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EU Lords Committee on Trade in professional services - Law Society response

12 December 2016

The Law Society has provided the EU Lords Internal Market Sub Committee with written evidence in response to its inquiry into the future trade between the UK and the EU in services.

The Committee held an inquiry to determine the implications of the different levels of market access the UK might negotiate with the EU on key service sectors, including legal services.

We provided the Committee with evidence gathered from our members through our expert policy committees and our Brexit member taskforce. We told the Committee the legal sector's trade priorities for the government’s negotiations with the EU are:

  • maintaining mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdiction clauses across the EU (the Brussels I Regulation)
  • continuing access for UK lawyers to practise law and base themselves in EU member states by maintaining, or introducing arrangements equivalent to:

    i. Lawyers' services and lawyers' establishment directives
    ii. Professional Qualifications Directive and
    iii. Rights of audience before the European Court of Justice and legal professional privilege for communications in EU cases.

We  also called on the government to work with the legal services sector to continue to promote England and Wales as the governing law of contracts and the jurisdiction of choice, and London as the preferred seat of arbitration.

The Law Society’s head of Brussels Office, Mickaël Laurans, also gave oral evidence to the Committee on 27 October