The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has commented
on the Government’s Brexit negotiation plans, contained in the white paper published by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, yesterday. Robert Bourns, the president of the Law Society, commented that the “Brexit white paper contains a number of positive commitments that will be welcomed by the legal sector”.
Mr Bourns stated that the Law Society had been working with Government representatives in the months following the EU referendum, in attempts to represent the legal sector’s priorities in the Brexit process. The legal sector is reported to have contributed £25.7 billion to the UK economy in 2015, and employs an estimated 370,000 people. The Law Society was keen to protect the recognition of European practising rights of English and Welsh solicitors. Responding to the publication of the white paper, Mr Bourns commented that it was “gratifying to see so many of our key concerns have been taken on board by ministers”. The white paper acknowledges the necessity to maintain key cross-European legal mechanisms, particularly in relation to security and criminal justice, but also in the enforcement and mutual recognition of civil court judgments. Mr Bourns commented that “the Government’s express recognition that “effective civil judicial cooperation will provide certainty and protection for citizens and businesses" is a welcome commitment to these core parts of our legal system”. The Law Society also welcomed the Government’s aim for the freest possible trade in services between the UK and EU post-Brexit, but that the detail of any such deal would be crucial.