Litigation versus Non-Litigation: ‘Practice of Law’ under the Advocates Act
Gitanjali Shankar & Amba Uttara Kak*
Volume 3 Issue 3 (2010)
This article seeks to analyse the decision of the Bombay High Court in Lawyers Collective v. Bar Council of India and Others1 (hereinafter Lawyers’ Collective judgement). The petitioners had challenged the permission granted by the RBI to certain foreign firms to set up liaison offices in India. The Court went on to examine whether non-litigious
practice comes within the ambit of ‘practice of law’ under the Advocates Act. In this article, the authors seek to examine the judicial reasoning employed by the Court and then seek to provide alternate reasoning which may possibly have resulted in a different conclusion. It is also suggested that the conclusion of the Court does not in actuality further the objective of regulating non-litigious practice. Expansive reading of the present laws is insufficient for the purpose and specific regulations need to be brought in to do so. Furthermore, the article will read into the potential impact of this judgement on ancillary areas such as ‘best-friends’ agreements and India’s commitments to the WTO under the GATS.