Interim order on Chinese law firm from operating here | Daily News

Interim order on Chinese law firm from operating here

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order preventing Baqian Law Group Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, a Chinese law firm from engaging in any legal work in Sri Lanka.

This order will be effective until the final determination of this petition. Attorney Nayantha Wijesundara filed a Fundamental Rights petition challenging the decision of the Registrar General of Companies to incorporate a limited liability company which purports to provide legal services in Sri Lanka.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice S. Thurairajah granted leave to proceed with this Fundamental Rights petition. Accordingly, the petition was fixed for argument on October 24.

In this petition, the petitioner cited the Registrar General of Companies, the Chinese law firm Baqian Law Group Lanka and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner stated that legal professional services could be provided only by natural persons who, by virtue of being members of a noble profession, are personally liable for their services. However, companies have limited liability only. The petition also stated that in terms of the Supreme Court Rules that applies to Attorneys-at-Law, there are many restrictions placed on lawyers with regard to touting and advertising. But, as Baqian Law Group is not regulated by the Supreme Court they would be able to freely engage in advertising in providing legal services.

The petition states in these circumstances, the petitioner is denied equal protection of the law in terms of Article 12(1) and the petitioner is also discriminated against in violation of rights guaranteed under Article 12(2) of the Constitution. The petitioner also claims that by incorporating a private liability company, the Registrar General of Companies had also violated the petitioner’s right to freely engage in a lawful profession guaranteed by Article 14(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The petitioner states that given the valuable service the legal profession provides society, and given the negative repercussions of allowing a limited liability company to provide such services, and also given that the aforementioned circumstances affect the legal profession as a whole, this petition is also filed in the Public Interest.



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