Finally, some years after the Australian Government first announced and then consigned to the dustbin its ‘Australia in the Asian Century‘ whitepaper, a fair amount is being written around the issue of exporting Australian professional – read, ‘legal‘ – services, including:
- The Australian – ‘Service exports to Asia a $163bn opportunity‘ (subscription required),
- The Australian – ‘Free trade opportunity knocks for services providers‘ (subscription required),
- The College of Law website – ‘#AusLaw: Australian Legal Exports are Trending Globally‘ – from which the title of this blog post is derived, and
- The Conversation – ‘Australia’s five pillar economy: services‘.
While it is undoubtable that the export of Australian legal and professional services is a trending issue on an upward trajectory, it is still probably a little early to say (as the College of Law post does) that “Australia is now trending on a global scale” (vis-à-vis the export of our professional services) – although, to be fair, the export of Australian lawyers (to which the College of Law would have a particular interest), particularly to the UK and New York, has been ongoing since the early 1980s and continues to this day.
Moreover, given that the Australian International Disputes Centre (AIDC) was established way back in 2010 (with the assistance of the Australian Government and the Government of the State of New South Wales) and still lags behind both the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, the export of #Auslaw has undoubtedly been a slow burn.
So while I for one applaud the latest chatter around an impetus to export #Auslaw, I hope that this time we are serious and take the time to have a robust conversation about whether or not we wish to seriously promote (and lobby) the export of #Auslaw overseas. And, assuming we decide we do wish to progress with the export of #Auslaw overseas, we put in place concrete national plans to move this initiative forward rather than taking the lacklustre state-based approach we have to date.