I am working to ensure our legal services sector remains an economic powerhouse when we leave the European Union, writes lord chancellor Elizabeth Truss.
Our legal services industry is one of the nation’s economic powerhouses – generating £25.7bn annually for the UK economy.
The quality of lawyers and the independence and incorruptibility of our judiciary means English law is both celebrated and adopted the world over. English law is now the law of choice for 40% of all the world’s commercial transactions.
So as we forge a new future as Global Britain we can be confident that our world-leading legal services sector will go from strength to strength.
As the prime minister has said, the UK will be an outward-facing nation and we will use this time of change to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.
Britain has always been a great place to invest, do business, resolve disputes and seek justice and it always will be.
It is in the interests of all European countries who want to do business here that we maintain civil justice cooperation when we leave the EU. So I am working with the secretary of state for exiting the EU, David Davis, on this in relation to our negotiations.
Nowhere will this be more critical than London. The Rolls Building is home to the world’s largest and most sophisticated commercial court. Four of the world’s top ten law firms have their headquarters in London, which acts like a magnet for international litigants attracted by the promise of a just and certain forum for dispute resolution.
With a common law justice system that is embedded in commerce and business transactions the world over, English law remains an unbeatable prospect for companies operating in the international arena.
Businesses across Europe and around the world will continue to choose our courts and our legal services because we offer unrivalled legal expertise and peerless legal history.
Long before European Union regulations came along we were negotiating and abiding by internationally agreed standards and conventions. Long before our business interests were bound up with Brussels, our reputation for legal excellence ensured English law was sought after and replicated across the globe.
There may well be countries tempted to position themselves as an alternative jurisdiction to the UK. There are, after all, 320 other legal systems operating in the world that are based on common law but none are a match for our 900 years of legal history.
Our legal services have been refined across jurisdictions and forged through the centuries to deliver for governments, multinational corporations, state-owned organisations and sovereign wealth funds.
Two-thirds of all claims issued in the commercial court last year involved at least one litigant from outside the UK. They have put their faith in our justice system because they know a decision from our courts carries the hallmark of integrity that is recognised the world over.
From Magna Carta to the Bill of the Rights, our legal expertise has been centuries in the making but ever evolving to meet the needs of the modern world. Britain’s lawyers are used to operating in an international market and English law is one of our nation’s best exports.
Every hour of every day, thousands of commercial contracts and transactions drawn up here pass seamlessly across the time zones of the world.
We have exported our principle to uphold the rule of law to every corner of the world.
We are and will always remain, Global Britain.
The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP is lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice