Brexit
  • 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.

Read our analysis of legal services in the TCA

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

We're holding a series of webinars and are regularly publishing guidance to support you and your firm in adapting to the end of the transition period. 

What you can do now

  1. Carry out our 10-step checklist for law firms
  2. Read our country guides on practice rights:
  3. Review our guidance on:
  4. 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
  5. Read the country-specific practical guidance for service providers on the European Commission's EU Immigration Portal
  6. 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:

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 actions regarding data protection and data flows.

Read the government guidance on changes to IP law after the end of transition.

Listen to the Home Office's podcast on the changes to the immigration system.

Further questions?

Send your feedback or specific queries to brexit@lawsociety.org.uk.

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS