Home » UK Gov and Australia Boost Legal, Tech Trade Ties

UK Gov and Australia Boost Legal, Tech Trade Ties

  • Minister Freer visits Australia as part of GREAT Legal Services campaign to promote the UK legal and tech sectors
  • Trip to build on a free-trade deal between the UK and Australia to reduce trade barriers and promote further economic prosperity
  • Last year’s conference generated millions of pounds of business deals for lawtechs

Taking place over the next 2 days (13 and 14 May 2024), Justice Minister Mike Freer will lead a delegation of UK professionals specialising in legal tech services – and builds on the success of last year’s conference which resulted in millions of pounds worth of business deals.

They will interact with Australian professionals through a series of workshops, roundtables and networking events arranged in partnership with the Department for Business and Trade.

This will support UK lawtechs – companies which make technology or software to provide legal services – to win business and grow their market presence in Australia. Figures show UK legal services providers already exported £88 million worth of business to Australia in 2023.

The trip will help develop a pipeline of Australian legal tech firms to be set up or expand in the UK, further cement the UK’s position as a world leader in legal services and legal technology and support smaller regional firms to trade internationally.

Built around Sydney’s annual Legal Innovation and Tech Fest, this is the second year in a row a programme of events to facilitate legal knowledge sharing between the legal sectors of both countries will take place. Companies who attended last May reported business wins of £16.5 million.

Justice Minister, Mike Freer, said:

I’m proud of our legal services’ world-leading reputation and that’s exactly why I’m visiting Australia as well as Singapore – so we can continue sharing our expertise with others and learn from them to maintain our competitive edge.

Importantly, promoting the UK’s legal and tech sectors abroad helps build connections and ultimately bring investment back to the UK – just as we’ve seen from the success of last year’s conference which resulted in millions of pounds worth of business deals.

The delegation is made up of legal tech firms from across the UK with a range of innovative solutions, including some already turning over £20 million a year. For example, Avvoka, a legal tech firm, are expert in legal document automation – meaning they create automated templates using software for legal documents such as contracts – and already have clients around the world, including in the US, Singapore and Australia.

Of particular interest to Australian counterparts is learning more about how the UK Government supports innovation in the lawtech sector and whether any initiatives such as LawtechUK – a government-backed initiative dedicated to driving digital transformation in the legal sector – could be replicated, where the UK is seen as a global leader.

British Consul General and Deputy Trade Commissioner Asia Pacific, Louise Cantillon said:

I am delighted to welcome Minister Freer and these eight UK legal tech companies, who epitomise the evolution of legal tech in the UK and are eager to understand and engage with the Australian market.

Australia and the UK have a long legal history together, and we have entered a new and exciting era in our bilateral relations as we approach the anniversary of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement’s entry into force. The FTA has created new legal and professional services opportunities for both countries, and strengthened the exchange of talent, ideas, and innovation.

A full programme of events is taking place from 9 to 17 May 2024 in Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne. In Singapore, Minister Freer will be looking at the latest technology on probate, court transcripts, AI and discussing how to reduce the legal services regulatory barriers for British lawyers. In Australia, the minister is leading a trade delegation of lawtech companies.

The visit progresses wider UK Government interests in boosting bilateral trade and cooperation with Australia, including the utilisation of a free-trade deal which came into force nearly a year ago to reduce the barriers to exchanging goods and services.

This is part of the government being able to secure unprecedented legal services market access commitments in four Free Trade Agreements (EU, EEA-EFTA, Australia and New Zealand) covering £2 billion worth of UK legal services exports.

Notes

  • The UK-Australia FTA provides certainty for legal-tech companies that UK lawyers can advise on home (UK), foreign and international law in Australia using their UK titles and qualification, without needing to requalify again Australia. The Legal Services Regulatory Dialogue, a forum of key representatives from both countries’ legal sectors which was established in the FTA, facilitates greater knowledge and expertise sharing, and has committed to exploring closer UK-Australia cooperation on emerging issues relating to legal technology and artificial intelligence.