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No scorched earth approach to EU exit

28 February 2018

Leaving the EU without a period of transition would damage the UK economy and the rights of its citizens, the Law Society of England and Wales warned today as it pointed out a customs union would do nothing to protect the UK’s valuable services sector.

“A customs union is only part of the answer - it covers some goods but not the UK’s all important professional services,” said Law Society president Joe Egan, as the organisation published its case for a period of transition in the wake of Brexit.

“But, whatever the final deal, it is imperative we have transitional arrangements in place to cover the intervening period.

“Let’s not adopt a scorched earth policy – abandoning in an instant the protections and advantages afforded by EU membership.”

Transitional arrangements must address how Britain feeds into EU matters once it has lost its avenues of influence – via the council of ministers, the commission and the EU Parliament.

They must also ensure that individuals and businesses can continue their activities seamlessly. This should include a clear agreement on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU and set out how Britain sits in relation to international agreements it was formerly party to through its EU membership

“How people live, how they trade, the solutions for when elements of life go wrong, such as divorce or a cross-border financial disputes between businesses, all these things were addressed through our membership of the EU. Now we are leaving we need an interim agreement – and a final deal,” added Joe Egan.

“Both need to give legal certainty – people need to know where they stand under the law, personally and professionally. Otherwise they may face one problem after another without easy routes to solutions.”

Notes to editors

Read the Law Society’s case for a Brexit transition

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body, established for solicitors in 1825, that works globally to support and represent its members, promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Ben Davies | ben.davies@lawsociety.org.uk| +44 (0)20 7316 5592