For the first time, English and Welsh solicitors and law firms will be able to register to practise in India on a permanent basis, under new rules published by the Bar Council of India in March 2023.
This historic development follows decades of campaigning by the Law Society of England and Wales, most recently through a visit to India by president Lubna Shuja and our international team last week to discuss these matters with the Bar Council of India and the Ministry of Law and Justice.
Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “The Bar Council of India’s decision is a significant step forward in this long-standing issue and will create huge opportunities for solicitors and Indian advocates in both countries.”
What the changes mean for solicitors and firms
The new rules will include allowing registered solicitors and other foreign lawyers to:
provide legal advice on home country law (English and Welsh law) and international law in non-contentious matters represent clients based outside of India in international arbitration matters in India.
They will also include allowing registered law firms to:
-open offices in India to provide the services above, and
-“procure the legal expertise/advice of any Advocate enrolled with any State Bar Council in India on any subject relating to Indian Laws”.
The new rules also confirmed that foreign lawyers can also advise foreign clients in India on their home-country law and international law on a fly-in-fly-out basis for up to 60 days in a year. These lawyers will not need to register with the Bar Council.
How to register
Both individual lawyers and law firms will need to register with the Bar Council of India and will need to pay a fee and a security deposit.
-will be valid for five years
-must be renewed six months before its expiry date
Applicants will need to submit documents listed in chapter III of the rules (see page 18).
For fees, see the table below:
Registration fee Security deposit Renewal fee
Individual lawyers $25,000 $15,000 $10,000
Law firms $50,000 $40,000 $20,000