City lobby group TheCityUK has suggested appointing ‘industry champions’ to promote the rule of law to Whitehall so that a ‘strong, clear and consistent’ system of law will be kept after Britain leaves the EU.
In a report published today TheCityUK, together with financial services company PwC, sets out a plan it says should help secure the future and provide a vision for 2025.
Although primarily based on financial services the report notes that legal services, including maintaining an independent judiciary and ‘world-leading’ mechanisms for international commercial dispute resolution, should also be key aims.
‘A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry’, calls for a strategic partnership between government, the industry and regulators and for a joint body to be established to help achieve its goals.
It says ‘industry champions’ should be appointed within the government to enable ‘closer coordination and market the UK as an international financial centre and to underline the benefits of legal services and English law’.
The report says England and Wales law holds a pre-eminent position internationally with 27% of the world’s 320 jurisdictions using common law. English law, it notes, has been identified as the preferred choice of governing law for cross-border contracts – a position that has helped the UK build its global influence.
‘London provides unrivalled access to high quality legal advice, contract drafting and dispute resolution services. In addition to UK-headquartered firms, over 200 overseas law firms from 40 jurisdictions practise in London, including 100 US law firms,’ the report says.
It adds: ‘More arbitrations take place in London than in any other city in the world. English courts are renowned for being a forum where litigants can be confident their disputes will be determined on their intrinsic merits.’
Fromer City minister Mark Hoban, TheCityUK board director and report chair, said: ‘This vision is ambitious and delivering this transformation cannot be done by the industry alone. A strategic partnership with government and regulators is essential to its success.’
In the report Hoban wrote that the UK has faced challenges to its status as the world’s leading financial centre before, including at the end of the empire and the birth of the auro. ‘By being willing to transform itself, the sector together with the lawyers, accountants and consultants, which form a vital part of the industry’s ecosystem, has continued to thrive,’ Hoban added.