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Gov’t in LS: Foreign law firm entry ‘under consideration’, currently ‘collecting data’ from BCI

Foreign law firm business questioned, and answered, sort of
Foreign law firm business questioned, and answered, sort of

The government said in Lok Sabha on 21 March that the “entry of foreign law firms... on basis of reciprocity is under consideration by Government”, as first reported by LiveLaw.

According to the parliamentary questions website, BJP parliamentarian Hari Narayan Rajbhar asked whether the government proposed to allow foreign law firms in “on the basis of reciprocity”, whether the Bar Council of India (BCI) opposed this move, and how exactly a foreign law firm would “qualify to be listed as an advocate under Advocates Act 1961”.

Minister of state for law and justice, PP Chaudhary, responded that the Law Commission report (which made vague suggestion on the subject) and the Supreme Court judgment were both under consideration, and that the “information is being collected” from the BCI on the other two points (see full question and answer below).

As we had reported on 14 March, in the wake of the Supreme Court non-judgment, the government has been keen to get back to the drawing board on liberalisation, though one source we spoke with knowledge of the party to said that the BJP was unlikely to do anything significant until after the next general election.

Lok sabha question on foreign law firms

UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 4251

ANSWERED ON: 21.03.2018

Foreign Law Firms HARI NARAYAN RAJBHAR Will the Minister of

LAW AND JUSTICE be pleased to state:-

(a) whether the Government proposes to allow foreign law firms in the country on the basis of reciprocity

(b) if so, the details in this regard for the last three years ;

(c) whether the Bar Council of India is against this move; if so the reasons therefor; and

(d) the manner in which a foreign law firm will qualify to be listed as an advocate under Advocates Act, 1961in case the foreign law firms are permitted to operate in India.

ANSWER ANSWER

MINISTER OF STATE FOR LAW AND JUSTICE AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS

(SHRI P.P. CHAUDHARY)

(a) to (b) The matter regarding entry of foreign law firms in the country on the basis of reciprocity is under consideration of Government. The Law Commission report and the Supreme Court Judgment dated 13.03.2018

on the issue under consideration of Government of India.

(c) to (d) The information is being collected from Bar Council of India and will be laid on the Table of House

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