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The issue of foreign law firms and foreign lawyers practising in India came up for hearing before the Supreme Court bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit on Wednesday (January 10). The matter – it refers to foreign law firms and foreign lawyers who are illegally practising in India – has been filed by the Bar Council for India (BCI).

The question is of territory. The court had once suggested that they can come into India, but not on a regular basis. However, the BCI counsel had strongly opposed this. The argument is that international firms are refusing to come under the BCI said the VCI counsel. He said that is they cross their territory they have to take permission from the BCI.

The counsel said: “They are treating our lawyers as labour. The counsel is not challenging Madras High Court judgment, he is challenging Bombay High Court judgment. In article 29 it is said that they can come for appearance only not for any other reason. He pointed out that article 33 also provides that no one can practice without enrolment.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh also opposed, saying: “Some rules have to made in this regard, following which other countries also have to make rules through which we can also practice over there.”

He pointed out that the Supreme Court of Florida has done the same thing as Supreme Court of United States.

An SLP was filled in 2015 against a Bombay High Court order. Counsel of BCI said he will make index of other countries cases related to this matter and submit it before the bench.

Senior Counsel Maninder Singh requested that rules be framed regarding practicing of foreign law firms and foreign lawyers in India.

The matter has been adjourned to January 15.

India Legal Bureau

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