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May’s approach to ‘eye-watering’ Brexit negotiations gets cautious welcome from solicitors’ leaders

News the UK will keep a focus on issues like civil judicial co-operation, intellectual property and company law, as well as mutual recognition of qualifications during Brexit negotiations, was today given a cautious welcome by the Law Society of England and Wales.

“The complexity of our relationship as an EU member has left an eye-watering number of issues to be resolved in the wake of the Brexit vote,” said Law Society president Joe Egan, responding to Theresa May’s Mansion House speech.

“Irrespective of Brexit, English and Welsh law is a globally recognised product that oils the wheels of global commerce.

“But we also know that in all but one of its free trade agreements with non-EU states, the EU27 has not opened up its legal services markets.

“Barring solicitors and barristers qualified in this jurisdiction from advising clients in the EU27 would be bad for UK PLC – to which our sector contributes well over £26bn each year.

“During her speech, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May indicated a focus on areas like company law and intellectual property protections and we welcome this.

“We also welcome the prime minister’s recognition of the importance of EU and UK businesses being able to provide services in person.

“But that is just the tip of the iceberg and we continue to convene legal expertise to ensure a good deal for our sector, for our citizens and for EU nationals once we leave the EU. We also are clear in our support for a sensible length of transition to avoid a cliff edge scenario.”

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 | | 020 8049 3750