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Foreign firms: As expected, SC gives inch to foreign lawyers: Allows arbitration, fly-in-fly-out • Affirms LPOs are legal • Now, over to NaMo [UPDATE: Read 52-page judgment]

As first reported by Live Law, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of foreign lawyers to fly in on a temporary basis to India to advise clients, as well as finding that foreign lawyers should be allowed to conduct international arbitrations in India.

Also in line with predictions, and in a welcome fillip to the Modi regime, the bench passed the ball to the government, asking it and the Bar Council of India (BCI) to come up with rules governing foreign lawyers’ entry.

This is not unexpected, considering the proceedings so far.

According to LiveLaw, the bench of justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and UU Lalit held:

(i) that foreign lawyers may visit India for a temporary period on a fly in and fly out basis, for the purpose of giving legal advice to their clients in India regarding foreign law, and

(ii) that foreign lawyers cannot be debarred to come to India and conduct international commercial arbitration proceedings.

News18 also reported:

About arbitration, the Court said that there was no absolute right foreign firms had to participate in arbitration involving foreign laws and that it would only be permissible on the basis of the type of the agreement as well as the sanction under Sections 32 and 33 of the Act.

The bench further said that BPOs, LPOs etc would not be allowed to provide services, which, in pith and substance, amount to advocacy but they could render all other services.

Read judgment

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