SC asks Bar Council for its stand on lawmakers practising as lawyers

SC asks Bar Council for its stand on lawmakers practising as lawyers

The Madras High Court had built on this in its 2012 ruling that foreign lawyers and firms could only advice Indian companies or individuals on a "fly-in-fly-out" basis, which effectively barred them from not just practice but also taking part in arbitrations and negotiations.

The bench further said that BPOs, LPOs etc would not be allowed to provide services, which, in pith and substance, amount to advocacy but they could render all other services.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 13) upheld the decision of the Madras and Bombay High Courts, saying that foreign lawyers and foreign law firms can't open offices in India nor they can appear in courts. However, the Court has allowed foreign lawyers to advise clients in India on a casual, temporary "fly in fly out" basis.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to apex regulatory body BCI on the plea which alleged that parliamentarians and legislators, practising as lawyers, posed a "conflict of interest" and violated the provisions of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India Rules.

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Bar Council of India (BCI) in a petition seeking ban on MPs and MLAs from practicing law.

However, it has permitted foreign la firms to participate in arbitration proceedings.

Uday S Ahlawat, partner, Ahlawat & Associates, said, "The judgment doesn't really change anything, unlike the view taken by the courts on "multinational accounting firms" which are prevalent in India, there aren't many foreign law firms practising in India".

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