Nigeria Bar Association launches survey on technology and globalisation

Following the creation of the Future of Legal Practice Committee, by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which was recently established with a mandate of facilitating significant improvement in the quality and standard of legal services rendered by legal practitioners. The NBA has now launched a survey of all its members collating the views of both the Bar and the Bench.

The views will be collated into a future report on the effects of technological innovation and globalisation on the legal profession in Nigeria. The results will then be used to inform the future direction of the Committee and its recommendation to the NBA.

View the survey here, or read more here.

Singapore and Uzbekistan sign memorandum of understanding on legal cooperation

On the 22nd of April, Singapore’s Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam SC, and Uzbekistan’s Minister of Justice, Mr Ruslanbek Davletov, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Legal Cooperation. The signing took place at the Tashkent Law Spring, an annual legal forum, held in Uzbekistan.

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation in the following areas:

  • Exchange of information on the promotion of the rule of law
  • Exchange of information on how legislation may be used to safeguard the interests of society and the economy during times of crisis, including during a pandemic
  • Sharing of experience on the provision of legal services
  • Sharing of experience and joint promotion of international commercial dispute resolution services, such as arbitration and mediation, and the joint promotion of the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

Mr Shanmugam said: “We share warm relations with Uzbekistan, and the signing of this MoU will further strengthen our ties. We are committed to further deepening our bilateral relations and cooperation in legal matters, and look forward to working closely with our counterparts in Uzbekistan.”

Find out more about the MoU and the forum. 

Bar Standards Board of England and Wales updates Brexit guidance

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has updated its handbook to reflect changes for lawyers practising in the UK. The new rules were implemented at 11pm on the 3st December 2020, and affect Registered European Lawyers (RELs) who are practising at the Bar of England and Wales, and European lawyers wishing to be admitted to the Bar. Provisions were also implemented affecting Swiss lawyers practising under the Swiss Citizen’s Rights Agreement.

The rule changes are primarily focused on definitions around licence to practice, and home qualification, as well as lawyer insurance arrangements.

Read the BSB’s full list of updated rules.


Japan Ministry of Justice approves update to registered foreign lawyer system

The Ministry of Justice in Japan has approved changes to the registered foreign lawyer system, which will expand the scope of practice for lawyers working in Japan. The changes, which are intended to improve practice conditions and expand Japan’s international legal market, are focused around three main issues –

  1. The scope of ‘international arbitration case’ has been expanded, allowing for registered foreign lawyers to participate in a greater variety of international arbitration, including cases where all parties are Japanese, under certain conditions such as the governing law being non-Japanese law. Furthermore, a definition of ‘international mediation’ has been established, which registered foreign lawyers will be allowed to undertake.
  2. The work experience requirement to become a foreign law attorney under the current law is three years, with a maximum of one year of this being work experience that can be taken in Japan. Under the amendment this has been expanded to two years, meaning that attorneys can gain more of their qualifying experience in the market they hope to qualify into.
  3. Finally, the amendment will introduce a joint corporation system, which will allow Japanese lawyers and registered foreign lawyers to form joint corporations and employ each other within these corporations, creating a wider scope of practice for these firms.  This was previously forbidden.

See the text of the amendment (PDF), or the MOJ’s press release for the changes.



WTO and World Bank launch new services trade policy database

A joint initiative between the World Bank and the WTO has led to the release of the Services Trade Policy Database (STPD), which provides information on the services trade policies and regulations applied by 68 jurisdictions in financial services, telecommunications, distribution, transport, and professional services.

At the same time, the group launched the updated Services Trade Restrictions Index (STRI), based on the updated database, which measures and compares the restrictiveness of the different countries’ policies. Allowing for greater insight into the current services trade policy patterns.

The new STPD is available here. The updated STRI is available here.

UK Government issues guidance note for a no-deal Brexit result

A scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome.

Negotiations are progressing well and both we and the EU continue to work hard to seek a positive deal. However, it’s our duty as a responsible government to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until we can be certain of the outcome of those negotiations.

For two years, the government has been implementing a significant programme of work to ensure the UK will be ready from day 1 in all scenarios, including a potential ‘no deal’ outcome in March 2019.

It has always been the case that as we get nearer to March 2019, preparations for a no deal scenario would have to be accelerated. Such an acceleration does not reflect an increased likelihood of a ‘no deal’ outcome. Rather it is about ensuring our plans are in place in the unlikely scenario that they need to be relied upon.

This series of technical notices sets out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ scenario, so they can make informed plans and preparations.

This guidance is part of that series.

Also included is an overarching framing notice explaining the government’s overarching approach to preparing the UK for this outcome in order to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit in all scenarios.

We are working with the devolved administrations on technical notices and we will continue to do so as plans develop.

Full UK Government Guidance Note Here

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Response

Bar Standards Board (BSB) Response