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    Post reform burst, UK pushes India for opening legal and accounting sectors

    Synopsis

    UK is now prodding New Delhi to open up the legal services and accountancy sectors that it has kept close for foreign professionals so far.

    NEW DELHI: Encouraged by the recent spate of economic reforms in India, the UK is prodding New Delhi to open up the legal services and accountancy sectors that it has kept close for foreign professionals so far.

    The British legal community wants to collaborate on international cases and financial arbitration where India lacks expertise, Lord Mayor of London David Wootton who is visiting India told ET.

    Wootton discussed the issue with commerce & industry minister Anand Sharma on Monday who assured that the government was in consultations with all stakeholders on the issue. A view can be taken only when the consultations are through, the minister said.

    Legal services and chartered accountancy are governed in India by self-regulatory professional bodies like the Bar Council of India and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

    "We know that the majority view amongst lawyers in major centres is that they are in favour of some element of reform," Wootton said, adding that discussion with government and Indian associations in both the legal and accountancy sectors was on. Wootton was in New Delhi with a delegation comprising representatives from British legal and financial services firms and will also visit Chennai and Mumbai.

    The Bar Council of India and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India are already in talks with their counterpart organisations in England and Wales to examine the feasibility of opening up of the sectors and possibility of future collaboration.

    British lawyers do not wish to get into the area of litigation which is very well served by the Indian lawyers, Wootton pointed out. "We think India would gain if Indian lawyers are able to combine with non-Indian lawyers on international work, financial work, infrastructure work and major commercial arbitration cases.

    Right now, these cases are mostly handled outside India, but we think India would be better off if it is done in the country by allowing international legal skills to come in," Wootton said.

    Although UK has been discussing the issue of opening up of the legal sector for several years with the Indian government and professional bodies, it is optimistic that something positive can emerge soon. "I suspect that with reforms in other sectors people will look again at the legal market," he added.

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    1 Comment on this Story

    sn2977 days ago
    it is high India tells the world: Land / labour / capital / enterprise - 4 factors of production must be managed as one whole. Movement of capital and enterprise without movement of labour is absurd. West also should open the market for cheap indian labour if India to open for knowledge sectors. Indian lawyers and doctors, engineeers and other must have mobility along with the western counterparts. May be the best brains win. If these countries call for reservation of posts for "locals" that is unjustified.
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