Brexit deal: the work has only just begun warns Law Society
News of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU27 was today greeted with a mixture of delight and disappointment by solicitors’ leaders as it emerged that though legal services are included in the deal, there is little in the substance at this time to facilitate this vital sector – worth £60bn gross value added to the UK economy annually.
“While we await sight of the full deal, we are pleased that the worst outcome – no deal – has been averted. We congratulate the negotiating teams on both sides for ensuring an agreement has been reached with, at least, some elements for legal services,” said Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene.
“However, it is important to see this deal as the beginning of a process as we try to find new ways of working in and with the EU.
“Legal services are not only hugely valuable to our national economy but also to our global reputation – worth £5bn to exports – and so for us this cannot be the end of the story but the starting point: and we will be working with national governments, bars and law societies across the EU to improve the framework for the international legal practice of non-EU lawyers, for their joint practice with local lawyers and for international legal co-operation for the benefit of all clients.
“We also continue to urge the EU to support the UK’s accession to the Lugano Convention which would allow civil and commercial judgments to be recognised cross-border and allow ordinary citizens and small and medium size businesses to enforce their rights without taking up prohibitively expensive actions in multiple courts.
“Furthermore, we are urging early determination on data protection adequacy to come on the tailcoats of the deal to ensure data flows between the UK and EU can continue.
“The Law Society first warned before the referendum took place that the impact of leaving the EU would have a disproportionate effect on legal services – which underpin so many aspects of global Britain.
“As well as playing our part in that we will also continue to do our bit to inform solicitors about steps they need to take to prepare for the end of transition.”*
Notes to editors
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