The draft International Practise Rules (IPR) no longer contain a definition of “international work”, and instead use definitions of “foreign work”, “foreign lawyers” and “foreign clients”, making it easier to define where the cab rank and professional client rules apply.

It defines foreign work as work subject to the law of a place outside England and Wales. The definition of “foreign clients” is taken from the “Centre of Main Interests” test from the law of cross-border insolvency. The definition of “foreign lawyers” is drawn from the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
Currently, the IPR adapt the normal rules for practising barristers to make them applicable to “international work”, which is defined according to where the barrister substantially performs his instructions, the residence of his lay client and where the instructions emanate from.

Under the draft new rules, the cab rank rule would apply to all proceedings in England and Wales, regardless of where the instructions come from, in order to ensure access to justice for all. However, it would not apply outside of England and Wales, where its application is often unknown and is not expected.

Therefore, instructions from a foreign lawyer on behalf of a foreign lay client to advise in England and Wales would not be counted as foreign work.
No currently permitted work would be prohibited under the draft rules. However, some work that is currently prohibited would be allowed. Barristers would, for example, be able to prepare skeleton arguments and affidavits for a foreign solicitor while he or she searches for an English or Welsh solicitor for the court appearance. This would allow the barrister to get on with urgent work without unnecessary delay.

Barristers would also be permitted to carry out, without an instructing solicitor, advisory work for a foreign client and any type of work on a foreign matter for an English or Welsh client.

The new code is due to be introduced in 2012.