The Justice Select Committee has described the impact of Brexit on legal services as a “cause for concern”.
In a report published this week, the Committee argue that upholding cross-border legal practice rights and access to “valuable regulations” on interstate commercial law should make up two of the four main justice aims for Brexit negotiations.
It said the implications of Brexit for the legal services sector give “cause for concern, but not hyperbole”.
“Most of the sector’s strengths are unabated, and sensible discussions between the UK and EU ought to protect many of the advantages of their existing co-operation.”
It added that the European Court of Justice (CJEU) should continue to play a role in respect of “essentially procedural legislation”.
The report further says that protecting the UK as a “top-class commercial law centre should be a major priority for the government in Brexit negotiations, given the clear impacts on the UK economy of failure to do so”.
Earlier this month, Mickael Laurans, head of the Law Society’s Brussels office, said there were around 200 foreign-owned law firms in London which might consider seeking a “new European hub location” if they did not have access to practise rights across the EU.
“Any off-the-shelf free trade agreement would be a setback to current levels of market access and national treatment” for UK legal services, he said.
Robert Bourns, President of the Law Society, said: “The legal sector underpins the UK economy – and not just because it is worth more than £25.7 billion in its own right. In every part of the economy people rely on the advice and support of solicitors.
“A one per cent growth in the legal services market creates 8,000 jobs. Each £1 of additional turnover stimulates £1.39 in the rest of the economy. And the legal economy grew by 8 per cent last year.”