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AUSTRALIAN LAWYERS may see increased opportunities in Asia if the new president of the peak body representing the legal profession gets his way.Stephen Southwood QC, the new president of the Law…

AUSTRALIAN LAWYERS may see increased opportunities in Asia if the new president of the peak body representing the legal profession gets his way.

Stephen Southwood QC, the new president of the Law Council of Australia (LCA), who replaces Bob Gotterson QC, said the LCA would now broaden the legal profession’s contact with Asia.

A number of Asian economies are growing quickly and countries are investing in strong relationships with Asia to improve the possibilities for their practitioners, he said.

One of these countries is Britain, which has a million pound budget to look at the opportunities for English lawyers in Asia. According to Southwood, Australia should be doing the same. “Britain’s involvement shows how potentially significant the market in Asia is going to be,” he said.

Australia will hold LAWASIA’S biennial conference in March next year, in conjunction with the annual conference of Presidents of Law Associations of Asia, the LCA Legal Convention and the Queensland Law Society’s Symposium.

Opportunities for Australian lawyers have been identified in China, which Southwood said has a young legal profession and is looking for assistance in ensuring the profession remains independent.

Australia can help China by showing them how to maintain a relationship between the profession and the judiciary and to ensure judicial independence. In return, we will “hopefully see better opportunities for Australian practitioners there”, he said.

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