The key objectives of the Law Societies are to engage with the UK policy makers and the EU negotiators to advocate better access to practising rights for solicitors in non-EU jurisdictions.
We regularly meet with the DIT and BEIS, which is responsible for trade policy in the UK, the EU negotiators in the European Commission’s DG TRADE the World Trade Organization (WTO). We work regularly with the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), as well as the International Bar Association (IBA) on matters of international trade in legal services. Finally, the Law Society of England and Wales is a member of the European Services Forum (ESF) which gathers major representations of services providers organisations in the EU.
The UK is a leading exporter of legal services which accounted for 1.6% of the UK GDP in 2013. Legal services are an important backbone of the economy and their opening up accelerates the opening up of other market areas. For example, trade in goods is often linked to trade in services: some goods, such as technical equipment, must be delivered, maintained and it must be clear who is liable in case the equipment malfunctions.