Global Bar conference aims to step up legal liberalisation

BAR associations from the world's leading nations are being urged to attend a special forum to examine ways of speeding up the global liberalisation of the legal profession.

The invitation for the gathering, scheduled for Paris this November, has been sent out to Bar leaders from all 27 member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by the the American Bar Association (ABA), the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Community (CCBE) and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JBA).

The three associations hope the forum will be able to thrash out a consensus on how to best liberalise lawyers' rights of establishment across the world.

As well as looking at “measures that might be taken for the reduction of impediments to the ability of lawyers to practise in jurisdictions other than that of their original licensure”, the forum will also look at the problems associated with multidisciplinary partnerships.

The catalysts for the initiative, first mooted by the JBA, are forthcoming investigations into the legal profession being planned both by the OECD and the World Trade Organisation.

However, it is understood the forum's organisers were also frustrated at the inability of the International Bar Association (IBA), to forge an agreement over rights of establishment – although the IBA's ruling council will be voting next month on a resolution affirming the right of lawyers to practise anywhere in the world when it meets in Vienna in June.

Jonathan Goldsmith, head of international at the Law Society, welcomed the forum.

He said: “The more often these issues are discussed, the more likely it is that progress will be made towards introducing a more liberal rights of establishment regime.”