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UK – Australia Free Trade Agreement

The Department for International Trade said the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will facilitate the recognition of UK professional qualifications across ‘many sectors’, meaning junior lawyers in the UK may be able to practise in Australia without having to re-qualify.

Corresponding to an in-principle agreement, legal services will ensure that UK and Australian lawyers will be able to advise their clientele as well as minister arbitration, mediation and conciliation services in the other country’s territory using their original qualifications and title. The government has also said that they will‘establish and drive collaboration’ between regulators. This change has the ability to give junior lawyers more opportunity to work abroad. Both countries have pledged to make singular changes to their youth mobility schemes, making them available to nationals aged 35 or under for up to three years, without having to undertake regional experience.

What do people think?

The Law Society welcomed the agreement, saying the profession will benefit from the changes. Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “The UK-Australia FTA can create opportunities for our legal professions to work together to address the remaining barriers to cross-border practice, which will make doing business easier for clients”. However, Boyce does recognise that “there are still practical barriers that prevent the realisation of the full benefit of trade in legal services between our countries”.

Would you grasp this opportunity with both hands?

It is clear that when people think of Australia, they think outback, scenery and most of all kangaroos and koalas! However, it has so much more to offer – Australia is a growing destination; it offers great opportunity to aspiring young lawyers who want to further their skillset and experience.  While the FTA is still in progress and the final agreement is yet to come, the right steps are being taken for junior legal professionals to be able to practice law abroad. 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.

Will the legal profession benefit from the new trade deal with Australia?

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