Admission of Experienced Foreign Legal Practitioners
31 January 2024
In December 2023, the Law Council adopted a Policy Position with respect to the admission of experienced foreign legal practitioners.
This position acknowledges the growing demand in Australia and internationally for experienced legal practitioners capable and authorised to practice law in multiple jurisdictions.
Factors driving this demand include:
- the need to support businesses to realise opportunities from bilateral and multilateral agreements that commit to liberalising domestic markets for goods and services;
- the increasing need for specialist legal practitioners with experience and expertise in international markets, particularly in relation to financial markets, mergers and acquisitions, and infrastructure projects; and
- increasing mobility and connectedness of people and families between nations, which will increase demand for cross-border legal services to support private and family-related transactions and needs.
For many years, the eligibility of an experienced foreign legal practitioner for admission to the Australian legal profession has been based on a policy of substantial equivalence of the foreign legal practitioner’s original academic qualifications and training measured against those required of an ‘entry-level’ Australian applicant for admission.
The Law Council considers that entry-level qualifications and training should not be the benchmark against which to assess the suitability of an experienced foreign legal practitioner for admission as an Australian legal practitioner. The appropriate benchmark should be the foreign legal practitioner’s current legal skills and experience, acquired through years of successful legal practice.
The Policy Position sets out principles the Law Council of Australia regards as the appropriate framework for admission of experienced foreign legal practitioners to the Australian legal profession.
Read the full policy position paper below.