October 26, 2017

Ethics Body for lawyers to improve ease of doing business in India


In order to increase the ease of doing business in India, the central government recently floated the idea of establishing an independent Ethics Body to regulate the legal profession in the country.

The suggestion was made by the officials of Department of Justice during a meeting attended by PMO officials and sectaries of Finance and Niti Ayog. The officials pointed out that India is ranked 130th out of 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business Report. The unsatisfactory regulation of legal profession was identified as an obstacle in improving India’s ranking in enforcement of contract parameters.

India’s performance is even shoddier in enforcing contracts where it stands at 172th rank. India performed poorly in numerous parameters like: time taken to file and serve a case, time for trial and to obtain the judgment, time to enforce the judgment, attorney fees, court fees, enforcement fees,among others. In India, a contract dispute takes 1420 days to get resolved, as against the South Asia average of 1099 days.

The meeting also discussed the need to regulate professional fees of lawyers. The Attorney Fees accounts for 30.6% of the cost of a claim, which is much higher than the South Asia average of 21%. The lack of regulation of the legal profession has been blamed for these numbers.

“Regulatory framework of the legal profession needs a review. There is need to regulate a professional fee and ethics which can be done by an independent body instead of elected body of the Bar,” the meeting observed.

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