The Law Society has said England and Wales remains an ‘attractive and stable jurisdiction’ following the UK’s historic decision to leave the European Union.
Responding to the outcome, which saw the UK voting for to leave the EU by 52% to 48%, Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said the organisation will offer support and guidance to help its members make the transition a post-EU era.
He said: ‘We did not take a stance on whether Britain should remain or leave the EU - that was because we are a professional body and our membership has a diverse range of views. Instead we sought to provide facts to inform the debate with a focus on the impact on legal services.
’It’s clear that there is an enormous amount of work to do in the coming months and years to establish the terms of withdrawal from the EU and scope necessary changes to domestic law. The UK will also need to resolve issues relating to its trading relationship with other parts of the world, specifically in terms of international trade agreements.’
He added: ‘It’s also important to say that the law of England and Wales retains its international commercial appeal and England and Wales remains an attractive and stable jurisdiction, with a high quality legal profession, internationally respected courts and the best law firms in the world that have attracted clients from across the globe for many years.’
Smithers added that he hoped England and Wales will continue to be the global centre for legal excellence. ‘We will continue our work in upholding the rule of law and enabling access to justice; supporting law reform and the legislative process; and providing information to the solicitor profession and the public as the UK’s new relationship with the EU takes shape.
’Our Brussels Office will continue to provide a base from which we, along with the other UK law societies, can seek to influence and inform an orderly transition.’
Chairman of the Bar Council, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said the long term effect of Brexit on legal services in the UK will depend ‘significantly’ on the nature and terms of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU.
She added: ‘Despite all the turbulence, however, I am confident that London will remain a leading centre for international dispute resolution. The reputation of barristers and our judiciary overseas, beyond the EU, is very high and I expect it will remain so in the years to come.’
Chair of the Junior Lawyers Division, Leanne Maund, said: ’The JLD chose not to comment on arguments surrounding the referendum, as there were junior lawyers supporting both sides. It was important to us that all junior lawyers voted based on their own conscience.
’The JLD will continue to support our members during this time of uncertainty, and hope that together we can continue to enhance the reputation of the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales and act in the best interests of our clients.’