New trade deals with Australia and New Zealand can address long-standing barriers

From today (31 May), the UK will enter into new free trade agreements (FTA) with Australia and New Zealand. The agreements pave the way for greater market access for professional services, as the government carves out its post-Brexit trade relationships.

Law Society of England and Wales president Lubna Shuja said: “The ratifications of the UK trade deals with Australia and New Zealand are a positive development for legal services.

“Both agreements lock in the existing right for UK lawyers to advise clients on home-country law and to provide arbitration, mediation and conciliation services in the other jurisdiction using their home-country qualifications and title.

“The creation of a legal services regulatory dialogue in the Australia agreement is especially welcome and brings together legal associations from the UK and Australia to work towards greater liberalisation of legal services trade.

Commenting on the barriers currently faced by UK lawyers and law firms, Lubna Shuja, said: “The Law Society of England and Wales was listed as a dialogue participant in the text of the FTA. We hope this will give us the opportunity to address some of the barriers that UK lawyers and law firms face operating in Australia in future.

“This includes seeking greater recognition of qualifications and business structures for law firms working in Australia, including the UK limited liability partnership. The dialogue is the first of its kind established under an FTA. Depending on its outcomes, we hope this can serve as a useful model to be replicated in other subsequent trade agreements.

“In New Zealand, we hope that the ‘behind the border’ barriers to trade are addressed via further cooperation.

“Both of these deals strengthen existing bilateral relations and deepen market access, making it easier for professionals such as lawyers to operate in each other’s economies.

“We look forward to continuing our work with government and deepening our discussions with key counterparts in Australia and New Zealand.”

Notes to editors

Read the government’s press release on the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deals

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928