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Law min, BCI moot rules to regulate law firms

The law ministry is considering setting up a law firm regulator with a code of conduct to govern law firms in order to end the “free environment without any regulations”, reported the Hindustan Times.

The law ministry has asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) to draw up a code of conduct for law firms, as well as to crack down on non law firm entities such as accountants and management consultancy firms employing lawyers and giving legal advice.

The paper reported that the law ministry wrote in an internal document: “The BCI regulates only advocates who are enrolled with it. Law firms as such are not required to register themselves before any statutory authority or require permission to engage in non-litigation practice.

“Exploiting loopholes, many accountancy and management firms are employing law graduates who are rendering legal services, in violation of the provisions of Advocates Act, 1961.”

A BCI official told the Hindustan Times: “We want all the law firms operating in India to provide details of their employees, annual returns and the nature of business they are indulging in.” In addition, a code of conduct and conflict rules would be drawn up.

According to the national daily the ministry also said that foreign firms should be permitted to take part in India-based arbitrations.

The BCI is the only body that is currently responsible for regulating lawyers in India.

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