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The president of the Law Society of England and Wales, David Greene, has said Brexit has led to a ‘much more clunky world’ for legal services, leaving important issues like privilege unresolved.
Mr Greene made his remarks during a joint briefing with Amanda Millar and Rowan White, his counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.
He said that the Brexit Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), reached at the end of last year, was greeted by lawyers with “sighs of relief, but that that initial optimism was being tempered by emerging concerns around the importance of domestic legislation in EU member states.
Although cooperation on criminal justice was included in the TCA, co-operation on civil justice was not, and the Law Society will now be pushing for access to the Lugano convention on jurisdiction in civil disputes and enforcement of judgments.
Mr Greene said England and Wales would remain a ‘very open jurisdiction’ for EU lawyers practising from here, however reciprocity with other countries was still an issue.
While debate has taken place over whether the UK should “close the system” as a negotiating tool, Mr Greene said ‘the answer was no’ if the UK wants to remain a global legal centre.
Mr Greene noted that the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) could have an effect on reciprocity but that it was “too early to say” at the moment.
He also said the Law Society would need the cooperation of the Solicitors Regulation Authority on mutual recognition of practising rights and would “press for an open profession”.