UK net exports of financial and related professional services grew by 5% to an estimated £82.8bn in 2018, City lobby group TheCityUK reported today. Professional services, including legal, accounted for two thirds of the growth, according to TheCityUK's 'key facts' report.
UK legal services revenue, £35.1bn, accounted for 5% of the global total in 2018, the report states. It notes that England and Wales allows virtually unrestricted market access for foreign law firms, and that more than 200 foreign firms from around 40 jurisdictions operate in the UK.
The UK’s commanding position in legal services is driven by the continuing popularity of English law - 'by some distance the most widely-used foreign law in fast growing Asian markets', the report statees. This in turn is driven by the UK’s 'outstanding reputation in international dispute resolution, whether for litigation, arbitration or mediation'.
Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist TheCityUK, said, 'The UK’s strength in this area is derived not only from the high volume and value of transactions, but also the breadth of services and expertise available—the "ecosystem" effect. This ranges from green finance to Islamic finance to maritime business services, and is supported by an extensive network of professional services related to financial services: legal, accounting and consulting.'