Parliamentary briefing: Spring statement 2019
We have produced a parliamentary briefing ahead of the chancellor's Spring statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019.
The legal sector's contribution to the economy
- The UK's legal services market is the second largest legal services market in the world, and the largest legal services market in the EU.
The sector employs and trains over 380,000 people and adds over £26 billion to the UK economy, representing 1.5% of UK GDP.
- The UK is a global hub for legal services. Net exports in the UK's legal services sector amounted to £4.4 billion in 2017 and, despite Brexit, England and Wales remains an open jurisdiction and the proud home of over 200 foreign firms and over 2000 registered foreign lawyers from nearly 100 separate legal jurisdictions.
- A no-deal Brexit could cost the legal sector up to £3 billion in turnover by 2025, and the government should avoid a no-deal scenario at all costs.
- As a world leader in legal services, the UK also has an opportunity to become a leader in legal technology. Lawtech has the potential to become a valuable export for the UK economy and improve productivity.
- The government should invest in lawtech to help the UK maintain its position as a global legal centre.
- Our criminal justice system is crumbling due to years of underinvestment.
- To ensure the sustainability of the system and support access to justice, the government must increase the means test thresholds to the level they would have been had they risen with inflation since 2010 and legal aid remuneration rates by inflation.
Access to justice
- Access to justice and the rule of law are fundamental British values that underpin our constitution.
- Unnecessarily prolonged legal battles put extra pressure on the justice system. The government should restore legal aid for early legal advice for housing and family cases.