As per the recent development, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has issued “Bar Council of India Rules for registration and regulation of foreign lawyers or foreign law firms in India”. These new rules allows foreign lawyers and law firms to practice foreign law in India. For the purpose of these rules ‘Foreign lawyer’ means a person, including a law firm, LLP, company or a corporation, who is entitled to practice law in a foreign country.

Highlights of the New Rules:

  • The notification allows foreign lawyers and law firms to register with BCI to practice in India if they are entitled to practice law in their home countries, However, they cannot practice Indian law.
  • According to the Advocates Act 1961, advocates enrolled with the Bar Council alone are entitled to practise law in India. All others, such as a litigant, can appear only with the permission of the court.
  • For practising in India foreign lawyer has to get registration done with BCI which shall be valid for a period of 5 (five) years and the same can be renewed from time to time.
  • They shall be allowed to practice transactional / corporate work (Non-Litigious Practice) such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, Intellectual Property matters, drafting of contracts and other related matters on a reciprocal basis.
  • Further, BCI intends to enable the foreign lawyers and Foreign Law Firms to practice foreign law and diverse international law and international arbitration matters in India on the principle of reciprocity basis.

 

Exclusion(s):

  • This prohibition will not apply to law practice by a foreign lawyer or foreign law firm on a ‘fly in and fly out Basis’ for the purpose of giving legal advice to a client in India on foreign law or international legal issues.
  • However, in this case, the lawyer/firm cannot have an office in India, and their practice cannot exceed 60 days in any period of 12 months.
  • They shall not be involved or permitted to do any work pertaining to the conveyancing of property, title investigation or other similar works.
  • They will not be allowed to appear before courts, tribunals or other statutory or regulatory authorities.
  • Indian lawyers working with foreign law firms will also be subject to the same restriction of engaging only in “Non-Litigious Practice.”

 

Given below are various fees prescribed for registration of foreign lawyers:

 

In case of a foreign lawyer (Individual):

First Time Registration Fee = 25,000 USD

Renewal Fees = 10,000 USD

Security Deposit = 15,000 USD

 

In case of a foreign lawyer, if it is a firm, private limited partnership, company, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) etc:

First Time Registration Fee = 50,000 USD

Renewal Fees = 20,000 USD

Guarantee Amount = 40,000 USD

 

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