Sunday, November 24, 2013

Muller: Liberalization of Trade in Legal Services

Gilles Muller has published Liberalization of Trade in Legal Services (Wolters Kluwer 2013). Here's the abstract:

The internationalization of legal services and the development of corporate law firms have led to profound changes in the practice of law, giving it a more commercial and international focus. These changes, coupled with a general intolerance of restrictions to competition, have led governments to reconsider the way they regulate the profession.

Liberalization of trade in legal services takes place both at the multilateral level within the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and at the regional level within preferential trade agreements (PTAs). This book analyses the liberalization process that takes place at both levels. It is the first publication to undertake an in-depth analysis of the obligations contained in these agreements.

Starting from an overview of the regulations related to legal services – and focusing on barriers to cross-border legal services that result from these regulations – the analysis goes a long way towards pinpointing which regulations should be removed and which adopted or preserved in order to facilitate international trade in legal services. Insightful considerations explore the cross-border features of such elements as the following: cross-border mergers and acquisitions; intellectual property rights; new financial instruments; business-to-business dispute resolution mechanisms; business permits; company formation; tax burdens; regulatory compliance; transparency rules; residency and local presence requirements; restrictions on (e.g.) ownership, investment, entry, fee-setting, and advertising; and extension of accountancy disciplines to legal services.