There has been a lot of excitement over the announcement that law firms can open up offices in the special economic zones in India and this move would initially start off with Gujarat International Finance Tee-City. This change has been promoted by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry who have been very active over the last 12 months about opening up the Indian legal market. However, there is no indication that the Indian Bar Council or the Society of Indian Lawyers have been consulted on this change nor whether the Indian Government have considered whether changes need to be made to the Advocates Act.
This is another positive sign of the Indian Government's desire to liberalise the Indian legal market as it seeks to encourage greater foreign investment into India. Many investors want to use their usual professional advisors, including lawyers, when investing into a new market for the first team and the Indian Government recognise that. However, only time will tell whether this is the real deal or another false dawn.
As first reported by Live Law this week, the ministry of commerce and industry, which has been spearheading the government’s efforts to liberalise the legal market, alongside the law ministry, has revoked a ban on the practice of law from special economic zones (SEZs), by issuing a notification in the Gazette of India amending the Special Economic Rules governing Special Economic Zones on 3 January 2017.