Delay in opening up Korean legal market

As was inevitable, the collapse of the Doha round of free trade talks have put on hold the limited freeing-up of the Korean legal market. They have now been put in the queue behind the interminable negotiations of the bilateral FTA with the US, according to the England & Wales Law Society Gazette.

Reading the tea leaves through rose-tinted spectacles, an official at the Law Society said that

many believed the Korean government wants to see further liberalisation than the Bill provides, and would seek to enable foreign firms to enter partnerships with local practices within three years.

Meanwhile the chairman of the British-Korean Law Association, which was launched last month, said:

“The Bill is not proving to be popular among the major firms in Korea, but it is gaining support at the mid and lower levels and we’re given to understand that 60% of Korean lawyers are in favour of it.”

OK, so the big boys don’t like the existing bill, and yet the Law Society is hoping for developments which will make it even more favourable to the foreign law firms? Something doesn’t seem right here. Whatever, UK Lawyers shouldn’t count on their six-month holiday in Korea any time soon.

Thanks again to Louise for her diligent reading of her trade rag.

Update 23 October 2006:

Shilla barricade

The above image (from the Joongang Daily) is not meant to be a barricade against foreign lawyers. It’s security against potential demonstrators against the current round of FTA talks taking place at the Shilla Hotel. Yonhap’s account suggests we shouldn’t expect any agreement any time soon.

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