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Call for Streamlined Regulations for Foreign Lawyers in India for Occasional Cases

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Samuel Townend KC, Chair-elect of the Bar Council of England and Wales, has proposed that the Bar Council of India (BCI) should simplify its regulations concerning foreign lawyers and law firms practicing in India, particularly for individual barristers handling occasional cases. He suggested that while the BCI’s regulations introduced in March 2023 aimed to facilitate international lawyers’ practice in India, the registration process posed challenges for foreign lawyers who do not plan to permanently settle in India.

Streamlined Regulations for Occasional Cases

Townend emphasized that foreign advocates who only wish to handle cases occasionally on a fly-in fly-out basis should not be burdened with the full registration process. He suggested that individual lawyers from England and Wales should be allowed to participate in dispute resolution processes not based in courts without mandatory registration. This approach would be similar to Indian lawyers practicing in London on a reciprocal basis.

Collaboration, Not Competition

Townend clarified that the aim is not to compete with Indian law firms or their clients but to collaborate with Indian lawyers in domestic and international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution processes. He highlighted factors that could make India an attractive arbitration hub, including its common law system, the use of English and regional languages, and the presence of experienced domestic senior advocates.

Specialized Arbitration Bar

Justice Hima Kohli, Supreme Court, suggested the need for a specialized arbitration bar in India to promote arbitration as a niche field of expertise. She emphasized reducing judicial interference in arbitral awards to expedite enforcement, aligning with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.


Streamlining regulations for foreign lawyers handling occasional cases could enhance India’s appeal as an arbitration hub while fostering collaboration with international legal practitioners. Simplified procedures for individual foreign advocates may help expedite international arbitration processes in India.


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