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The Supreme Court bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit on Monday (October 23) said that the issue of foreign lawyers’ practice in Indian courts will be heard in the first week of December.

The issue has been hotly debated by Indian bar associations, and the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) appeal against the AK Balaji judgment of the Madras High Court against 31 foreign law firms has been tentatively scheduled to happen on November 20, with the Supreme Court registry giving the green light in a October 3 order.

The bench had held that foreign lawyers could “fly-in-fly-out” for temporary periods to advise clients, adding that foreign lawyers would not be allowed to practice domestic law unless they registered with the BCI.

On Monday senior advocate Maninder Singh (appearing for petitioner not as ASG), requested the court for early hearing of this matter. He also wanted the court to direct the BCI to duly submit the model draft of the rules governing and regulating affairs of the foreign firms on this land.

Meanwhile, senior counsel A P Datar for BCI sought some more time to place the draft before the court. He said he is in favour of allowing the foreign firms to hold certain transactions with clients and their representatives.

—India Legal Bureau

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