The opening of a legal firm by a Nigerian in Delhi has not only lawyers up in arms against the unauthorized practice but has also revived the decade-and-a-half-old debate over the more important question Law firm- should foreign lawyers be allowed entry into India?
It is often asserted that India has the potential to become one of the world's great legal centers in the 21st century, alongside London and New York. It has innate advantages in its common law Language and customs language capability. But until very recently India had not recognized the role that advisory legal services have to play in attracting foreign investment and developing a broader-based services economy.
India being a signatory to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which is an organ of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is under an obligation to open up the service sector to Member Nations.
"Services" would include any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authorities as defined in GATS. "A service supplied in the exercise of governmental authorities" is also defined to mean any service that is supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers.
Legal profession is also taken to be one of the services which is included in GATS. With the liberalization and globalization policy followed in multinationals, India and unknown corporations are increasingly entering India. Foreign financial organisation and facilities concerns are also entering India in a fairly large number. Their business transactions in India are obviously governed by the Indian law and the foreign law firms (FLF's) and foreign legal consultants (FLC's) being not fully conversant with the Indian legislation require the assistance of lawyers studying and enrolled in India. This has led to the idea of entry of foreign legal liberalization and consultants of legal practices in India in keeping with the guidelines evolved by the International Bar Association (IBA) and the GATS. The Proponents Act, 1961 which governs official technique in India requires to be amended, if it plan is being put in approach.
Law "training" is not characterized inside your Proponents Action but a scanning through of Segments 33 and 30 suggests that carry out is limited to physical appearance until now any the courtroom, tribunal or expert. It does not include legaldocuments and suggestion, alternative methods of resolving disputes and such other services. Section 24 (i)(a) of the Act provides that a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an Advocate on the State Roll if he is a citizen of India provided that subject to this Act a national of any other country may be admitted as an Advocate on the State Roll if the citizens of India duly qualified are permitted to practice law in that other country.
Section 47 of the Act provides that where a country specified by the Central Govt. in this behalf by a notification in the Official Gazette prevents the citizens of India from practicing the profession of law subjects them to unfair discrimination in that country, no subject of any such country shall be entitled to practice that profession of law in India.
The basic principles set out by IBA on the question of validity of FLC's are fairness, standard and no-discriminatory openness, solution and clearness, professional responsibility, certainty and flexibility. The guidelines laid down by the IBA are as follows:
"Legal consultant means a person qualified to practice law in a country (home country) and who desires to be licensed to practice law as a legal consultant without being examined by a body or an authority to regulate the legal profession in a country (host country) other than a home country, such a person has to apply to the host authority for a license by following the procedure for obtaining a license subject to the reasonable conditions imposed by the host authority on the issue of licenses. This license requires renewal. A legal consultant has to submit an undertaking alongwith his application not to allow, shift and support deal with a client found or assigned unless the legal consultant does so in a manner authorized by the host authority to agree and abide by the code of ethics applicable to host jurisdiction besides to abide by all the regulations and rules of both the hold and place jurisdiction.