Foreign lawyers, firms can operate in India: Bar Council


    In Context

    • Recently, the Bar Council of India permitted foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in India.
    • The Bar Council of India had notified the Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022.

    About the Rules

    • A foreign lawyer registered under rules shall be entitled to practice law in India in non-litigious matters only.
    • The foreign lawyers and law firms  need to register with BCI to practice in India if they are entitled to practice law in their home countries.
      • But, they have not been permitted to appear before any courts, tribunals or other statutory or regulatory authorities.
    • Section 29 of the Advocates Act, states that only advocates enrolled with BCI can practise law.
    • They are allowed to practice transactional work /corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts and other related matters on a reciprocal basis.


    • These rules will help to address the concerns expressed about the flow of Foreign Direct Investment in the country and making India a hub of International Commercial Arbitration.
    • Many countries have already allowed foreign lawyers to practice foreign law and diverse international legal issues and arbitration matters in their countries in restricted fields with specific and prescribed conditions.

    Bar Council of India (BCI)

    • About: 
      • The BCI is a statutory body established under the section 4 of Advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India.
      • Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents the Indian bar.
    • Functions:
      • It prescribes standards of professional conduct.
      • It also sets standards for legal education
      • grants recognition to universities for degree in law 
      • Safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates
      • Promote and support law reform
      • Deal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred by a State Bar Council
      • Organise and provide legal aid to the poor.
      • Recognise foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for admission as an advocate.
    • Structure:
      • It consists of members elected from each state bar council, and the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General of India who are ex officio members.
      • The council elects its own chairman and vice-chairman for a period of two years from among its members.