A member of the lawyers group which campaigned for Brexit today set down a list of urgent priorities for legal practice following yesterday’s vote to leave the EU.
Clive Thorne (pictured), a partner at Wedlake Bell and board member of pro-Leave group ‘Lawyers for Britain’, called for a ‘new UK legal regime’ to be established ‘at an early date’ in several areas.
These include the future of EU intellectual property rights, including the EU trade mark and EU design rights.
‘The existing rights should be converted into domestic rights throughout member states as well as the UK,’ he said. ‘The ill-fated [unitary patent] is a dead duck without UK membership. This is a very financially significant blow to UK patent attorneys.
‘A reformed European (non-EU) patent convention should now be the objective.’
Thorne dismissed the EU Trade Secrets Directive adopted a few weeks ago as ‘dead’, while in the area of competition law he described as ‘desirable’ a new UK law akin to EU law ‘but without the implication of pan-European applicability’.
An ‘urgent priority’ for litigation practice, he added, is repeal of the Brussels Regulation on jurisdiction and enforcement through possible membership (like Denmark) of the Lugano Convention.
Bell also envisages the abolition of the European Arrest Warrant by a modern extradition treaty arrangement. This will ‘avoid the numerous injustices that have occurred to British suspects under the EAW procedure’, he said, in tandem with the reintroduction of safeguards such as dual criminality.
On data protection, Bell welcomed the ‘opportunity for a less chauvinistic and liberal regime’ than under the recent General Data Protection Regulation. This will benefit trade with the US and Japan, he suggested.
Bell also believes firms will seek to set up more offices outside the EU, including in Africa and the Far East. Brussels offices will decline in importance in so far as they are deployed for EU lobbying or competition advice.
Abolition ‘at a stroke’ of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union will enable its power to be vested in the UK Supreme Court, whose work will increase ‘significantly’, Bell concluded.