Law Society envisages no-deal Brexit slowdown
The Law Society is warning that Britain, which is Europe’s largest international provider of legal services and number two in the world – could take a £3.5bn hit from a no deal Brexit.
Simon Davis, president of the Law Society said:
“According to our estimates, the volume of work in legal services would be down £3.5bn* – nearly 10% lower than under an orderly Brexit,”
He went on to say that:
“Our sector contributed £27.9 billion to the UK in 2018 – 1.4% of GDP – and in 2017 posted a trade surplus of £4.4 billion, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Much of this balance of payments surplus is down to access provided by EU Lawyers’ Directives.
“In general, we have a trade surplus with the EU27 when it comes to services. We have a trade deficit when it comes to manufacturing.
“And in 2018 the total tax contribution of legal and accounting activities was estimated to be £19.1 billion – potentially funding the salaries of doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers.
“That is why we are urging the UK government to negotiate a future agreement that enables broader access for legal services so that English and Welsh solicitors can maintain their right to practise in the EU.
“Such an agreement should replicate the Lawyers’ Directives, which provide EU-wide rights on services and establishment, as other models are unlikely to deliver the comprehensive practice rights that have substantially contributed to the UK legal sector’s large export surplus of £4.4bn as of 2017.
“There are precedents for such agreements providing necessary in-depth frameworks on legal services: the EU has association agreements through the EEA with Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland and with Switzerland. These extend the application of the Lawyers’ Directives to EFTA countries.
“The UK legal system is globally respected and the liberalisation of services in the EU has directly contributed to its success.”