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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 (PDF)

Click to show 27 comments
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Like +6 Object -34 Analyst 13 Mar 18, 13:52  troll?  controversial
Good decision. We need LPOs for ghati and jungle lawyers.
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Like +1 Object -17 Guest 13 Mar 18, 15:01
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Like +23 Object -17 Mr. Wannabe 4 u 13 Mar 18, 16:25  interesting  controversial
And people like u need to shift out of the homeland of ghatis and jungle lawyers and move to usa and uk to wash vessels, mop floors, photo copy and print papers for the whites. Oh and by the way, you can also post photos on facebook showing that u r enjoying by requesting the whites to pose with you pretending to have brunch with you :)

Dont forget to carry your deo.
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Like +18 Object -2 Hahahahahaaaa 13 Mar 18, 17:35  interesting  top rated
The insensitive gaudy wannabe lawyer is going on disliking comment 1.2. Maybe remembered visa denied episode.
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Like +32 Object -2 Raj Raj 13 Mar 18, 18:14  interesting  top rated
Your comment was not good. Hope you realize your mistake when u grow up. Everybody cannot do bank frauds like Nirav Modi so they work in LPOs to support their families. As long as they are earning with their hard work without cheating others it is ok. They deserve respect. whether they are working as staff at an LPO or Call Centre or even repairing shoes it is ok. Work is worship. Everybody does not need to be cunning or shrewd in multiplying money or grabbing lands by hook or by crook. The ghatis and the junglees are standing the most on the border of the country when you are sitting in your office and passing reckless comments on your computer.
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Like +0 Object -19 Neutral 13 Mar 18, 21:27
I guess the larger point is that if a person is hard working and climbed his way up to become a lawyer, why settle for an LPO? Its better and far more rewarding to continue the struggle and make a career in the legal profession, where the scope is limitless. Every lawyer is not a cunning, shrewd money maker or land grabber as you put it. There is immense respect to be gained in the profession, the kind which you can never gain in an LPO. What's the career growth path in an LPO anyway? It's zilch or next to zilch. Has anyone thrived in an LPO? Rather, those who have left LPOs have thrived. It's time to smell the coffee.
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Like +21 Object -0 Neutralize 13 Mar 18, 22:44  interesting  top rated
The largest point is to NOT ridicule anyone who is making efforts to live with dignity. You may like to read the comment number 1 of Analyst to understand the context. It is necessary to swallow pride and understand the subtle things in life. Yes progress happens agree. That's how great lawyers were made.
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Like +18 Object -0 Worst Comment Award #1 13 Mar 18, 21:21  interesting  top rated
This is the lowest low comment on LI. I pity the state of Mind of this "Analyst".Disgusting to ridicule anyone who works for a living. Not well read in history it seems. Ignorant fool.
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Like +16 Object -0 Trumping 14 Mar 18, 11:12  interesting  top rated
This trash guy 1st commentor needs to be sent back from where he came
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Like +17 Object -16 Mohanlal 13 Mar 18, 14:08  controversial
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Like +4 Object -18 Pi 13 Mar 18, 15:28
Why not let the phoren lawyer practise in India if they pass the 'Qualifying Examination for the Indian Nationals holding Foreign Law Degrees' remove the 'Indian nationals' bit and let anyone who has a foreign degree pass the exam and practice. Most jurisdictions have a similar provision, eg. QLTS in UK, Bar exams in New York, California, New Hampshire, Alabama, and Virginia etc.
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Like +16 Object -18 Guest 13 Mar 18, 15:44  controversial
A regressive judgement because:

1. Ignores that Indian lawyers can qualify abroad through exams. Also, the Australian government has recently given Jindal law school recognition whereby graduates can give a few basic papers and qualify as solicitors in Australia.

2. Many LPOs giving research support for litigation. BCI elements can interpret it to mean practice and harass them.

3. BCI is incompetent to handle this. Their members are not proper lawyers, can barely speak English and have a history of corruption.

4. Leaves legal education in a crisis. The NLUs were set up to emulate the IITs and IIMs. But while IIT and IIM grads can find jobs in MNCs, law graduates have more limited options. Senior academicians like Prof Ranbir Singh and Madhav Menon have also supported liberalisation.

5. When you allow advice on "foreign law" it leaves some ambiguities. Various domestic laws are a product of international conventions and our courts often cite English case law. So, for example, if I am arguing a complex patent law case where I am citing provisions of the WTO TRIPS Agreement and English case law and someone from a UK firm flies down to advise me on how it applies to the Indian case, is that practising foreign law?
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Like +16 Object -19 Rebel 13 Mar 18, 15:54  controversial
Over to Namo? LOL. This Feku has been all talk and zero reform. His law minister is completely incompetent as well. Better luck advocating compulsory Vande Mataram in court or something like that.
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Like +17 Object -0 Well Wisher! 13 Mar 18, 17:45  interesting  top rated
Not Vande Mataram but Jan Gana Mana!! I hope you know there is a difference.
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Like +2 Object -15 Darkseid 13 Mar 18, 23:28
SC has already said they aren't gonna sing the latter, na? I think it's the turn of the former next ;)
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Like +10 Object -16 Guest 13 Mar 18, 16:12  controversial
We are 1 year away from elections and some rumours say that elections may happen this year itself. There is no way the government will allow foreign law firms now. And next year it will be a fragile coalition with fewer seats for the BJP (not that the BJP has been active in seeking FDI anyway).

Thus, I advise my young lawyers friends to instead go for higher studies in the US, UK, Singapore, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc and hunt for jobs there. If necessary, do an MBA and leave the legal profession. The Indian government has never cared for the educated urban upper middle class. It has only pampered crony capitalists. So why stay here? As the saying goes, vote with your feet.
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Like +16 Object -3 Escapism 14 Mar 18, 12:12  interesting  top rated
Yes like Mallya and Lalit and Nirav u too can leave the country. You got what u wanted and now is the time to leave. Please go fast. We need a clean india. We dont need people like u who whine and cry and threaten to leave when they dont get their lollipops.
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Like +1 Object -16 Saag 14 Mar 18, 17:56
The problem is that whatever lollipop i have.. even that is being taken away. The problem is that the people who are happy with lollipops have an issue with people who want to move up a degree and have chocolate. The problem is with people who are happy enjoying the desserts that the current status quo offers to them and are afraid to let that change because they would become redundant or second degree once the status quo changes and the chocolate man comes peddling his chocolates.

The problem is that the indian firms are scared that their talent will go to these better foreign firms and they can no longer exploit good talent by giving them sub par salaries, setting unrealistic goals and witholding aptly deserved bonuses simply because they could not make them their million a year.
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Like +10 Object -21 TNNLS 13 Mar 18, 16:22  controversial
Meet Ram.

Ram (graduate from GLC, Mumbai) is a LAWYER who lives in a chawl.

The income he earns is meagre in comparison to his hard work. He doesn't have most of the modern-life luxuries.

Life has given him every reason to complain about.

Yet, Ram never ceases to smile.

Look around, in every nook and corner of our country, we will find countless such Rams, inspiring and teaching us wonderful life lessons through their affectionate smiles.

So, Supreme Court decision is right.
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Like +12 Object -18 Respect to Ram 13 Mar 18, 17:13  controversial
Kian appreciate your efforts.Totally appreciate. Will be nice if you can have more articles appreciating special cases like Ram who come from humble backgrounds and are trying to be better lawyers. We need to appreciate those who are overcoming challenges rather than those who have 5 star lives. I suppose this is not a glossy magazine . Can we have some grit, determination and hardwork success stories of self made men and women which can inspire everyone? Stories of lawyers who have done bold things and contributed to society? Waiting for your reply. Thanks in advance.
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Like +18 Object -7 Guest 13 Mar 18, 18:12  interesting  controversial
Can't make out if this is a joke comment or not. Are you high?
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Like +4 Object -14 Mohanlal 13 Mar 18, 19:32
You must be a card holding member of the "Greatest Political Party" for this wonderful troll comment.
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Like +22 Object -18 Guest 13 Mar 18, 18:11  controversial
Every Indian law firm owner right now...

And every associate....

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Like +5 Object -16 Darkseid 13 Mar 18, 23:29  controversial
Associates have been sadly forced to do that in most of the firms anyway, the judgment notwithstanding.
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Like +4 Object -17 Sri Ram Sena 13 Mar 18, 20:12
Two important judgments came today:

1. It's ok to beat up women for going to pubs.

2. It's ok for Indian lawyers to remain underpaid and exploited.

If this is the state of the country better to leave
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Like +2 Object -14 Guest 14 Mar 18, 10:57
Kian, for too long your website has acted as a forum for SILF and other cabals harming the interests of young lawyers. You have devoted 1 article to a Prof Menon's pro-liberalisation view (an esteemed luminary and Padma Bhushan awardee) and probably 100 to Lalit Bhasin. How fair is this?

It is high time you show the other side of the coin. To begin with, please show how many Indians can qualify in the US after an LLM, and how easy it is for Indians (JGLS degree holders) to qualify as lawyers in Australia.
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Like +2 Object -15 Guest123 14 Mar 18, 18:32
Interesting observation in para 40 - even participation in conferences involving legal discussion amounts to "practice." What exactly is a conference? If a non lawyer discusses a landmark SC decision in a conference, is he "practicing" law thereby violating the Advocates Act? Viewed from another perspective, practically every 3rd debate on Arnab's channel discusses some SC/HC decision or the other. Does this amount to practice?
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