- My LS
Brexit and the legal profession
The UK left the EU single market and customs union on 31 December 2020.
Shortly before that date, on 24 December 2020, the UK and the EU had reached a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
This agreement affects how UK solicitors and law firms can provide services in the EU, and covers areas such as intellectual property (IP) law, anti-money laundering (AML) and value added tax (VAT).
The agreement does not cover civil or commercial judicial cooperation or family law.
There are substantial changes affecting English and Welsh solicitors servicing clients in the EU from 1 January 2021:
- EU laws including the EU lawyers' directives no longer apply to English and Welsh solicitors. The rules governing their practising rights vary in each EU member state, country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
- freedom of movement to the continent has come to an end. There are new rules governing the ability of solicitors to cross the border to each EU member state, countries in the EEA and Switzerland
- Brexit also impacts matters including enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, EU legal professional privilege, tax and data flows
What you can do now
- Carry out our 10-step checklist for law firms
- Read our country guides on practice rights:
- Review our guidance on:
- legal services in the free trade agreement
- EU legal professional privilege
- European lawyers and how England and Wales remain open after the end of the transition period
- EU data flows
- intellectual property
- anti-money laundering
- law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
- civil judicial cooperation (taking of evidence, service of documents, rules on jurisdiction, alternative dispute resolution, enforcement of foreign judgments and choice of court agreements)
- family law (private family law and public children law)
- Review the UK government's country-specific guides on providing services and travelling for business to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which contain and/or signpost information on matters including travel and entry requirements that apply to UK service providers travelling to each EU/EEA country and Switzerland
- Read the country-specific practical guidance for service providers on the European Commission's EU Immigration Portal
- Attend upcoming Law Society events, watch our webinar on travelling to the EU on business and listen to our podcast on data flows and the end of transition
Webinars and events
We're holding a series of webinars to help solicitors and firms adapt to post-Brexit rules and regulations.
Recordings of the following webinars are available for free online:
- travelling to the EU on business after Brexit (16 March 2021)
- competition law in a changing landscape (27 January 2021)
- choice of court agreements and commercial cross-border cases (26 January 2021)
- immigration rules for bringing in talent (20 January 2021)
- divorce rules in cross-border cases (19 January 2021)
- data protection and flows (14 January 2021)
- children law in cross-border cases (13 January 2021)
- intellectual property (12 November 2020)
- cross-border civil and commercial judgments (9 October 2020)
- family law (1 October 2020)
- registered European lawyers (9 September 2020)
Resources from government and other bodies
Read the Information Commissioner's guidance on data protection from the transition period, including a specific guide for small businesses.
Read the government guidance on changes to IP law after the end of transition.
Send your feedback or specific queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.