Foreign Lawyers And Law Firms Can Now Practice In India: BCI
According to reports, this is the first time that foreign law firms and lawyers have been permitted registration under the Advocates Act, 1961, which until now was confined exclusively to Indian citizens
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The Bar Council of India (BCI) new rules issued on Wednesday said that foreign lawyers and law firms can also advise on international arbitration cases on a reciprocal basis, meaning lawyers from those countries which allow similar opportunities to Indian lawyers can practice, according to a Reuters report.
"Foreign lawyers, however, will only be allowed to advise on foreign or international laws and not be permitted to appear before any Indian courts and tribunals. They can practice "corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters on a reciprocal basis. Opening up of law practice would go a long way in helping the legal profession/domain grow in India," stated the BCI in a statement issued as per the report.
For the same, the foreign law firms and lawyers will have to register themselves with the bar council under the BCI Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022, notified on March 10. According to reports, this is the first time that foreign law firms and lawyers have been permitted registration under the Advocates Act, 1961, which until now was confined exclusively to Indian citizens.
Furthermore, the registration shall be permitted by the BCI based on the principle of reciprocity, i.e., a similar facility should be in vogue for Indian lawyers/law firms in the country where the foreign law firm is primarily registered with. "Once registered in India, the foreign law firm/lawyer must renew the registration after five years. The cost of registration has been fixed at $25,000 for lawyers and $50,000 for law firms while renewal will incur costs of $10,000 and $20,000, respectively under the two heads, the notification read.