Since the UK officially left the EU on 1 January 2021, stories about the impact of Brexit on the legal sector have not been a prominent feature in the headlines. The initial response to the deal from many legal professionals was mixed, albeit with a general feeling of relief that a much-feared ‘no-deal’ Brexit had been avoided.

What were the positives of the deal?

For starters, legal services were recognised in their own section as part of the agreement. This will ensure that UK legal services are almost certainly going to be an important aspect of future trade deals with other countries which will elevate their profile globally. Many businesses trading internationally have also increased their demand for legal assistance as they adapt to the new arrangements.

What were the negatives of the deal?

When the UK was a member of the EU, UK solicitors had comprehensive access to the EU legal market. Lawyers that qualified within an EU member state are able to access the entire EU legal market. But countries that are not members of the EU (known as third countries) will not receive the same privilege. UK qualified lawyers can no longer operate in EU member states as freely as they could pre-Brexit. For lawyers who regularly work in Europe, this will create additional hassle and time to try and reach the same level of service offered pre-Brexit. Inevitably this time cost will end up being passed onto their clients.

Some also fear the English legal system could be less influential in Europe and question whether judgments made in the UK will be enforceable across the EU. In the past, many non-EU litigants would choose an English Commercial Court because they expect that judgments made will be enforceable across the EU. However, for many years the UK legal system has been seen as a global standard setter with many businesses opting for UK jurisdiction when cross-border issues arise. This is for many reasons including language, familiarity, age, and a number of historic precedents. Brexit should not impact this unduly.

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of solicitor accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. Our understanding of the unique issues that many in the sector are facing, combined with our technical experience, allows our solicitor specialists to provide you with proactive, commercial, and informed accountancy and tax advice.

Free initial meeting

Simon Bladen

Partner, Sheffield

0114 266 7141

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