- A new report by industry body TheCityUK said the government must do more to ensure the UK remains the “jurisdiction of choice” for legal services after Brexit.
- Agreeing a transitional arrangement and ensuring mutual access to services and talent for the UK and EU should be a “high priority,” the report said.
- The UK’s legal services are integral to the economy, it said, and employs over 311,000 people nationwide.
LONDON – The government must take steps to ensure the UK remains the “jurisdiction of choice” after Brexit, the professional services industry body said on Thursday.
In a report outlining the importance of the UK’s legal services to the wider economy, TheCityUK’s new report called for greater action from the government to support the international primary of English law. Securing continued mutual access to skills and talent for both the UK and EU-27 should be a “high priority,” the report said.
“It is essential that the government places a high priority on this, together with a rapid agreement of transitional arrangements and a bespoke future relationship that delivers mutual market access based on mutual regulatory recognition and cooperation,” said Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK.
According to the report, the legal sector is crucial to the UK’s economy. Total legal services made up 1.5% of the UK economy in 2015, it said, and the sector employs over 311,000 people – two thirds of whom are based outside London.
“Law and legal services are a cornerstone of the broader financial and related professional services cluster that makes the UK the leading international business hub,” the report said. Therefore, “a strong, competitive and well-regulated legal services sector is essential for sustainable economic growth,” it said.
The UK legal sector’s trade surplus was nearly £4 billion in 2016, the report said, and revenue generated by legal activities in the UK was £31.5 billion in 2016. Globally, it said, the UK was second worldwide for legal services fee revenue last year, with the US in first place.
This global dominance was driven by the fact that 27% of the world’s 320 legal jurisdictions use English common law, it said, which was used in 40% of all global corporates arbitrations in 2015.
The UK’s legal sector is “one of the jewels in the crown,” said Gary Campkin, policy and strategy director at TheCityUK at a Justice Committee hearing last year. “It is part of the reason why London, and the UK, is the leading global financial centre,” he said.
In 2016/17, the report said, the majority of large firms saw an increase in revenue, with the top 100 UK firms generating over £22 billion.
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