Thomson Legal and Regulatory Bets on the Internet

Anticipating 350 per cent growth in the Asia-Pacific region for online legal and tax services over the next two years Thomson Legal and Regulatory (TLR) is betting its future on the Internet.

TLR's new Asia-Pacific chief executive Doug Halley said digital and online services will be the main drivers of the company's growth with demand up 20 per cent this year.

"Our expansion plans cover Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore," he said.

The company has just launched a new online resource service Westlaw International, and tax research tool Australian Tax Practice (ATP) Taxpoint.

Westlaw provides access to more than 12,000 databases with legal news and business information and includes a 24-hour helpline staffed by legal professionals.

Halley said the team would provide full customer support answering legal research questions, technical issues and service queries.

"Successful law firms provide desktop access to databases to solicitors, associates and partners as well as the traditional users such as librarians, para-legals and other support staff," he said.

"Westlaw will also include legal and regulatory information from the UK, European Union, US, Canada and Hong Kong."

ATP Taxpoint combines more than 50 databases providing information on taxation laws; the company is a preferred supplier of tax news to the Australian Tax Office.

National Office of the Information Economy (NOIE) e-commerce general manager Tom Dale said online legal resources are fast becoming an indispensable tool in today's business environment.

Dale pointed to the Australasian Legal Information Institute site which provides legislation updates as a key resource at NOIE.

Last week the Southern Cross University School of Justice held a seminar on law, electronic commerce and the digital economy for judges, adjudicators and court administrators as the profession moves to shift all legal data online.

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