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Bar Council strengthens stance against foreign firms after meeting Moily

The Bar Council of India has cemented its strong opposition to the entry of foreign law firms after its first official meeting with new Minister of Law and Justice Veerappa Moily, reported news wire Bloomberg today.

Bar Council of India President Suraj Narain P. Sinha told Bloomberg in an interview yesterday: "Our stand is clear, we should not allow entry of foreign law firms in the present scenario."

The comments will come as a blow to liberalisation proponents, after Moily had indicated last Friday that he hoped to get the "legal fraternity" to agree to reform.

After Moily's meeting with the Bar Council on Monday (8 June), he adopted a more conciliatory tone.

Moily told Bloomberg on Tuesday (9 June): "India will decide the entry of foreign law firms after getting the open consent of the legal fraternity."

He is set to meet the Bar Council again on June 26 and 27 to continue discussions.

Another Bar Council member Jagdev told Bloomberg: "We categorically informed the minister about the decision taken by the Bar Council of India, the Supreme Court Bar Association and bar associations of all the high courts that there would be no entry of foreign law firms in India."

Supreme Court Bar Association President M.N. Krishnamani made the case for reciprocity and added: "On principle, we oppose the entry of foreign law firms. If there is a need, it should be a conditional entry."

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