BIG Change in Legal Profession: Foreign Lawyers and Law Firms Can Now Practise in India- BCI Notifies Rules

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has agreed to open up law practise in India to foreign lawyers, foreign law firms. The statutory body of lawyers has issued guidelines for the registration of foreign lawyers and law firms in India.

Foreign lawyer or foreign law firms shall not be entitled to practice in India unless registered with Bar Council of India.

The Registration fees is USD 50,000 and Renewal fees is USD 20,000.

Foreign Lawyers or Law Firms will be entitled to engage and procure legal expertise/advise of one or more Indian Advocates Registered as foreign lawyers.

The most recent rules allow foreign lawyers and law firms to practise international law and international arbitration in India.

The rules are based on the “principle of reciprocity in a well-defined, regulated, and controlled manner,” according to the BCI notification.

In a notification, the Bar Council of India said, “Opening up of law practise in India to foreign lawyers in the field of practise of foreign law; diverse international legal issues in non-litigious matters and in international arbitration cases would go a long way in helping legal profession/domain grow in India to the benefit of lawyers in India too”.

The apex body also stated that if done in a limited, well-controlled, and regulated manner, the move will have no impact on legal practise in India.

The Bar Council of India initially opposed the entry of foreign lawyers and law firms into India in any form. However, it was authorised by the legal fraternity of the Country in the years 2007-2014 in Joint Consultative Conferences between BCI, State Bar Councils across the country and other stakeholders to explore the potential and prospects of opening the law practise in India to foreign lawyers.

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