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South Africa Urged To Liberalise Legal Services Market

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

21 August 2006


The UK government last week urged its South African counterpart to liberalise the country's legal services market by removing restrictions on foreign lawyers.

International Legal Services Minister, Baroness Cathy Ashton met with members of the South African Government to discuss opening up the market to UK legal firms.

Although South Africa is an attractive market for foreign lawyers, there are many difficulties facing them. They cannot enter into partnership with South African lawyers, are subject to onerous re-qualification requirements, and are required to be citizens or residents of South Africa in order to practise in the country.

Baroness Ashton explained last week that:

"There are great opportunities for British legal firms overseas. South Africa is fast moving away from being an inward-looking protectionist economy and becoming an internationally competitive one."

"Further liberalisation of South Africa's legal services market would greatly help this process. A liberal legal services market helps to attract foreign direct investment; brings more work into the country for both local and international lawyers and helps local lawyers raise the level of the services they provide, so increasing their competitiveness on the international stage."


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