Renewed talk of liberalizing India’s legal market to allow the entry of foreign law firms has grabbed the attention of many observers. Will it really happen and what difference will it make? Rebecca Abraham reports

Remarks by India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, less than six months after a new government took the reins of power in Delhi, have rekindled talk of a possible opening of the Indian legal market.

Jaitley’s statement that “artificial defensive” mechanisms do not give protection as “people are now devising means of defying and bypassing bans”, while speaking in November at a conference on boosting services exports, was seen as a sign that the ban on foreign law firms was being rethought.

Then in early December, Business Line reported that India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry “is working on a proposal for a phased opening up of the sector in non-litigious services and international arbitration”.

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