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Legal services under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement

The Law Council of Australia notes that Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) share a common legal tradition and similar professional standards, and our two professions enjoy a close relationship. In both jurisdictions, the option to spend a period practising in the other country (or participate in a secondment or exchange) is an attractive prospect to advance a lawyer’s career.

In terms of outward movement, in the years following admission, Australian junior solicitors often choose to avail themselves of opportunities to transfer to UK branches of their firm, or otherwise leave their employment, to pursue several years of legal experience in the UK. In terms of inward movement, traditionally it is the more experienced UK solicitors who seek to relocate (either temporarily or permanently) to Australia and gain local admission.

The Law Council understands that the priorities expressed by the UK legal profession with respect to improved legal market access include:

(a) Greater recognition of professional legal qualifications obtained in the UK to enable admission without additional study (i.e. a Mutual Recognition Agreement);

(b) Greater uniformity of regulation across States and Territories with respect to practise and admission of foreign lawyers;

(c) Clearer guidelines for admission with prior experience and conditional admission under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (LPUL); and

(d) Greater availability of business structures.

Read the full submission below.
 

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