Indian Govt puts LLPs on the agenda

The Indian Government is in discussions about allowing firms to convert to LLP status in the latest move that would pave the way for liberalisation of the country’s legal system.

The government is currently in talks with attorney general Milon Banerjee regarding LLPs, but has given no indication of when the outcome will be announced. If the proposal is given the go-ahead, a number of related laws, such as the one forbidding law firms from advertising themselves, would also have to be revised.

The arrival of LLPs is seen by many as a key step in opening up the legal services market. Lord Karan Bilimoria, chair of the Indo-British Partnership, said their introduction would “remove one of the barriers”.

However, Sylun Ali, policy adviser in the Law Society’s international department, pointed out that one part of the Indian discussions could centre on adding clauses to LLP legislation regarding the activity of foreign lawyers in the country.

Allen & Overy partner Sanjeev Dhuna said conversion to LLP status would allow Indian firms to compete with international firms, effectively paving the way for liberalisation. Currently there is a number of restrictions to the way they operate; for example, under the 1932 Indian Partnership Act firms cannot have more than 20 partners.