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Published : August 09, 2012 | Author : SP Singh Chawla
Category : Law - lawyers & legal Profession | Total Views : 2221 | Rating :

SP Singh Chawla
SP Singh Chawla. I have completed my 5 year law from BVP , Pune and pursuing CS (Professional). I am a Registered NCFM holder of NSE. My Keen interest is in drafting and Corporate laws.

“Lawyer’s Bar Consultant”

In a recent Meeting of Society of Indian Law Firms ("SILF"), they have decided to ask all the management and accounting firms including Big fours, to stop providing legal advice and opinion to their clients, after a recent Supreme Court order that observed that the expression "to practice the profession of law" under the Advocates Act, 1961(“Act”) covers both litigation as well as non-litigation matters and must be handled only by advocates.

The SILF have decided to take up the issue with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and it could adversely affect the transactions of the foreign auditing firms.

The SILF headed by Senior Advocate Mr. Lalit Bhasin has continuously joined issues on the subject to oppose entry of foreign law firms into India unless a framework

(i) Addressing the concerns of Indian Law Firms and lawyers, and

(ii) Acceptable to the Indian legal fraternity is first put into place. Firms losing a substantial amount of revenues and clients. He said that in case the accounting firms continue to provide legal advice to their clients, the government too must intervene.

The Secretary, Mr. Manoj Kumar said "Even the practice of non-litigation matters by foreign law firms in India, by whatever name called, has to be in compliance with the provisions of Advocates Act, 1961."

Section 29 clearly specifies that only 'advocates' as defined under the Act are entitled to practice the profession of law in India. An advocate is defined as a person who enters into the rolls of a State Bar Council under the provisions of the Act. The management and accounting firms’ including the ‘big fours’ auditing firms does not comply with this provision.

In 2010, the Bombay High Court ("Bombay HC") in the case of Lawyers’ Collective v. Bar Council of India & Ors held that the 'practice of law' would cover both litigious and non-litigious (advisory) practice. On this basis it was held that foreign lawyers not enrolled as advocates under the provisions of the Act would not be entitled to practice law in India. Thus, foreign lawyers are not entitled to practice law in India, rules Bombay HC.

Bar Council of India (“BCI”) has repeatedly reiterated that the Indian legal profession is both service-oriented as well as based on business principles and hence it was important to understand the legal profession in the Indian context.

The challenge now lies at the doorstep of the Government of India’s law ministry to implement the order of the Supreme Court in letter, spirit and intent and to take all actions necessary to prevent foreign law firms from practicing law in India by any name or any other surrogate arrangements.

Needless to say, the apex court’s ruling is a major setback to the foreign law firms already operating in India under the guise of liaison offices or similar set-ups.

Thus, the task is cut out for the law ministry with all Indian stakeholders like BCI, SILF and numerous law firms standing by its side to prevent entry of any foreign law firms in India.

The  author can be reached at: SPSC@legalserviceindia.com

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Article Comments

Posted by FARIDA A SHAIKH on October 19, 2012
i need a good lawyer for goa asap

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