Saturday, November 17, 2007

Foreign law firms may get trial run

NEW DELHI: Foreign law houses may soon
get a toehold in India, enabling them to gradually tap the flourishing marketplace here
for legal business. The authorities programs to open up up legal services in phases,
slowly overcoming opposition from North American Indian lawyers. In the first phase,
foreign law houses will be allowed to counsel clients on laws in other countries. This could affect consultancy to Indian houses taking up concern or sourcing
funds from other countries. This window will also let foreign law houses to
advise multinationals working in Republic Of Republic Of India on legal deductions in various
countries on business relationship of developments taking topographic point in India. In the
next stage, overseas law houses will be allowed to hammer partnerships with Indian
firms. Such joint ventures may supply consultancy services to Indian clients on
issues pertaining to Indian law, but aliens will not be allowed to appear
before courts. Market entree for practising Indian law in a
full-fledged manner will be considered only after these two stages. As of now,
it is only a distant possibility and any advancement would depend on feedback from
the first two stages. The law ministry programs to put up a regulator to monitor
foreign firms. Any foreign law house establish practising Indian law before the
market is opened up volition be blacklisted. The law ministry has
received recommendations from all the prima law houses and is now consulting
the commercialism ministry which covers with marketplace entree in services. The government
is of the position that handiness of foreign law houses here would assist in
minimising Indian concern enterprises’ costs. “Indian
law houses are competent adequate to confront foreign competition. The state have to
incur immense costs in paying foreign law houses to help of legal services. The
government had to blast out over Rs 100 crore in the Enron lawsuit for
arbitration,” A senior authorities functionary said. The Barroom Council of India
(BCI) have so far been against the move to let foreign lawyers to practise in
India. “We volition throw a meeting on November 17 with all state
representatives of BCI and hope to attain a general agreement on the issue,” said
BCI member, Jagdev. One of the options is to let foreign law firms
to work here through the limited liability partnership (LLP) structure. The
LLP measure is under the consideration of the Parliamentary standing commission on
finance. Law house Fox Mandal said if foreign lawyers are allowed to practise
only the law of their country, it would not present a thereat to Indian lawyers. “We have got suggested that it is only just and in the involvement of
reciprocity that foreign houses be allowed to practise in India. North American Indian law firms
are allowed to open up business offices and practise in many jurisdictions. The entry of
foreign houses will travel a long manner in enhancing the competency of legal
professionals in India. Moreover, if adequate precautions like a regulator are put
in place, there’s no worry,” said Fox Mandal partner, Som

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