Uncertainties caused by Brexit have given rival jurisdictions that want to overtake the UK as the forum of choice for resolving disputes a ‘stick to beat us with’, the Law Society vice president has told MPs.
Simon Davis warned that the benefits of England & Wales should neither be taken for granted nor overlooked by lawmakers.
He was speaking at an event in parliament this week hosted by the Law Society and Conservative Bob Seely MP to promote Chancery Lane’s ‘global legal centre’ campaign.
Describing continuing certainties, Davis said judges, solicitors and barristers will still be of a ‘high calibre’ and that Rome I and II Regulations will be unchanged, meaning that Brexit should have no impact on a party’s choice of applicable law.
He added that freedom of client choice and the legal enforcement of that choice is fundamental to the rule of law. ‘I am optimistic that arrangements will be reached which allow UK and European citizens and corporates to continue to choose the law and jurisdictions which suits them best,’ he said.
Davis said even before the Brussels Convention on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, England and Wales showed itself to be an open jurisdiction recognising the choice laws of others and enforcing the judgement of others – ‘I hear no suggestion that such openness should change,’ Davis said.
He added: ‘I remain optimistic that the certain benefits of England and Wales as a global legal centre will continue to attract business to our shores, but we owe our clients and our system a responsibility to be out from dawn to dusk ensuring that those certain benefits are neither taken for granted nor overlooked by clients or government.’
Attendees at the event included the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mourdant MP, officials from the Ministry of Justice and partners from City firms Ashurst, Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Simmons & Simmons.