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Delhi Bar Council orders big 4 audit firms to refrain from practicing law

New Delhi, MDelhi Bar Council orders big 4 audit firms to refrain from practicing lawThe Bar Council of Delhi, in an interim order on Friday, directed four big accounting firms -- E&Y, Deloitte India, Price Water House Cooper's and KPMG -- to refrain from practicing law until further orders from the lawyers' body.

The Bar Council has also asked these firms for a list of all advocates enrolled across all their offices, in any capacity.

The Bar Council action came on a complaint by senior advocate Lalit Bhasin alleging that though all these firms were accounting firms originally, they were engaged in law practice, which was not legally permissible.

Bhasin, who is also the President of the Society of India Law Firms, said that the accounting firms have been encroaching into legal practice and their practice of hiring law graduates to provide non-litigation legal solutions was in contrast with the Advocates Act.

While Chartered Accountants are governed by the Chartered Accountants Act, legal practice is governed by the Advocates Act.

"The Council is of the view that in the meantime, all the firms... refrain themselves from indulging in any such practice until further orders," said a statement from the Delhi Bar Council.

As per media reports, in November 2018, an expert panel constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs suggested amendment to the Advocates Act to allow audit firms to offer legal services.

The Bar Council of Delhi will hear the matter next on July 12.

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