DTI adds its voice to India licences row

THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry is calling a special meeting this week to discuss the crisis facing foreign lawyers in India.

Officials will meet law firms on Friday to discuss how to ease the situation for foreign firms with offices in India. The Law Society has also been invited to attend.

The move comes following the Bombay Lawyers Collective's efforts to revoke the

licences of three foreign practices including UK firm Ashurst Morris Crisp.

According to Arun Singh, head of the India Department at Masons, the group will “take a view as to how English solicitors can contribute to the changing Indian scene and discuss the actions of the Lawyers Collective partnership”.

He added that “there shouldn't be too much anxiety. Hopefully reciprocal arrangements will emerge.”

But Wilde Sapte India lawyer Pratap Amin says he is not surprised at the collective's actions.

“I have a lot of sympathy with the approach taken by the Indian lawyers and their resistance to the approach of foreign lawyers,” he said.

He said the meeting would probably result in those attending being asked to lobby the appropriate channels, but added he was not optimistic about a favourable resolution for foreign law firms.

He added that there was a lot of ill feeling among some Indian lawyers about the aggressiveness of foreign firms in picking up business in India.