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Liberalisation proposal drudging on, India blames BCI in WTO

The proposal for phased liberalisation of Indian legal services has not crossed the Bar Council of India (BCI) hurdle, India told the World Trade Organisation (WTO), reported The Hindu Businessline.

WTO’s periodic trade policy review of its member countries threw up questions posed by other members, to India, on its liberalisation plans.

India answered, that it was considering its commerce ministry’s proposal to allow foreign lawyers to only act on international arbitration and mediation, advise on non-Indian law and practice Indian law only in collaboration with Indian lawyers and with a cap on the foreign lawyer’s role in such partnership.

India, however, also added that it would allow these things only to lawyers from countries which extended similar allowances to Indian lawyers, and will finalise its proposal only after the BCI communicates its final stand on the matter.

The BCI and the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) have, reportedly, accepted in principle the plan to allow foreign lawyers entry into India under regulation 24 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The monsoon session of the parliament closed without the expected amendment to the arbitration and conciliation act that Legally India had reported would enable foreign lawyers to act on arbitrations in India.

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