The government has published more details of its plan to enable UK solicitors to practise in Australia without requalifying, promising greater mobility for young professionals.
The Department for International Trade said the UK-Australia free trade agreement will facilitate the recognition of UK professional qualifications across ‘many sectors’, allowing lawyers to practise in Australia without having to requalify.
According to an in-principle agreement, legal services provisions will guarantee that UK and Australian lawyers can advise clients and provide arbitration, mediation and conciliation services in the other country’s territory using their original qualifications and title. They will also ‘establish and drive collaboration between regulators’ with the aim of removing barriers to practise, the government says.
The agreement could also give junior lawyers more opportunity to work abroad. Both the UK and Australia have pledged to make 'unprecedented' changes to their youth mobility schemes, making them available to nationals aged 35 or under for a total stay of up to three years, without having to undertake specified regional work - for example on a farm.
The Law Society welcomed the agreement, saying the profession will benefit from the changes. ‘We now look forward to taking new steps to facilitating international business with our colleagues in Australia,’ said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.‘While the final agreement is yet to come, these commitments are a step in the right direction for both our legal professions and we will continue to seek the best deal for members in these discussions.’
The agreement also commits to increasing opportunities for digital trade across the economy. ‘This is particularly important for the legal sector and we will continue to emphasise the unique professional obligations of lawyers in any data discussions,’ said Boyce.