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Chennai writ v foreign law firms pushed to January 2011 for consultations

The Chennai writ petition against 31 foreign law firms was taken up today after having last been heard on 5 October but has again been adjourned to 25 January 2011 following the Central Government’s plea to seek broader consultation with foreign firms and an impending all India bar councils’ meeting.

Petitioner A K Balaji who was present in the Madras High Court told Legally India that the hearing in the matter was further delayed because the Government’s counsel requested the court for more time to meet representatives of the foreign law firms.

He also said that the court relented in favour of granting time until January after it was informed that an all india bar council meeting was to take place soon, which would come up with something conclusive.

Balaji commented: “We filed in March and there has already been a lot of delay, but we expect the petition to be disposed of in January.”

This time a long date was given because the Madras High Court would be shut for vacation twice in between.

Present in the court were five senior counsels for the respondent including Somaiyaji, Datar for foreign law firms. A R L Sunderasan was there to represent the petitioner Balaji.

Update 25 November: The BCI has formed a committee to examine the issue of permitting foreign law firms to practice in India and the potential amendments required of the Advocates Act, reported Lawetal. The advocate general representing the BCI gaven an undertaking that no further adjournments would be sought and arguments would be heard on the next date of the hearing.

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