•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Senior UK cabinet minister Ken Clarke vows making ‘forceful’ case to liberalise Indian legal sector in upcoming visit

Ken Clarke: Indian business risks missing out without foreign firms
Ken Clarke: Indian business risks missing out without foreign firms
Kenneth Clarke, the UK’s Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor who will visit India in the coming weeks, said at a speech today that it was in the interests of Indian business to open up the legal sector to foreign law firms or suffer because of “restricted domestic legal provision”.

At a City UK event held at Clifford Chance on the future of litigation, Clarke talked mainly about the changing regulation and opportunities in litigation but also touched on global opportunities for UK lawyers, singling out India in particular.

“India for example has a great deal to gain from removing barriers,” said Clarke, “and I will be making the case forcefully when I visit in a couple of weeks’ time that action to open up further to international legal expertise is economically and socially vital for India itself.”

“This is not about the UK’s narrow mercantilist self-interest, but the interest of Indian business, which risks missing out on investment and growth because of restricted domestic legal provision.”

In the text of his speech he also said: “Contrary to popular myth, I do not wear hush puppies but I am nonetheless prepared to wear out much shoe leather making the case for liberalisation of those areas where protectionist regulations remain an impediment to exporting UK services.

“Which areas do I mean? Well, it’s for you to tell me. I take my list of target countries from you – South East Asia, Brazil and Turkey. And my fellow ministers and I are keen to ensure that you always have a place at the table within wider trade missions, wherever they happen within government. Where we get this right it can pay dividends, as the recent EU-South Korea FTA shows.”

“Other areas are longer-term, but I remain determined to keep up the pressure,” he added.

The Tory MP noted that he also needed the audience’s “backing and help” in opening foreign markets. “It is never easy overcoming vested interests, and we only have a chance of doing so with your expertise, knowledge, influence and support.”

“A close dialogue with officials and ministers so they are informed of the key obstacles to opening up specific markets (& likewise any newly developing issues in other areas of the legal sector) is essential,” he said. “My door is always open.”

In July 2010 UK prime minister David Cameron visited India with Clifford Chance’s then-senior partner Stuart Popham, although no overt progress on legal market liberalisation followed. And when US president Obama visited India in November 2010 foreign lawyers’ entry was dropped from the agenda despite two US law firm private practice partners accompanying him.

Photo by underclassring

Click to show 15 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.