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The Ethics of Cross-border Legal Practice

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UWA Law School Online CPD Series: The Ethics of Cross-border Legal Practice - Michael Douglas

About this Event

In its report on The Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession, the Law Society of NSW stated that ‘[t]echnology, trade and people are crossing national borders more frequently than ever before. This brings risks and opportunities and requires lawyers to adapt as certain skills and knowledge become more important’. It argued that ‘[a]n increase in cross-border transactions and disputes mean that a knowledge of private international law is increasingly important to the practice of law’. The globalisation of legal practice provides the impetus for this presentation.

The presentation will explore Australian lawyers’ ethical obligations with respect to cross-border legal issues. To what extent, for example, is an Australian lawyer obliged to understand the content of foreign law selected by a contract denoting that system of law as the applicable law via a governing law clause? When can an Australian lawyer deploy their understanding of common law, for example, to understand how a Singaporean court would address a certain issue, in circumstances where Singaporean and Australian courts would possess concurrent jurisdiction? Calls to be a ‘global lawyer’ are trendy but may fudge our fundamental ethical obligations as officers of Australian courts.

CPD Value: 1 CPD point in Competency Area 3: Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

About the presenter

Michael Douglas is Senior Lecturer at UWA Law School where we teaches conflict of laws, civil procedural, federal jurisdiction and various other subjects. He has expertise in the conflict of laws (private international law): he co-authored the 10th edition of Nygh’s Conflict of Laws in Australia with (among others) Justice Andrew Bell, President of the NSW Court of Appeal; co-edited a book on Commercial Issues in Private International Law with (among others) Oxford Professor Andrew Dickinson; advised the Hague Conference on Private International Law as an Invited Expert at the diplomatic session that produced the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention; and in 2018 he guest lectured on the subject at Harvard Law School. Michael is a consultant at Bennett + Co within the firm’s commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice. In a previous life, Michael did an Honours degree in philosophy and once taught ethics at university.

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