The Bar Council of India (BCI) has agreed to permit foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in the country in a restricted and well controlled and regulated manner on the principle of reciprocity, which would be mutually beneficial for lawyers from India.
The BCI has come out with the Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022 to enable international lawyers and arbitration practitioners to advise in India.
As per the rules, foreign lawyers and law firms will be entitled to practice only in nonlitigious matters.
The three broad areas which have been opened up for them include foreign law, arbitration matters, and international legal issues.
According to the BCI, a statutory body, opening up of law practice in India to foreign lawyers in the field of practice 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.
“It is noteworthy that the standards of Indian lawyers in proficiency in law is com- parable with the international standards and the legal fraternity in India is not likely to suffer any disadvantage in case law practice in India is opened up to foreign lawyers in a restricted and well controlled and regulated manner on the principle of reciprocity as it would be mutually beneficial for lawyers from India and abroad and these Rules are an attempt by Bar Council of India in this direction,” it said.
Foreign lawyers or foreign law firms can also open up law offices in India and also enter into a partnership with one or more foreign lawyers or foreign law firms registered in India.