No entry for foreign lawyers, bar council tells government


New Delhi: The Bar Council of India (BCI) has said no to the entry of foreign lawyers into the country but added that the decision is not final, the law ministry said Tuesday.

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“The Bar Council of India has decided not to permit foreign lawyers into India. The said decision, however, is being subjected to a more detailed and rational scrutiny in the light of the opinions and points of view of different stakeholders,” said the ministry.

Quoting the country’s apex statutory body, empowered to regulate legal education and profession, the ministry said the BCI has taken the decision in response to “numerous representations on the subject”.

“The BCI, which is concerned with the safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates, is committed to take steps which will benefit the Indian legal profession,” the ministry said in a statement on the issue of entry of foreign law firms.

In another statement on the issue of opening of legal profession to British lawyers, the ministry said: “The BCI has informed that it perceive the Indian legal profession to be both service oriented as well as based on business principles.”

“However, it is important to understand the legal profession in the Indian context,” said the ministry, quoting the BCI.

“At the same time, Indian lawyers are not averse to self-upgradation and skill acquisition. Once the process of legal reform is initiated, the profession could be stated to be in some readiness to the opening up of the legal sector,” it added, again quoting the BCI’s ambivalent views on the sensitive issue.

“This is a matter which is to be considered by the BCI, which is presently laying a clear road map for the purpose of ensuring legal reforms so that even the entry of foreign lawyers would cause no serious concern,” the ministry said.