Monday, December 11, 2023

Bar Council of India signs MoU with Bar Council and Law Society of England & Wales for exchange programme of lawyers

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The Bar Council of India has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bar Council of England and Wales, along with the Law Society of England and Wales, for an exchange programme of lawyers and law students for mutual exchange of training and learning among the three countries.

As per a statement issued by BCI, the MoU was signed during a meeting held in London on June 5 by the Chairman of Bar Council of India, the President of the Bar Council of England and Wales as well as the President of the Law Society of England and Wales.

All Members of the BCI, including its Secretary Srimanto Sen, participated in the meeting. 

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the MoU was aimed at facilitating a healthy mutual exchange of ideas, learning and training of the legal fraternity of both jurisdictions. 

The move will go a ‘long way’ in fostering the exchange of legal acumen skill, training and ideas between the legal fraternity of both the countries, and that the process will benefit the Indian lawyers, he added.

Manan said that its recently-introduced Rules allowing the entry of foreign law firms on a reciprocal basis needed ‘certain crucial changes’

He informed the gathering that the necessary changes will be made in the Regulations very soon and the registration of foreign lawyers and law firms will start only thereafter.  

BCI Vice-Chairman S Prabakaran said the Council has received representations from Indian Law Firms and a section of the Indian Bar and the opinion of Foreign bodies will also be welcomed on this issue. He added that necessary changes will be made in the Regulations soon and the registration of Foreign Lawyers & Law Firms will start only thereafter.

The MoU has authorised the Bar Council of India to recommend young lawyers to the Law Society and to the Bar Council of England & Wales to provide opportunities of training and learning in international law firms, law offices and in English law courts.

The Advocates recommended by the Bar Council of India, however, will not have any right to practise in the UK in terms of the MoU as the purpose was only to facilitate an opportunity of learning and gaining experience in both jurisdictions.

The statement said the BCI will further select law students for undergoing internships to the Bar bodies of the UK. The MoU further provided for extending training facilities to the solicitors and Barristers of England & Wales. 

These trainee Solicitors & Barristers shall not be allowed to practise in any form in India under the terms of the MoU and that the 90-day programme shall only be confined to training and learning only, it added.

Regarding the foreign/UK lawyers practising in India and vice-versa in the UK in any form, including the International Commercial Arbitration relating to laws of their respective countries and in non-litigious areas, the statement said it would not be touched upon in the MoU.

The practising of Indian lawyers in the UK and vice-versa shall remain to be governed by Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022 framed by BCI, it added.

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