London must occupy its right and proper place at the heart of the legal profession, the lord chancellor said last night.

Chris Grayling was speaking at an event to mark three months until the Global Law Summit, which takes place between 23-25 February.

He described the summit as ‘a great sales opportunity’ for London, the English and Welsh legal system, as well as for the legal systems of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘When I became secretary of state, I received an invitation to go to a legal forum at St Petersburg, which aspired to be the “Davos” of the legal world,’ Grayling recalled.

‘As you all know, I’m not actually a lawyer. Well it didn’t escape me the fact that I think our legal tradition in this country is a tad longer than the undoubtedly fine systems of St Petersburg. It seemed to me this is not something we should allow to happen.

‘The world has moved on since then, and I think there are one or two complications around Russia at the moment which gives us this stronger opportunity to really seize back the mantle of the “Davos” of the legal world for London.’

Grayling called on the profession to use the summit as an opportunity to showcase their business ‘and bring people to London who perhaps don’t do business with us already’.

It was also confirmed last night that Financial Times editor Lionel Barber will be taking part in the summit along with London mayor Boris Johnson, Cherie Blair QC, former South Africa cabinet minister Trevor Manuel and Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.