the close of polling on Wednesday.

The Delhi Bar Council elections reportedly led to severe traffic congestions and adjournments in and around the courts on Tuesday and Wednesday, as voter turnout spiked by 50 per cent compared to the 13,500 who voted five years ago.
Picking up the new voters was therefore the prime directive for the 129 candidates, of whom only 25 will make it onto the executive of the Delhi Bar Council.

Luthra & Luthra litigation partner Vijay Sondhi - as a first time candidate and as the only law firmite standing in Delhi -  will have been eying the new voters particularly.

He said on Wednesday: "I am relaxed now, but the elections are not over and done with… The counting process starts tomorrow [3 December] and it is a round-the-clock process which lasts a 4-5 days."

Hoping to win, Sondhi noted: "I am positive, all the law firms wanted their legal representative. SILF [Society of Indian Law Firms] had passed a resolution selecting me as an official candidate. I enjoyed the support of both law firms and lawyers that have been litigating with me for 20 years now. Each and every one of them has been a pillar of support for me."

However, privately several Delhi lawyers were doubtful that the election would swing in Sondhi's favour, despite reporting a large number of Luthra lawyers on site and spotting several law firm lawyers.
Sondhi remained optimistic. "All my friends and well-wishers worked tirelessly and the last few weeks were especially hectic.
"We're not politicians so we had to work at the ground level. Small things were missing like we didin't have any presence outside the court like other candidates had put up their tents, desks, tables and chairs. At 9:15 we sent some people to arrange all of that."
Sondhi added: "We want our professional bodies to be run by professionals, professional practising lawyers not by politicians."

However, he said that the elections were a good learning experience despite facing procedural difficulties.

One law firm associate said that the election was smoothly organised and that voting queues were only around 20 minutes in the morning.
Sondhi had expressed fears before the election that long queues would turn law firm voters off. Results of our poll too suggested that a large number of law firmites were apathetic about the elections and would not bother to vote.

The first phase of election registered 11,800 votes in the Delhi High Court on 1 December and 9,000 lawyers in Tis Hazari on 2 December totalling 20,800 out of 41,400 lawyers who were entitled to vote.

The Bar Council of India is a statutory body which consists of elected members from various state bar councils.
The Bar Council of Delhi's current chairman, Ved Prakash Sharma told Legally India that he was satisfied with the way elections were conducted and noted: "It would have not been possible without the support and supervision of the returning officer, retired justice S K Mahajan, who was also assisted by three member team of advocates Sanjay Jain, Maninder Singh and vice president of Delhi High Court Bar Association, Kirti Uppal."

Sharma added: "100 staff members from the High Court, 20 people from the election commissioners office and 50 advocates helped in organising the elections."
"We will continue our agenda of ensuring the welfare of lawyers through measures like providing group insurance and medical facilities over and above working towards the reforming the system." 
He added that election result would not be out before the end of next week.

The 25 elected members will then internally elect a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary.

ALMT Legal partner Hitesh Jain, meanwhile, is still conducting his campaign for the Maharashtra & Goa Bar Council elections, with polling to be held on 7 January 2010.

He is campaigning especially in his place of work Mumbai, his hometown Pune and the outlying areas, taking off several days a week from his partnership duties to hit the road.

26 November 2009
News and current affairs

Singhania-Vijay_GoelAre you still an Indian advocate if you are abroad? For the purposes of India's National Law Day Awards this year, yes: Singhania & Co London office managing partner Vijay Goel and FoxMandal London partner Ajit Mishra have won the prize, alongside Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi managing partner Shardul Shroff.

23 November 2009
News and current affairs

cricket_ballTrilegal has qualified for Delhi's Turf Twenty20 Cup for Law Firms with a perfect score after convincing wins in two games this weekend. Luthra & Luthra has also qualified by winning all its games, while Dua Associates and Kohli & Sobti qualify with two wins each alongside four other law firm teams.

20 November 2009
News and current affairs

Luthra-Tarun_Mehrishi-battingLuthra & Luthra and Dua Associates are dead certs to qualify for the quarter finals in Delhi's Twenty20 Cup for Law Firms after topping each of their respective pools though for six other teams anything is still possible.

03 November 2009
News and current affairs

LuthraLuthra-Vijay-SondhiMany law firm lawyers complain that the Bar Council does not represent their interests.

Now Luthra & Luthra partner Vijay Sondhi is running for the Delhi Bar Council elections on a ticket of representing law firms and their lawyers.

But are any law firmites going to rock the vote?

21 October 2009
News and current affairs

Smiley-faceWe need your help in creating one of India's first and most comprehensive associate satisfaction surveys.

Encouraged by several requests from readers in the past weeks, we would like to hear from you about your firm, the things you like and the things you would like to see improved.

The survey will hopefully be of benefit to every law firm lawyer in India by encouraging transparency in the marketplace, helping associates make wise career decisions and by letting law firm managers know how they can improve things.

However, the only way this will work is if as many of you participate as possible.

Please take a few minutes out of your day and give back to the community by completing the survey below. Please also send this page to colleagues and friends at other firms (you can use the 'Share This' link at the top right of this article).

Please be truthful in your responses.
You must be a lawyer currently practising in an Indian law firm to take part in this survey. Partners can of course participate too.

We will check the information we receive against standards of reasonableness, common sense and statistics, as well as by making enquiries with a variety of sources.

It is also not very nice to cheat so please do not do it. Sifting through and deleting fake responses will just make our job take twice as long.

We will also delete all duplicate submissions so please do not submit twice for your own firm or any other.

We will hold in the strictest confidence any information that could potentially be used to identify you and we will anonymise all published results so that responses can NOT be linked to you.

For example, we appreciate that senior associate salaries can diverge greatly and we will therefore not publish precise figures for individual salaries at different tiers.

We will only create rough average figures if we receive enough responses so that data at each approximate tier is statistically relevant.

If we do not receive enough responses for a category or firm to come up with meaningful and anonymous averages, we will not publish the information.

If you are very worried about confidentiality please use your personal  home computer to complete the form.

The more, the better, but please feel free to complete as much or as little information as you like. However, generally we do at least need to know the firm you work at, for obvious reasons.

Many many thanks for your time and interest so far. We hope that this will become a helpful resource for you and everyone else.

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14 October 2009
News and current affairs

Bill-Clinton-Rhodes-ScholarOne of the most (in)famous Rhodes Scholars is no doubt William Jefferson Clinton (pictured), who of course neither inhaled nor graduated in his time at Oxford.

The names of the latest batch of five Indian Rhodes Scholars were finalised on the eve of 12 October 2009 in Mumbai. As usual, students from the law dominated the list, with Aditya Swarup of NALSAR Hyderabad and V Niranjan of NLSIU Bangalore sweeping the field.

In India, out of hundreds of applicants only a few are selected and invited for a final round of interview. The number of finalists for this year was 18.

The scholarship programme requires the applicants to meet strict eligibility criteria laid down by the Rhodes Trust, which looks for qualities of moral and intellectual strength in a candidate. Cigar, Mr President, sir?

A preliminary round of interviews is then held for successful candidates in the regional centers of Mumbai (Pune), Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. This is then followed by a final interview.

NLSIU's Niranjan says the grant of a Rhodes scholarship had been the fulfillment of a long-standing dream of his to study at Oxford.

"I hope to pursue a career in litigation in India, and an education at Oxford is quite inspiring from that perspective, given Oxford's history. The Rhodes Scholarship is something everyone dreams of and my application process was a combination of excitement and apprehension," Niranjan told Legally India by email.

He writes: "I am given to understand that there are about 600 applicants for the Rhodes from India, and about 120 from law. India has five Rhodes scholarships. I applied in July, and was informed that I'd been shortlisted for the preliminary interview to be held in Mumbai on September 5, 2009.

"That interview panel was chaired by Professor V.S. Chauhan, Secretary, Rhodes Trust India, and also had eminent Rhodes scholars like Mr Nandan Kamath and Ms Menaka Guruswamy. The days following that interview were quite trying, as I was nervously awaiting the results. I was told two weeks later that I'd made it to the final interview, which was hosted yesterday at Mumbai.

"The final interview is quite an experience. The eminence of the interview panel makes it a wonderful process to go through, and yesterday's panel was chaired by Mr. Ratan Tata, the Chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee. Other panelists included Mr. Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Nandan Kamath, Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal, Ms. Rakhi Mehra and others. A Rhodes tradition is that a dinner is hosted by the selection committee the day before the interview, and this is a great chance to meet and interact with persons as eminent and accomplished as these.

"The interview itself lasted about 20 minutes, and was a very engaging process - I was questioned on the personal statement I had written, articles I have published, my career goals, accomplishments thus far, etc. Once again, waiting for results was a nerve-wracking experience, but this time the results were declared on the same day, which made it mercifully shorter!

"I couldn't quite believe it when my name was announced, and in truth, I still can't - I think it will take time for this to sink in but I'm more delighted than I've ever been. The Rhodes Scholarship is more than just a scholarship - it is an institution that is filled with world leaders spanning generations, and to be awarded the scholarship is both humbling and a reminder that there is so much to accomplish in one's field, which in my case is law.

"I can't find words to express my gratitude to the people who made this possible for me - first and foremost, my parents, my Professors at the National Law School, some of whom were my referees, law school alumni who wrote references for me, Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, who gave me a chance to intern under him and wrote a reference for me, one of my schoolteachers, a couple of inspirational and wonderful seniors who have been guiding me right from when I entered law school, a few very good friends in law school and many other people.”

Have a look on the ever-helpful Wikipedia for some more background on the Rhodes scholarship.

Details of procedures in India are given on the web site of Rhodes Scholarships India.

09 October 2009
News and current affairs

Law-Minister-Veerappa-Moily_thumbLaw minister Veerappa Moily has reiterated his stance on liberalisation and vowed to set up four super-charged "law schools of excellence" throughout India.

06 October 2009
News and current affairs


The Board for Control of Cricket (BCCI) in India has stuck to its position of non-compliance with the 'whereabouts clause' in the new World Anti-Doping Code.

Arguing that the 'whereabouts clause' infringes the privacy of its players, the BCCI had initially dismissed the WADA Code and requested former Chief Justice of India A. S. Anand and India's attorney general G. E. Vahanavati to opine on the clause.

Vahanavati then did opine to the BCCI and stated that the 'whereabouts clause' in the anti-doping code would infringe on the players' privacy and be subject to a constitutional challenge in the courts.

In numerous cases the right to privacy has been held to be a part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The International Cricket Council, which is itself WADA compliant since 2006, convened a two-day meeting of the special committee, became apprehensive and recognised the merit in Vahanavati's opinion.

It called off the meeting of the special committee which included Anil Kumble as the Indian players' representative.

According to reports, the cricket boards of Australia (CA), England (ECB), South Africa (CSA), New Zealand (NZC), Sri Lanka (SLC), Zimbabwe (ZC) and Bangladesh (BCB), all of which had earlier signed up to the new code, have supported the BCCI's views and objected to the 'whereabouts clause'.

These boards have conveyed to the ICC that they see merit in the concerns raised by the BCCI as being genuine and having legal basis.

The ICC's legal experts, David Becker and Ian Higgins, have now been trying to allay fears and concerns by advising on the ramifications of the new code. The ICC's Company Lawyer, Ian Higgins, who was formerly an associate with UK-international firm Bird & Bird also flew down to Mumbai earlier to address the BCCI's concerns.

The Government of India has reiterated that it is fully committed to the new code including the 'whereabouts clause.'

The BCCI which has acted contrary to the government's stand and is drawing strength from Mr. Vahanavati's opinion, is sticking to its position of demanding a new cricket specific code from WADA.

And following the recent wave of support for 'rethinking WADA's whereabouts clause methodically', the ICC has requested the WADA to formulate a cricket-specific code. Although WADA has not yet responded to this specific request, WADA president John Fahey has stated that WADA will review the out-of-competition testing rule at the end of the year and make any practical changes if necessary.

Looks like this one will keep getting stickier.

Photo by Tc7

21 September 2009
News and current affairs

Law minister Veerappa Moily has weighed into the debate over who should regulate legal education, opposing Human Resources Development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal's wide-ranging plans to take control of the sector.

The Times of India reported yesterday that Moily said: "So far as introducing an academic course is concerned, we have no objection. But when it comes to setting standards of legal education, the law ministry has to consider. That is the domain of the law ministry."

This follows the Bar Council of India (BCI) disapproving of the HRD's move to take control of legal education.

In Moily the BCI will have found a powerful political ally to retain its current remit.

17 September 2009
News and current affairs

Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran elevation to the Supreme Court has been called into question following protests by eminent lawyers over his unaccountable ownership of 400 acres of land in rural Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Justice of India has sought an explanation from Justice Dinakaran acting on a letter submitted by prominent lawyers such as Shanti Bhushan, Fali Nariman, Anil Divan, Ashok Desai and Ram Jethmalani in which they demanded his promotion to be deferred.

Fali Nariman declined to comment when contacted by Legally India, saying that this matter could only be resolved by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association M N Krishnamani and the Delhi High Court Bar Association President K C Mittal in a joint statement demanded a change in the existing collegiums system of appointment of judges.

The bar associations have urged the Law Ministry to increase transparency and objectivity in the promotion of judges to the Supreme Court.

They have proposed a constitutional amendment to replace the collegiums system by a properly constituted National Judicial Commission to undertake the selection.

Madras High Court bar association members who have opposed Justice Dinakaran’s promotion include K R Tamizhmani, R Vaigai, Sriram Panchu, Anna Mathew, S S Vasudevan, Geetha Ramaseshan, Sudha Ramalingam, N L Rajah, D Nagasaila, S Devikarani and T Mohan.

As reported by the Times of India, the collegiums headed by the Chief Justice of India and Justice S H Kapadia, B N Agrawal, Tarun Chatterjee and Altamas Kabir will meet tomorrow to discuss on the future course of action.

Under the present collegiums system the CJI is the final authority in the matter of appointments superseding the executive also.

01 September 2009
News and current affairs

Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul of the Delhi High Court has resigned to pursue advocacy again after less than five months in the judge's robes.

A source has confirmed to Legally India that he is looking at returning to practice as an advocate but the why is unclear.

Was it the pay? Was it the hours? Was it the boss? Or was it because he was tired of putting up with the ramblings of second-rate advocates.

He could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press but the Times of India also reported this morning that Kaul had submitted his resignation letter, though no reasons were given.

Kaul became an advocate in the Delhi High Court in 1987 and was made a senior advocate in 2002. In 1998 he was appointed as standing counsel for the central government.

His resignation is only the second resignation of a serving Delhi High Court judge after then Justice M L Verma had resigned within a year of his appointment in 1991.

Update 11:22 am IST: The Press Trust of India has formally confirmed Kaul's resignation, citing personal reasons.

"I felt I enjoyed private practice more," he told the news service, adding: "I felt I was better suited for a lawyer's job and I never wanted to impose myself on the Constitutional post."

28 August 2009
News and current affairs

Confounding expectations Press Notes 2 and 4 will stay as they are, according to a press report this morning. Perhaps a few lawyers will not have been surprised, however.

"There is no plan to make any changes in Press Note 2 and 4 at all," an unnamed "senior finance ministry official" told the Indian daily Business Standard.

Upsetting for some - Indian lawyers have complained for months now about the grey areas in Press Notes 2, 3 and 4 that were feared (or hoped) to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) through a backdoor route.

"I am surprised that such statements are being given," said one Mumbai-based corporate partner, who added that Press Note 4 governing downstream investment and ownership and control issues needed some work done. "We were quite sure that there would be something which would clearly clarify things and not leave anything to interpretation."

On the other hand, for several months now Legally India had heard off-the-record murmurings from a small handful of lawyers that they did not think the Finance Ministry would revise the Press Notes.

Did they know something that journalists and other lawyers didn't?

Pressure from Bharti, MTN and their advisers could have also swung the mood, as both the companies and the Government hope to seal the biggest cross-border M&A deal in India's history, which will rely on the Press Notes in its complex structuring.

And Pantaloon Retail too – whose current legal advisers Legally India has unsuccessfully been trying to confirm for ages – embarked on the first steps to an ambitious restructuring to increase foreign investment stakes in reliance on Press Notes 2 and 3.

An seemingly gutsy move at the time but perhaps Pantaloon and its advisers too knew something others did not, despite the restructuring having now apparently been put on hold.

10 July 2009
News and current affairs

The bench has called an extraordinary meeting to deal with lawyers' growing violence against judges, after a group of lawyers allegedly assaulted a District Court judge on Wednesday.

Delhi lawyers Vikas Gupta and Rekha Sharma allegedly slapped Additional District Judge Pankaj Gupta on Wednesday. Gupta was arrested outside Rohini Court early on Thursday morning before a crowd of lawyers and leaders of the lower court bar gathered.

The Judicial Officers Association issued a press calling a general meeting to discuss the growing number of incidents of court room hooliganism.

Bar Council of India chairman SNP Sinha told Legally India: "I don’t know the full facts of this case but if it is true then it is deplorable. This is not the way a lawyer should conduct himself in the court."

The bench has also formed a fact finding committee to investigate the case under the chairmanship of senior advocate A S Chandhioke.

Sources told Legally India that bar leaders have attempted to settle the matter amicably out of court but that the judicial officers have not responded.

Gupta's lawyers have failed to secure bail for their client and he remains in custody.

Senior advocate A S Chandhioke said: "It is a very unfortunate incident and should not have happened. We will look into the issue and I am hopeful that the Bar Council and the Bar Association concerned shall do whatever is necessary."