The Law Society has struck a deal with Rome’s bar association to strengthen ties with Italian firms.

In a memorandum of understanding signed this week, the two organisations pledged to continue championing the practising rights of English and Welsh solicitors in Italy, and vice versa. They also committed to exchanging information on immigration and other areas that could affect their members’ international practice.

The Law Society said a number of English law firms now have a presence in Italy and Italian businesses and law firms are increasingly operating in London. ‘Brexit means new rules for lawyers in both our countries, but it does not dampen the importance our markets have to each other,’ said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.

‘The relationship between the Law Society and the Rome Bar is deeply rooted. Italy is a nation with a strong legal tradition, and our countries can only benefit by sharing knowledge and expertise. The memorandum of understanding also re-affirms both organisations’ commitment to the rule of law, protection of human rights and access to justice, as well as the goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030,’ Boyce said.

Rome Bar president Antonino Galletti added that the collaboration is particularly important for younger lawyers, ‘who will have to navigate a world where knowledge – and hence professions – are becoming ever more global’.

Negotiations elsewhere in the EU have proved more difficult. Last month, the European Commission rejected the UK’s application to join the Lugano Convention, which sets out which country’s courts may hear cross-border disputes and which decisions can be enforced.

The commission’s attempt to block the UK’s accession has been criticised by lawyers across Europe, who have warned that thousands of vulnerable families could miss out on maintenance payments if the EU continues to withhold its permission.