The Law Society today welcomed the bar's 'Brexit Papers' publication, which it said echoes positions set out by Chancery Lane in the wake of the referendum vote. Law Society president Robert Bourns said that: 'Throughout this year the bar and the solicitor profession have been engaging with the government to examine the ramifications of Brexit, and put robust information before ministers, parliamentarians and officials.'
The bar’s Brexit Papers are the work of a group led by Hugh Mercer QC, drawing on expertise across a variety of practice areas. The publication calls on the government to look at the fine detail of a number of areas of law to minimise 'adverse impacts on UK citizens'. For example, Mercer said, 'We need to make sure that police and security services can co-operate so that criminals who go on the run can be stopped, and that parents who divorce in one country have the custody decisions upheld in another.
'We also need to restructure areas of law such as insolvency, competition and tax law otherwise businesses of all sizes could end up losing out. Our creative industries, for example, bring huge value to the UK economy, but we can only sustain that if our patents and trademarks continue to be recognised by the EU member states post-Brexit.'
The Law Society’s previously published Brexit work includes briefings for parliamentarians, submissions to select committees, a range of information for members and the public, as well as a report developed by Oxford Economics which detailed the likely effects of Brexit on the legal services sector.
Bourns said this work will continue in 2017 with a further report, which will draw together key issues and developments over the second half of 2016.
The report is expected to focus on the need to:
· ensure continued access for UK lawyers to practise law and base themselves in EU member states;
· maintain mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdiction clauses across the EU in civil cases;
· continue to collaborate in policing, security and criminal justice;
· promote England and Wales as the jurisdiction of choice;
· ensure that legal certainty is maintained throughout the process of withdrawal.
'With the legal sector speaking together with one voice, as we are on this issue, we present a powerful united front to government,' Bourns said. 'We look forward to continuing to work with the profession, with the bar, and with the government as the Brexit negotiations progress, advocating for the best possible result for the legal sector and its clients,' Bourns said.