Professional services including legal will play an essential role in the UK’s economic rebound from the pandemic slump, the City of London’s lobby body said today - but warned that there is no room for complacency. ’If the UK is to remain a leading global centre for professional services, the government needs to carefully and continuously consider the implications for the competitiveness of the industry as it develops its future trading relationships and policy,’ concludes ’A Roadmap for Economic Recovery’, published by TheCityUK.  

The report notes the consensus that the UK economy will rebound in the next two years, with median forecasts of 4.7% growth for 2021 and 5.9% for 2022. Professional services business, employing 1.2 million people, will play an important role. Legal services alopne will contribute £29.1bn to UK output this year. 

Apart from its direct output, the sector 'also performs a crucial enabling role which provides a stable framework for all other sectors to flourish and for the UK to remain a world-leading international financial centre', the report states. 'The global primacy of English law as the law of choice for international business is core to this, alongside the UK’s world class judicial and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.' 

However it warns that the government should not take this position for granted when setting policy. Tacitly criticising the current reform inititiatives, the report notes: 'It is also important that government positioning as well as legislative and regulatory changes do not (and are not seen to) undermine the certainty and stability provided by English law, the UK’s ongoing commitment to the rule of law or the effectiveness and independence of the UK’s courts and judiciary.'

Miles Celic, chief executive, TheCityUK, said: Throughout this pandemic, our industry has been a shock absorber, giving people and businesses help and support to endure the economic impact of Covid-19. As we move to the next phase of rebuilding and growth, our industry also has a key role to play as an engine for the recovery.'