The Law Society today issues the first in a series of papers to help solicitors prepare for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

The documents give advice on potential rule changes affecting business disputes, data and family law. 

On family law, the Society refers to the Brussels II Regulation – a legal instrument which helps families resolve disputes about divorce and the custody of children where they involve parties in more than one EU state. Under the regulation, EU courts automatically recognise judgments delivered in other EU states on matrimonial and parental responsibility, but that would no longer apply to the UK once it leaves the EU. 

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said Brexit has opened a ‘Pandora’s Box of complicated personal and business issues’ previously dealt with under EU rules. ‘Some areas – such as family law – are partly catered for by other agreements that will still apply such as the Hague Conventions. But there’s little doubt that resolving disputes will become much more complex and much more costly,’ Blacklaws said.

‘At the moment, court judgments in Britain are recognised in EU countries and vice versa. Once we leave there is a risk parallel cases may be taken up in multiple jurisdictions. Not to mention that the parties will need two legal teams to run these cases as the qualified lawyers are no longer able to represent their clients in each other’s jurisdictions. This will push the cost of litigation beyond the reach of many small and medium-sized businesses.’

The papers are published on the Law Society website.