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Innocent as charged / Issue 87

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter

Either the Indian Government is short of cash, is in full GST mode or it just does not like lawyers very much.

Read our 2011-12 Union Budget live blog with a blow-by-blow account of its unfolding and how it hit even harder than the 2009 budget: Advocates, arbitrators and arbitration centres providing “representational” services businesses were dragged into the service tax net. Law firms now have to pay service tax for advice to individuals. All service tax will now have to be paid as soon as the bill is sent, not when the the money is collected. Since lawyers’ clients can be notorious for losing bills in the back of the sofa, this could become an administrative headache.

And finally, some law firm associates might now have to charge service tax to their own law firm employers. It is hard to believe that the Ministry intended this because it will only make it even harder for them to chase down tax bills.

The Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) is not amused after lobbying clearly produced few results in this case and its writ petition is stuck in a typically unhurried Bombay court. SILF chairman Lalit Bhasin has vowed to file a new writ against the new tax rules (although, to be fair to the Ministry, at least it removed the previously somewhat arbitrary discrimination between law firms and advocates in the service tax regime).

Judging by the lawyer strikes and protests following the 2009 Budget, this is far from over.

But what happened to protesting lawyers in Uttar Pradesh might give dissenting lawyers some cause for concern: police cane-charged and seriously injured a number of advocates in Lucknow protesting for an increase to the welfare fund. A former FoxMandal partner who was leading the protests and sustained minor injuries will now take legal action and challenge the constitutionality of police lathi charges, which also attracted media attention during the cricket world cup.

Sponsor link: To improve law firm management & profitability join the first workshop on the subject by Legal League Consulting on 12 March in Delhi.

Cross examination

This Sunday is the day many have been waiting for (or waiting for to go away: read this blogger’s 10 reasons of why he/she thinks the exam is a bad idea).

First, the only anti-exam petition that was still in a High Court was taken out and into the Supreme Court with all the other pending cases. Then a new writ petition hit the Delhi High Court wanting final percentage grades to be disclosed by the BCI to enhance transparency (that one will now get heard on Monday).

Sponsor link: If you have not had time to study for the bar exam because you are working too hard it’s not too late. Get started today or tomorrow with the only bar exam crash course around, offering better open book exam materials, loads of practice tests, strategy videos and more. Click here to check it out at no risk with money-back guarantee if you fail and a cool 20% off for Legally India subscribers when paying over this discount link.

Mooting change

The Mooting Premier League (MPL) sponsored by Allen & Overy (A&O) has a new leader again after an action-packed week with the MPL NUJS corporate law live blog and the SP Sathe Moot. Legal brain sports does not get better than this!

MPL Live also catches up with ILS Pune’s Jessup qualifier about law school stereotypes and the passion of the moot.

Sponsor link: NALSAR hosts Allen & Overy and Trilegal’s new International Finance & Corporate Course on 4 - 8 July 2011 – apply to attend if you are a fourth-year student.

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