Lawyers are divided on the question of EU membership, just like the public. As a profession, however, they are answering the prime minister’s call for facts and arguments presented in a ‘calm and rational way’. Our roundtable on issues raised by June’s Brexit referendum highlights your privileged role here – as business owners, trusted advisers and of course citizens able to cast a vote.
In places there is a clear dissonance in lawyers’ facts and arguments and those presented by leaders of the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns. On commercial disputes, they see ways to minimise the shock of Brexit, steering clients to arbitrations that will be enforceable in any country.
Financial services lawyers see possible damage to the City through the granular medium of the ‘passporting’ that products and services enjoy. Environmental standards and employment rights are front of mind for lawyers on both sides.
In the event of Brexit, there are businesses that will choose to retain standards in common with EU countries, because they find one set of rules easier.
If the people vote leave on 23 June, lawyers will hope that law and justice issues are front of mind in the subsequent negotiations. The complexities that will arise suggest they will have to be – not least because, as acknowledged in the discussion, solicitors will need to have their professional status recognised within the EU as a matter of urgency.