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    Foreign legal expertise to benefit Indian legal fraternity

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    The Bar Council of India has recently announced its decision to allow foreign lawyers and law firms to practice law in India, but only in the areas of international law and international arbitration. This decision has been made on the principle of reciprocity and will be governed by new rules that were notified on Thursday.

    Dr. V. Balakista Reddy, an eminent international law professor, has stated that India has an obligation to implement WTO/GATS agreements as it is an original member of the earlier GATT and the present WTO. The Indian government had previously attempted to implement these agreements and allow foreign lawyers, but faced resistance and court orders. However, any nation that is a member of an international treaty must implement the treaty obligations in good faith. With this decision, India has fulfilled its international commitment.

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    Dr. Reddy believes that the Indian legal fraternity will benefit from foreign expertise, as many arbitrations on commercial disputes in India are currently happening abroad. With this decision, they can now be settled in India, which will improve legal standards and the quality of legal services in the country. However, the major challenge will be foreign degrees and their recognition, which may lead to a monopoly of a few firms and individuals in the legal profession.

    He also noted that conflicts may arise with existing laws and rules, including the Advocates Act. Nevertheless, in a globalized world where independent nations are becoming increasingly interdependent, it is inevitable to open up the legal profession as well. Not allowing foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in India also leads to international consequences. Therefore, the legal profession in the country must gear up and make this challenge an opportunity.

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    Rajesh M
    Rajesh M
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