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BCI to SC: Foreign lawyers should not come to conferences in India

The Indian Express reported that the Bar Council of India (BCI) had submitted its affidavit in the Supreme Court appeal against the AK Balaji case decided in the Madras high court against law foreign firms.

The affidavit filed by BCI counsel Ardhendumauli K Prasad purports to rely on the 2009 Lawyers Collective judgment by the Bombay high court that interpreted the prohibition of foreigners’ “legal practice” under the Advocates Act to include non-litigation advice.

According to the Express, the affidavit stated:

Practice of law does not necessarily mean rendering professional services on primary/legal basis in the territory of India. Further more, it will not be just and proper to state that discussion/negotiation by way of seminars, conferences and arbitration will not constitute practicing profession of law.”

... the practice of law, irrespective of its manner, form or time period involved, is contrary to the provisions as well as the principles of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules.

Click here For Legally India’s investigation in Mint into the backchannel talks between BCI and one of the main opponents of liberalisation, the Society of Indian Law Firms (Silf), after the government communicated its intention to seriously consider the liberalisation process.

The next scheduled hearing in the case was 6 April. The case has been delayed so far because the BCI did not manage to serve all 31 foreign law firm respondents, with the majority of foreign law firms impleaded having now been dropped from the case.

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