London faces ‘immense competition’ as the world leader for international legal work and cannot afford to be complacent, the lord chief justice warned.

Closing the Bar Conference, Lord Thomas told barristers they must ‘look as a profession to where you wish to be in 10 years’ and have a ‘clear idea of how to get there’.

London faces ‘immense competition’ from rivals such as New York, Singapore and Hong Kong as the pre-eminent system for international legal work.

Judges and practitioners, said Lord Thomas, know ‘only too well the strength of that competition’ and the government ‘knows how important it is to our economy that London’s pre-eminence is maintained’.

‘For a sector of the profession that is enjoying such prosperity and success, it is easy to be complacent,’ he added, but ‘complacency would be entirely misplaced’.