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Madras writ petition v foreign firms will be moved to Supreme Court for "final decision", says Moily

Law Minister  Veerappa Moily
Law Minister Veerappa Moily

The Indian government will attempt to move the Chennai writ petition against 31 foreign firms to the Supreme Court in order to take a "broader perspective" and make a "final decision" on the entry of foreign law firms said law minister Veerappa Moily, according to newspaper reports.

"The Bombay High Court has rejected the entry of foreign law firms in the country. The matter is now before the Madras High Court. We plan to move a petition to transfer the matter to the Supreme Court so that a broader perspective could be obtained," Moily said at a press briefing yesterday according to the Deccan Herald and the Economic Times.

As the government was one of the respondents in the Madras High Court writ petition it could move to have the case transferred to the Supreme Court, said Moily, to help the government take a "final decision".

According to the Economic Times, the "British government had taken up the matter with the minister during his visit. Law firms in the UK have evinced keen interest in entering India. The Bar Council of India has been opposing the entry of foreign law firms. Mr Moily has always maintained that their concerns would be addressed before taking a final decision on the matter. He also pointed out that UK and China had faced similar problems before they opened their doors to foreign law firms."

The Madras High Court decided on 7 July to serve the Chennai writ petition filed by AK Balaji on the foreign law firm respondents, as first reported by Legally India.

The government respondents' counsels had asked for time while the law ministry and Bar Council of India would "frame guidelines" on the issue.

Indian corporate lawyers predicted that the petition would have little impact on the practice of foreign law firms.

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