BAI president calls for govt paper on foreign law firms

March 24, 2013 Bar Association of India president and senior counsel Anil Divan has called for a government position paper on the issue of opening the Indian legal market to foreign law firms. Divan says that it is time for the government to respond to the Indian Finance Ministry’s 2012-13 economic survey recommendations regarding market liberalisation.

“Predominantly, foreign law firms want to practise as consultants (FLCs) and not in court. Government apathy, unthinking bureaucratic support to foreign law firms, total disconnect with the legal profession, absence of national policy objectives and dubious behaviour by foreign law firms in the past have clouded the whole issue” said Divan in Indian newspaper The Hindu.

He continued: “Our law firms should not be eliminated in India as has happened in the accountancy sector but should grow nationally and internationally. A modus vivendi between the legal profession and the authorities is a precondition for fashioning a meaningful mechanism. Foreign Legal Consultants (FLCs) and foreign lawyers being permitted to enter the legal services sector in India without these safeguards would be unacceptable, inopportune and contrary to national interest.”

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