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May highlights importance of legal services in vision of Britain’s industrial future

23 January 2017

Legal services were today highlighted as a glowing example of a “highly competitive” sector by prime minister Theresa May as she set out Britain’s new industrial strategy green paper.

In comments welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales, Mrs May pledged to take action to boost “world-leading” parts of the economy.

Responding to today’s green paper Law Society president Robert Bourns said: "We are pleased the global reputation of the law of England and Wales and the competitiveness of UK legal services has been recognised by the prime minister in the government’s industrial strategy.

“UK law is respected globally. This reputation has been established over centuries and is based on a number of factors: the courts, judiciary, London as a key financial centre and the quality of education. Business, whether international or UK based, relies on the expertise and independence of our solicitors, as well as the courts in England and Wales and on our law to resolve cross-border commercial contract disputes.

“In our submissions to government we have made the case that legal certainty should be one of the main objectives for the formal Brexit negotiations. This should include:

  • continued access for UK lawyers to practise law and base themselves in EU member states
  • maintain mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdiction clauses across the EU in civil cases
  • maintain collaboration in policing, security and criminal justice.

Robert Bourns added: "We will help the government to work effectively with the legal services sector to continue to promote England and Wales as the jurisdiction of choice and ensure that legal certainty is maintained throughout the process of withdrawal.”

He concluded: “We are pleased the government is committed to supporting the legal sector’s success in the post-Brexit era, especially given its role in supporting business and the vital contribution it makes by enabling entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and bring them to world markets."

Notes to editors

The legal sector is worth £25.7bn to the economy, contributing £3.6bn to net exports and supporting an estimated 370,000 jobs. Every 1% growth in the legal sector results in the creation of 8,000 jobs, while an additional £1 of turnover stimulates £1.39 in the rest of the economy. In 2015, the legal sector grew by 8%.

The Law Society’s report on Brexit and the law was submitted to the government in December.

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: Law Society press office | +44 (0)20 3189 1880