Top QC, Dapinder Singh has written an article for The Times in which he details his hopes for the prospective liberalisation of India’s legal market. Mr Singh is a preferred QC of Wilford Smith who we regularly instruct on behalf of our clients in relation to serious fraud defence and other complex cases.
In his article, Mr Singh explained that India had a “golden opportunity” to ease restrictions on its legal market, which would enable this sector to develop and match the substantial financial growth that has taken place in the country.
Mr Singh writes that a crossroads has been reached in respect of how legal services are provided in the Indian market. Previously, India’s legal sector has been the subject of significant restrictions on how legal practitioners can operate, with non-LLP firms prevented from growing beyond a 20-partner limit, bans in place stopping firms from advertising their services and foreign law firms prevented from operating in the country.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has recently adopted a more progressive position on the last of these points, proposing that foreign law firms may be able to conduct business in India if adequate regulations are implemented. This is seen to be reflective of the Modi Government’s position more generally, which has sought to open up the legal market to those with specific areas of expertise in the face of inflexibility on the part of a small number of stakeholders.
Mr Singh quoted Maninder Singh, the additional solicitor general, who told the Supreme Court: “We want foreign lawyers to come so as to not deny the Indian advocates of the same privilege in other countries.”
In his article, Mr Singh makes a compelling argument that opening up the Indian legal market is fundamental in ensuring that the growth of the Indian commercial sector continues apace. Such changes would benefit the legal sector as a whole, both in terms of those currently practising in this area and clients who are seeking the best possible legal advice available.
Mr Singh notes that economic reforms have resulted in substantial growth in the country and that the Indian corporate sector has effectively integrated with the global economy, attracting significant levels of foreign investment in the process. There is now a growing demand for high-quality legal services that are reflective of India’s position as one of the world’s economic powerhouses and a failure to implement these changes may result in the capping of further growth. This, Mr Singh says, is an opportunity to pursue liberalisation in the Indian legal market generally, easing the current restrictions on how practitioners operate, affording clients a better service and enabling Indian firms to play an important role in the global legal market.
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