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Negotiating priorities for withdrawal from the EU - evidence provided by the Law Society

10 March 2017

The Law Society has provided the Exiting the EU Select Committee with written evidence in response to its inquiry on the UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from the EU.

The Committee's inquiry is examining what the UK's objectives should be for its future economic and political relationship with the EU, what should be included in the withdrawal agreement versus the new relationship, and the need for transitional arrangement.

Our evidence highlighted the following priorities.

Ensure legal certainty

As the UK's withdrawal from the EU will lead to many changes to legal rights and obligations for both businesses and individuals, certainty and time to adapt is crucial.

Maintain the legal services sector's contribution to the UK economy

The UK legal services sector contributed £25.7 billion to the economy, employs over 370,000 people and positively contributes £3.6 billion to the UK's trade deficit. To maintain this, the government should

  • continue access for UK lawyers to practise law and base themselves in EU member states
  • ensure there is mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdiction clauses across the EU
  • maintain the system of EU rules for governing choice of law
  • provide a system of enhanced judicial co-operation in family law

Continued co-operation with the EU on criminal justice and security measures

It is vital that we continue co-operating with our European partners on criminal justice, policing and the fight against terrorism. The UK should:

  • maintain a system for cross-border co-operation of courts in criminal cases
  • continue to share information and co-operate in policing in joint security operations
  • continue to facilitate swift and collaborative action to tackle cross border issues