UK law ministry trips to India cost 100,000 pounds

August 1st, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 1 (IANS) The UK’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has spent more than £100,000 over the last five years on trips to India as part of its ongoing efforts to liberalise the country’s legal market. The government department has spent more than £75,000 sending representations to India over the period, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act request to UK’s top commercial lawyers’ magazine, Legal Week.

The figures also show that the MoJ has spent £25,350 entertaining Indian ministers and hosting meetings on governmental budgets.

According to the figures, seven trips have been made to India on behalf of the MoJ since 2003, costing the ministry up to £40,600 per visit on travel, living and entertainment costs. However, the numbers stated are not fully inclusive for all five years.

In its response the MoJ said: “The majority of these visits were made by ministers and officials to encourage the Government of India to press for liberalisation of India’s legal services sector.” The body also funded the travel of some members of the Indo-British Legal Forum to attend a series of meetings in Delhi this March.

Lawyers travelling to India on the MoJ’s behalf in recent years include: Clyde & Co senior partner Michael Payton, who attended the March forum; Clifford Chance (CC) consultant Sir Thomas Legg; Ashurst consultant Ian Scott and Pinsent Masons partner Martin Harman.

CC India group head Chris Wyman said: “The trips the MoJ has taken have been very valuable indeed in terms of moving the process forward. Their ongoing support will be critical to us getting where we want to be.”

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