Indian Court Rejects Effort to Bar Foreign Lawyers

Yesterday, the Madras High Court in Chennai rejected the petition of an Indian lawyer, A.K. Balaji, which argued that foreign lawyers were unlawfully practicing in India when they counseled their clients about non-Indian law (e.g., American, British or international law).  Balaji contended that foreign lawyers treat the practice of law as “a trade and business venture for earning money[,]” rather than for the purpose of “serv[ing] society[,]” as do their Indian brethren.  The Madras High Court disagreed with this parochialism, noting that Balaji’s proposal would “result in a manifestly absurd situation where only Indian citizens with an Indian law degree … could practice foreign law” even though such law is not generally taught in Indian law schools.  ACC submitted a petition to intervene in the Madras High Court and will participate before the Indian Supreme Court, should Balaji appeal the lower court’s decision.

Balaji v. Government of India (Madras High Court 2/21/2012)