RBI asks Banks not to approve proposals of Foreign Law Firms to open branch office in India.

    On November 23, the RBI asked banks not to approve any proposal of foreign law firms to open a project office, branch office, or liaison office in the country under FEMA for the purpose of practicing legal profession.

    RBI issued a circular in this regard in view of a Supreme Court order wherein the apex court held that advocates enrolled under the Advocates Act, 1961 alone are entitled to practice law in India and foreign law firms or foreign lawyers cannot practice the profession of law.

    The RBI also said that that the Banks are also directed not to grant any approval to any branch office, project office, liaison office or other place of business in India under FEMA for the purpose of practicing legal profession in India.

    Further, the banks shall bring to the notice of the Reserve Bank in case the Advocates Act is violated or any of its provisions are violated.

    The RBI in October 2015 had advised banks not to grant any fresh permissions or renew permissions which are granted to any foreign law firm for opening of liaison office in India till the policy in this regard is reviewed by the Supreme Court.

    Thus, the circular stated clearly that foreign law firms or companies or foreign lawyers or any person who is not a resident of India, ARE NOT PERMITTED to establish any liaison office, project office or any branch office or other place of business in India with the purpose of practicing legal profession.