Our written evidence to the House of Lords EU Services Sub-Committee has been published.
The evidence covers:
- priorities for the future relationship on market access and judicial co-operation
- preparation in case of no trade agreement being secured
- government consultation with the sector
We believe that it's vital that the government ensures that services – particularly legal services – are prioritised during the negotiations.
The UK should ensure it is negotiating on its areas of strength by ensuring an ambitious deal on services, and not just playing to the EU strengths by focusing on goods.
The UK and EU future relationship should contain provisions for services in the economic chapter of any free trade agreement (FTA), including:
- the freedom to provide temporary services, particularly advice on English law
- the right to individual establishment
- routes for firms to establish in EU members states (e.g. ability to partner with local lawyers and share profits)
Any FTA should be complemented by provisions for civil and criminal judicial cooperation, as well as co-operation in areas of family law and commitment to international human rights obligations.
These do not necessarily need to be constituent parts of the FTA, but could instead form separate agreements, as with the Lugano Convention, which provides for recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments between EU and EFTA states.