More than 250 lawyers back pro-EU campaign
Topics: Company and commercial
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.
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'.