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Brexit and the legal sector

  • Brext flagOur priorities

    Our key priorities for legal services and the justice system as part of any Brexit agreement are:

    • continued mutual access for lawyers to practise and base themselves in the UK and EU member states, with rights of audience in EU courts
    • civil and family judicial co-operation, including mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdiction clauses across the EU
    • collaboration in policing, security and criminal justice
    • legal certainty throughout the withdrawal process, including securing transitional arrangements
    • government collaboration with the legal services sector to continue to promote Eng-land and Wales as the jurisdiction of choice, English law as the prime governing law of contract and London as the preferred seat of arbitration

    We are engaging with the UK government, MPs, the European Commission and other stakeholders to highlight our concerns and support our members and the legal sector. We represent our members as part of groups including the Brexit Law Committee and the Professional Business Services Council’s (PBSC) Mutual Market Access Group.

    For more details see:

    The transition period

    The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 has passed parliament and therefore the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

    Under the negotiated withdrawal agreement, the UK–EU relationship will enter a transition period from 1 February. This period will see UK and EU citizens and businesses continue to qualify for many rights and freedoms across both polities, and the bulk of EU law continue to apply to the UK.

    However, the transition period will bring change to some areas of law – intellectual property is just one such area – and is a precursor to the future relationship, which the government has made clear will take the form of a free trade agreement. This is intended to come into force on 1 January 2021.

    The UK government has indicated it is not willing to extend further, although there is provision made for doing so in the withdrawal agreement.

    For more information see our guidance on the transition period.

  • Latest news

  • General election 2019: Summary of party manifestos

    Ahead of the general election, we've analysed the key justice-related pledges made in the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru manifestos.

    28 November 2019

    The UK-EU future partnership - legal services sector

    We have outlined an ideal UK-EU trading relationship for legal services post-Brexit and reviewed other options, including an FTA and trading on WTO terms.

    1 August 2019

    Our vision for law and justice

    We are calling on the new prime minister to prioritise fixing our justice system and ensuring the legal services sector remains diverse and globally competitive.

    23 July 2019

    APPG on Legal and Constitutional Affairs report: The effect of Brexit on legal services

    The APPG on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has launched a new report following an inquiry into the effect of Brexit on legal services.

    22 October 2018

    Legal sector joins forces with other professional services providers to highlight what it needs in UK-EU deal

    The Law Society has worked with other professional and business services providers to highlight the important contribution we make to UK and EU economy.

    2 July 2018

    Options for the future UK-EU dispute settlement mechanism

    This paper outlines the Law Society's views on the building blocks needed to construct a fair, transparent and accessible mechanism for the resolution of disputes between the UK and the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

    1 May 2018

    The urgency and necessity of a Brexit transition period

    In the interest of ensuring legal certainty, the Law Society is calling on the UK Government to ensure an orderly exit from the EU as soon as possible.

    28 February 2018
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