Legal experts weigh in on TPP

Australasian Lawyer | 8 October 2015

Legal experts weigh in on TPP

by Samantha Woodhill

Law firms are among the many Australian businesses likely to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership signed this week.

According to King & Wood Mallesons partner Alex Baykitch, the agreement is likely to open up new markets to the Australian legal industry.

“The devil is in the detail, but the ability for Australian lawyers and firms to bid for government procurement contracts for legal services in countries such as Canada and Peru is an exciting and interesting prospect,” he said.

“The agreement is likely to open up new markets for law firms who are engaged in cross border transactions and disputes and may make it easier for firms to do work in jurisdictions that were previously closed or restricted in some way.”

Baykitch said firms are likely to see considerable work from the ISDS provisions in the partnership, protecting investors by allowing access to international arbitration as a safeguard.

“The TPP includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism which gives Australian investors the opportunity to bring a claim in international arbitration if their investment is not protected in another TPP State,” explained Baker & McKenzie special counsel, Jo Delaney.

“There are certain safeguards to ensure that each State can continue to regulate in the public interest in areas such as public health, safety and the environment.”

Baykich said the TPP is positive and looks to provide sufficient protection to investors.

“At first blush these provisions appear to be balanced, and to provide broader protections than what has been negotiated thus far in the recently negotiated China-Australia agreement.”