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Court gridlock warning as government ponders ‘no deal’

2 November 2017

Confusion over legal rights in the wake of a ‘no deal’ Brexit could create a wave of litigation causing gridlock to UK courts, the Law Society of England and Wales warned today.

As the House of Lords EU Select Committee considers the impact of ‘no deal’, the Law Society argued a ‘no deal’ scenario could tarnish the reputation of England and Wales as the jurisdiction of choice for dispute resolution and scupper the ability of businesses to operate effectively.

Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws argued a ‘no deal’ scenario should be avoided at all costs.

“The confusion caused by severing all ties with the European Union will have a significant impact on our legal system,” she said.

“We can expect a tremendous volume of litigation as companies challenge government and other agencies in the courts to obtain clarity on their legal rights.

“Companies operating in the UK and EU will also face the challenge of dual regulation, a burden which will fall hardest on small and medium-sized businesses.

“Many companies will struggle to function when they are forced to wait months to understand their legal rights under a new framework.”

The legal services sector contributed £25.7 billion to the UK economy in 2015 making it the second largest in the world.

Christina Blacklaws added: “Any scenario which clogs our court system will lead to international corporations looking elsewhere to solve disputes.”

The Law Society also warned a ‘no deal’ scenario would bring an end to a whole raft of reciprocal arrangements in areas such as data protection and chemical regulation. Such a scenario would also threaten security and policing collaboration between the UK and the EU. 

Notes to editors

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Ben Davies | +44 (0)20 7316 5592