An expert panel constituted by the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) has recommended that Advocates Act be amended to allow audit firms to offer legal services, a proposal which is being opposed by law firms.
For Indian firms to evolve into global leaders in auditing, legal, consultancy, and ancillary services, it is necessary to rationalise the Advocate Act 1961 to facilitate development of Indian audit firms as well as legal firms,” stated the panel’s report.
If this proposal is accepted, it would mean that the Indian affiliates or ‘network firms’ can officially use the names of the Big 4 while auditing balance sheets. And if the proposal to allow audit firms to provide legal services is accepted too, lawyers apprehend that it could create a scenario where the Big 4 could also offer legal services, at a time when foreign law firms are not allowed to operate in the country.
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