SC rules: No practising, no setting up office; foreign lawyers can…

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The Bar Council of India (BCI) too had issued notice to MPs, MLAs and MLCs who continue to practice law, following Upadhyay's submission that since the MPs, MLAs etc. are being paid salary by the government, they can not be allowed to practice, as per the Advocates Act and BCI Rules.

The apex court also held that foreign lawyers can appear in global commercial arbitration subject to relevant institutional framework and rules.

Justice Goel, while pronouncing the judgement, said that even for the limited purposes they would be subject to the Bar Council of India's Code of Conduct.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the judgments of the Madras High Court in A.K.Balaji v. 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.

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In the alternative, he has sought for a direction quashing Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Rules as ultra vires the Constitution and its basic structure, and to permit all Public Servants to practice as Advocates.

Due to a phenomenal increase in worldwide arbitrations involving foreign litigants, foreign law firms and lawyers have started appearing in many legal proceedings in India. Indian law firms were also not allowed to operate from any of the SEZs.

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