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Our experts featured in future of law and innovation report

20 April 2017
Two of our experts examine how the legal profession is changing

Professor Luke Nottage and Adjunct Faculty member, Dr Andrew Bell, SC were both featured in the recently published report, The Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession.

They provided testimony on the legal dimensions associated with the contemporary and future consequences of globalisation.

An initiative of the NSW Law Society, the report is designed to help lawyers better understand and tackle future challenges and opportunities facing the profession.

Professor Luke Nottage said questions of law reform arise when Australian law needs to interact with other jurisdictions, especially to adjust to the increased movement across borders.

“If issued with appropriate references, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) could play a leading role here,” he said.

Significantly, Professor Nottage said the report accepted and will act on this recommendation that the Attorney-General task the ALRC accordingly.

He added that the areas of transnational business and consumer law highlight examples of unnecessary complexity.

“For example, there is an occasional tendency in Australia to interpret borrowed provisions inconsistency with the manner in which they operate in other jurisdictions (such as the “development risks” defence to strict product liability, borrowed in 1992 from the European Union),” he added.

“There is also a tendency for legislators to amend parts of borrowed provisions, or to import only parts of the whole, creating uncertainty (sometimes unexpectedly) because of these departures from the terms of otherwise familiar provisions.”

Dr Andrew Bell, SC said practitioners today need at least a rudimentary knowledge of when and how to apply private international law.

“This is owing to the fact that globalisation of commerce and an increase in people working and travelling abroad has produced an increase in the number of disputes that involve companies based in different countries,” he said.

“While every practitioner need not be an expert, lawyers should have a basic knowledge of the relevant principles that apply in view of the porous character of national borders and the frequency of these disputes.”

The Dean, Professor Joellen Riley also provided evidence to the inquiry for the report in relation to trends and implications concerning the future direction of legal education.