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The future of Britain in Europe: legal services

The Law Society | Law Society

3 min read Partner content

The Law Society publishes a report looking at the potential impact of an EU referendum on legal services.

If the UK's relationship with the rest of the European Union were to change as the result of significant renegotiations, or the UK choosing to give up its membership, the effects would be felt throughout the legal profession. The Law Society has published a detailed report looking at the relationship and potential impact of changes through the legal lens.

Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: "With a referendum on the future role of Britain in Europe on the horizon, we want to provide our solicitor members with the opportunity to assess what impact Brexit or renegotiation of terms might have on their own area of legal practice and their firm as a whole and to contribute to the debate. Solicitors have a wealth of insight to offer.

"This report opens the discussion on the future of the legal sector in Europe. The ramifications of a change in the UK's position in Europe span every aspect of legal services, from civil and criminal justice to the environment, taxation and intellectual property rights. It is important that solicitors working in law firms and in-house consider the issues that could affect both their firm, the legal sector and their clients."

The report also explores the issues solicitors and the legal services sector as a whole will face, should the European political landscape change. In compiling the report, the Law Society has interviewed solicitors in the City and other London firms, the regions and Wales to gather views on the impact of an exit from the European Union on the UK legal sector. Working closely with the Society's specialist committees, the research team has carried out an analysis on the effects withdrawal would have on different areas of law and the rights granted under EU law.

The report covers:

  • the impact on specific areas of law

  • the impact on the business of law and England and Wales as a global legal services centre and jurisdiction of choice

  • the impact of alternatives to membership of the EU if the UK were to leave, for example participation in the 'internal market', being subject to rulings from the Court of Justice of the European Union and contribution to the EU budget.

Download a copy of our report

Earlier this month we published an economic modelling report which found that the legal services sector would be disproportionately disadvantaged compared to the whole UK economy if the UK were to leave the European Union. Read our press release and report on economic modelling.


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