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India set to allow foreign lawyers to act in arbitration cases

The Indian government hopes to pass an amendment to the law that would allow foreign lawyers to represent clients in arbitration cases, according to press reports from the country.29 Jul 2015

Sudhanshu Pandey, joint secretary at India's commerce ministry, told a delegation from the India National Bar Association of the plans, the Global Legal Post said.

Kaviraj Singh, the general secretary of the association, confirmed this, describing the proposed move as a "major step" and saying that government would try to pass an amendment to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act during this session of parliament, the report said.

Middle East and India infrastructure expert Sachin Kerur of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said that this development "continues from a 2012 statement of the Chennai High Court that foreign lawyers could do business in India on a 'fly in, fly out' basis when they are advising on foreign laws".

"Interestingly, the High Court observed at the time that if foreign law firms cannot undertake arbitrations in India on behalf of clients this would be detrimental to the hopes of India building an international hub for arbitration," he said.

"This latest development therefore builds on a widely held belief that India stands to gain immensely by recognising the significant economic benefits of ensuring international commercial arbitration can flourish in India. Together with reforms to the Arbitration Act itself, India is likely to be on the verge of new era in its legal business market," Kerur said.