Lawyers who come to South Australia from overseas and wish to practise foreign law in this State will need to be registered under legislation to be introduced to State Parliament today.
The proposed changes will bring South Australia into line with other states and territories and better protect clients, through regulation and compliance to Australian standards. Registration may also make it easier for foreign lawyers to operate in South Australia, through increased public confidence in their services.
"Until now there has been no requirement for a foreign lawyer to register in South Australia to provide foreign law services," Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said.
"By requiring legislation, lawyers will need to meet the standards and conditions of the registration and there will be greater oversight of who is practising, their qualifications and conduct.
"Ultimately that will provide greater protection for consumers, and it will also serve to preserve public trust in the legal profession."
Foreign law is the law of a country when practised outside of that country. Foreign lawyers are able to practise foreign law in Australia where they are qualified to practise law in their home country or foreign jurisdiction.
The requirement for registration is supported by the Law Society of South Australia, the South Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia. The Law Society would administer the registration requirements.
The Law Society are of the view that the inclusion of the foreign lawyers provisions will facilitate the provision of legal services across South Australian borders and will also provide export opportunities for South Australian legal practitioners and practices.
The proposed changes would not affect or be any competition to Australian lawyers who will continue to provide advice and representations under Australian Law.