The BCI notified the Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022. According to the rules, a foreign lawyer or law firm is not entitled to practise law in India without registering with the BCI. Foreign lawyers will only be allowed to advise on international laws and will not be permitted to appear before any Indian courts and tribunals. The areas of law allowed to foreign lawyers and firms will be laid down by the BCI, in consultation with the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.
Additionally, registered foreign law firms and lawyers can open law offices, engage and procure the legal expertise of one or more Indian advocates registered as foreign lawyers, procure the legal expertise of any advocate enrolled with any state bar council on any subject relating to Indian laws and enter into a partnership with one or more foreign lawyers or foreign law firms registered in India under these rules.
The BCI said India was not likely to suffer any disadvantage as a result of the rules. “These rules will also help to address the concerns expressed about the flow of foreign direct investment in the country and making India a hub of international commercial arbitration. While reactions from the legal fraternity were mostly positive, some expressed concerns about bullet-proofing the move with well-laid-out regulations. Welcoming the move, Cyril Shroff, managing partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, said: “Whilst the devil will lie in the detail, I think this is a progressive development. India’s legal market is ready for change and will grow.”