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UK-EU breakthrough – now the hard work really begins

8 December 2017

News the starting pistol can now be fired on the process to forge a new relationship with the EU was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

“We’ve woken up to news of a breakthrough – this is to be welcomed. But the real complexity of the task will now become clear as we try to forge a new deal which works for all parties,” said Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws.

“We’re particularly pleased that the UK Government has asked for a two-year transition including remaining for that period in the customs union and the single market. The complexity of our relationship with the EU means that negotiations must be given adequate breathing space to achieve the best possible deal for the UK and the EU.

“The law of England and Wales and the expertise of the legal sector is one of the most feted UK exports – and is a vital contributor to UK PLC being worth more than £26bn.

“For global business it is the jurisdiction of choice and it’s the second largest legal services sector in the world.

“That must remain the case. In the interest of ensuring legal certainty it is vital the UK Government manages as orderly an approach to Brexit as possible.

“That’s why we favour a phased approach – a ‘no deal’ scenario would be the worst possible outcome of the negotiations.

“The breadth of changes which will result from exiting the European Union means citizens and businesses will need time to familiarise themselves with changes and adapt.

“While some large businesses have in-house legal teams to help them cope with the new relationship with the EU, SMEs and individuals could struggle with any deal - or no-deal - scenario that results in significant changes.”

There are hundreds of agreements covering all areas of business, law and life that need to be renegotiated.

“A transition period will provide certainty for all parties and give them time to prepare for the UK’s future relationship with the EU,” Christina Blacklaws added.

Notes to editors

The Law Society’s expert spokespeople are available for interviews.

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 | ben.davies@lawsociety.org.uk | +44 (0)20 7316 5592