Jurisdictional Restrictions on Cross Border Practice of Law: Will Technology make a difference?

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Historically, jurisdictional restrictions on cross border practice of law were not of concern to countries due to the fact that most clients’ legal matters were confined to a single jurisdiction and a lawyer’s familiarity with the laws of that jurisdiction was the most important qualification. However, due to rapid globalisation of economies and societies made possible through technology, clients now need lawyers to assist them in cross border transactions or to advise them on laws of different jurisdictions. While this realisation is compelling lawyers with local expertise to internationalise their legal services, most jurisdictions still have in place regulations restricting the practice of law to only those admitted to practice in their respective countries. Notwithstanding these restrictions, technology continues to make the practice of law a global phenomenon and there is need to address the law “as it is becoming” in contrast to the law “as it has been”. With this in mind, the primary research question this thesis will engage is – to what extent will jurisdictional restrictions on cross border practice of law be impacted due to technological change? This question will be addressed by utilising a socio-legal methodology, supported by the ideology of Jacques Ellul in relation to technology, to examine how technology drive changes in society, and in particular, changes in the legal profession. Reliance will be placed on the substantive theory of technology to examine the seeming impossibility of controlling technology for the purpose of stopping legal issues crossing borders, since technology is a dominating force whose progression is capable of directing itself without human intervention. Ultimately, this research aims to utilise the substantive approach as the theoretical foundation for evaluating the extent to which technology is likely to make the practice of law borderless. The outcome of this research is intended to encourage national regulators of legal practice to give due consideration to the review of current rules on cross border practice of law, especially amongst jurisdictions with trade proximity and similar legal systems, in light of technology advancements.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022
Event2022 Professional Legal Education Conference: LawTech, Newlaw and NetZero: Preparing for an Uncertain Future - Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 28 Sept 202230 Sept 2022
https://bond.edu.au/files/7097 (Conference Program)


Conference2022 Professional Legal Education Conference
Abbreviated titleCPLE Conference
CityGold Coast
OtherEmergent technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital robotics, new business models, and the impacts of climate change will transform the profession, transform its community interactions, and change the way we practise and teach law.

As legal professionals and legal educators, how do we prepare for this uncertain future and provide our stakeholders with the tools to navigate change? What new models for the delivery of legal services and education will best help us, our students and our communities navigate change? What can the legal profession do differently in response to a vastly different and rapidly changing world?

The CPLE and Actium.AI Pty Ltd jointly hosted this conference to provide the answers to these and other questions, exploring our place in an unknowable future.

Thought leaders shared new perspectives on:

- Practical legal skills training
- Law student and lawyer wellness and resilience
- Legal technology and ethics
- New legal technologies including AI and Robotic Process Automation
- Legal education and legal tech training
- Future methods of legal services delivery
- Legal technology and compliance obligations
- ESG, law and legal practice
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