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SC order on foreign law firms: Will the government bite the reforms bullet?

Foreign law firms are not allowed to set up offices in India; foreign lawyers cannot practise in Indian courts

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Supreme Court

Sudipto Dey 



SC order on foreign law firms: Will the government bite the reforms bullet?

The recent order that upheld the ban on foreign law firms from setting up an office, or practice Indian law, in the country could pave the way for the government for liberalising the legal services sector. Does the government have the political will to bite the bullet on long-pending reforms for regulating the legal profession?

Most legal experts feel the order does not push back the efforts of the government over the last two-three years on the opening of the legal services sector. “It gives legitimacy to the efforts being made as the has consciously left it to the government and the Bar Council of India to frame appropriate legislation, rules, regulations,” says Lalit Bhasin, president, Society of Indian Law Firms, an association of large and mid-sized law firms that has advocated phased opening up of the domestic legal market. Any move to liberalise the legal services sector will be in line with India’s commitments at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as part of the trade negotiations, say experts.

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First Published: Mon, March 19 2018. 05:58 IST

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