A fully interconnected international legal profession will be an essential part of a globalised world, the Law Society’s president Christina Blacklaws said today as legal dignitaries marked  the opening of the legal year. More than 80 bar leaders from around the world attended events in London - including the traditional judges’ service in Westminster Abbey - in the last such occasion before the UK leaves the European Union. 

Blacklaws said that Brexit presented an ’exciting opportunity to build a truly interconnected legal profession’ - but warned it also put existing cross-border cooperation at risk.  ’The importance of international cooperation has come into sharper focus for the UK following the vote to leave the EU,’ she said. Failure to maintain cooperation would create difficulties for enforcing individual rights and create a risk of parallel proceedings in the courts of more than one country. ’If a multinational business is declared insolvent, there could be a multiplicity of court cases to conclude its existence in the corporate world.’

’So, it is in our profession’s mutual benefit for civil judicial cooperation to continue and be strengthened. This would deliver certainty, a level playing field and greater transparency,’ she said. 

Bar chair Andrew Walker QC told the event: ’With the uncertainty of Brexit it is now vital that we maintain and strengthen the ties we have with our international counterparts.' 

Bar leaders from Australia, Europe, central Asia, the USA, Africa and Latin America attended events to mark the opening of the legal year.