Whoever wins the general election should put access to justice at the heart of their plans for post-Brexit Britain, the Law Society of England and Wales said today as it launched its General Election 2017 manifesto.

Unveiling a five-point plan, Law Society president Robert Bourns said: “The legal sector of England and Wales underpins the UK economy - our law enables global commerce so it is vital that however Britain is led after the election reciprocal arrangements are negotiated so our lawyers can practise law in the EU.

“Legal services employ and train more than 380,000 people - the sector was worth £25.7bn in 2015 and it’s growing. Every time turnover in the legal sector goes up by £1, it creates £1.39 in the wider economy.”

Robert Bourns added: “Early legal advice also prevents difficult societal and personal situations escalating. So if you’ve a problem with housing, how immeasurably better to solve that before you and your family become homeless - which is also likely to cost the taxpayer far more than the initial legal advice.”

The Law Society’s calls include:

  • Reinstate legal aid for early advice, particularly in housing and family law
  • Negotiate access for UK lawyers to practise law across the EU, base themselves in the EU, and have rights of audience and legal professional privilege in EU courts
  • Ensure civil justice co-operation is maintained with the EU in the interest of consumers, families and businesses
  • Combat modern slavery by enforcing the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and allocating the necessary resources to protect victims
  • Scrap the current employment tribunal fee system.