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India must liberalise legal service sector
September 08, 2008 11:48 IST
India needs to liberalise its legal services and capitalise on the fast expanding commerce and infrastructure in the country, else it will be considered a loser, a leading British law expert has said.
"In the last four years, 35 million pounds worth legal work pertaining to international deals have been done in India and during the same period ten times of that work was done abroad," Alison Hook, Head of International department at the Law Society of England and Wales, told PTI.
Expressing her optimism that India would 'open up (its legal sector) in due course' as the country looks for expansion abroad, Hook said, "The longer it takes, India will lose more opportunities."
She said at present America and the UK have the best legal expertise and they would open offices in Singapore or Dubai and take care of the business in India.
"Instead, India should become a hub (for handling corporate legal affairs) for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand," she said. Singapore, she pointed out, was already offering licences to British law firms if they set up their offices with local partnership.
She said the Bar Council of India is expected to meet in New Delhi towards the end of this month to take a decision on the matter.
The British Indian Lawyers Association, however, has objected to any move towards allowing entry to English Firms in India without ensuring reciprocal rights for Indian lawyers to freely provide legal services in the UK.
"To expect Indians to open their markets while studiously taking all possible measures to restrict their entry in UK would be a fallacy," the association said.
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