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Indian, UK lawyers to sign pact

Indian and British lawyers will sign a pact to share experiences, exchange information and impart training.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 17:42 IST

In the first signal of Indian law firms getting ready for global competition, lawyers from India will sign a pact with their British counterparts to share experiences, exchange information and impart training.

The Society of Indian Law Firms and Britain's Law Society will ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on January 18 in New Delhi regarding cooperation in the legal profession.

"It is a path-breaking deal between legal professionals of the two countries. We would forge a common link for developing relations," SILF President Lalit Bhasin said.

The agreement comes at a time when a host of developed countries such as the USA, UK and European nations want India to allow foreign law firms to operate in the country.

In fact, as part of WTO negotiations, the commerce ministry had last year sought comments from stakeholders for opening up the sector. While Indian law firms favour such a proposal, various Bar associations have opposed the move.

Indian and British law originated from a common system, so there would be no difficulty for legal professionals of both countries to work together, he said.

"We would send our people there to get trained in international laws and similarly Britishers would come here for internship in our law firms," Bhasin said, adding it would help professionals of both countries to understand the legal system of each other.

Referring to opposition by Bar associations, Lord Karan Bilimoria, co-chairman of Indo-British Partnership Network, said the people blocking it were not the ones who would be affected as foreign firms were interested only in corporate advisory and mergers and acquisitions (and not litigation).