More than 250 lawyers back pro-EU campaign

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  • Martin Coleman

More than 280 lawyers, including partners at major City firms, have signed a report making the case for Britain to remain a part of the European Union.

Signatories include 39 silks, the current adviser to the government on terrorism, as well as senior partners at Clyde & Co, Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith.

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The report details what it says are the benefits EU membership brings to the UK, including 'a safer and more secure society, easier and cheaper transport and travel, guaranteed access to the single market and more affordable energy'.

It also tackles what it says are misconceptions around the EU, and what alternatives might be open to the UK if it were to leave.

The report concludes that the benefits to EU membership to the UK are substantial and are often taken for granted.

At an event launching the report, Martin Coleman (pictured), a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, admitted that in the short term Brexit might benefit some lawyers, as he said it would create a ‘regulation fest’ as the laws that previously had been governed by the EU would have to be redrafted into UK law.

But he added: ‘Often what is good for lawyers is not necessarily good for the UK economy.’

He said that as solicitors and barristers offer services, it means they are likely to do well when their clients prosper, and warned that if a Brexit damaged the UK economy this would harm clients.

He said: ‘Anything that results in a material downturn on the UK economy is going to impact on all those providing services in the economy.’

John Davies, a partner at Freshfields and chair of Lawyers In For Britain, the group behind the report, said he expects that more lawyers will add their support.

A rival group set up earlier this year - Lawyers for Britain - is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. The group says it has the support of solicitors, barristers, legal academics, retired judges and constitutional specialists. It is run by intellectual property barrister Martin Howe QC from 8 New Square. It described the Lawyers In report as 'long and tedious', saying it is 'misleading in its use of statistics, depressing in its view of our own democracy and political system, and misleading in the way it suggests that David Cameron’s renegotiation is legally binding'.

Readers' comments (43)

  • I am fully supporting Britain leaving the EU and standing on its own feet again. There are some powerful arguments for staying (if you take out the hyped project fear stories) that people really need to know and understand in order to make an informed decision, so I for one really welcome this report. It has been difficult to source Remain material that is not a David Cameron inspired "Project Fear" doomsday scenario - a sober look at the real facts and reasons to remain in the EU will really benefit a lot of people. It is the biggest issue I keep coming up against - people asking for facts - such people tend to be very critical of the Government's attempts to offer reasons to remain, as they are often put forward as real fear based propaganda. I now await the report from the Leave lawyers' group.

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  • Where can I see a copy of this report please?

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  • It's funny but I personally don't know anyone who wants to remain and certainly no one who has put forward a convincing argument to demonstrate that it benefits the man in the street to remain in the EU. The support for Brexit appears to be growing. As for remaining giving us safer and more secure lives- hardly with open borders- the contrary in fact , as we will be open to any criminal or terrorist who wishes to come here . Nevertheless I look forward to the report to hear the arguments they put forward

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  • If 250 are for IN that leaves over 100,000 solicitors who are either for OUT or who have not yet decided.
    Silly headline.
    I am for OUT for a number of reasons but one of them is the quiet movement towards changing all our legal system into that which harmonises with the continent - a movement which has been gaining momentum in the last few years and not for the better
    The Commonwealth which represents two sevenths of the world population harmonises with our system and I cannot wait to rekindle our close relationship with all the 39 countries of the commonwealth which we have neglected for 40 years. Add to the above the fact the USA legal system is also based on ours, and add to that the fact that USSR invited our jurists to assist them to rebuild their legal system following its collapse thanks to its revolution in 1917 we must have something very precious which I have not wished to lose.

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  • To paraphrase James Carville : 'It's the economy, stupid'. It was in the USA in 1992. It is in the UK in 2016. It's the best possible reason for remaining in the EU.

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  • Anon, 6.07 I have to take issue with you on that one. Greece is broke, Italy is broke, France is broke, Spain is broke. The economy is the very thing which will drag us under if we remain hobbled to the Euroland in the way we are at present. We may not be in the Euro, but we shall be contributing, albeit indirectly, to the bail out of those countries. The printing, yes PRINTING, of Euros was raised yesterday from 60bn/month to 80bn/month, YES EIGHTY BILLION EUROS PER MONTH. And the interest rate of ECB was reduced to - 0.4%. Economic catastrophe is just around the corner and we have to get out.

    And why is it that the fire engine I saw yesterday was a Volvo? When I was young they were always Dennis and made in Guildford. And why is the DNR rolling stock Siemens? The loss of that contract cost many jobs at Bombardier in Derby. And why are all our ambulances Mercedes? Europe is taking purr jobs. And it has ruined our fishing fleets with the CFP.

    The economy is one of the fundamental reasons why we should leave. It is a disaster

    But I always believed in 'audi alter am parted' so fire away please And 'audi' is not another make of German car in this context....

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  • PS Sorry, 'audi alteram partem' of course...damn predictive text again.

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  • Yes David France is such a basket case that you prefer to live there rather than the UK.Hypocrite comes to mind.

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  • Congratulations, Anon the Last. However long a thread on this topic extends, it's a pretty safe bet that the first piece of personal abuse will come from a "pro-European".

    No, sorry, I see your namesake at 6.07pm anticipated you.

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  • What has the EU ever done for us? Peace for one thing but it (and that of course includes UK delegates) negotiates our international trade agreements for another. It's really a creature of international rather than domestic law - so most of us don't know what it does (and that is a good thing - because law like sausages shouldn't be seen being made, so the fact we don't know means it's working) Renegotiating 40 years of international agreements with countries like the US, the rest of the EU and China (none of which think we should leave the EU) will be fun. On the detailed stuff I happen to like alot of EU law it's generally pretty well written and often aspirational - unlike the complicated rubbish that Westminster has generated over the last 20 years. Besides of all the European basket case economies - the UK with its massive public and private debt mountains and generally abysmal management and productivity is probably the most vulnerable. It astonishes me that there is any lawyer out that that cannot immediately see the implicit benefits of the EU and the constitutional stability it has brought to the UK and its neighbours. If David Crawford really does live in France I hope he has his residency visa application ready and the French authorities don't read the Legal Gazette. The world will be a very weird place if we leave and there will be an awful lot of people looking very foolish very quickly.

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