Press release: Legal services at forefront of Global Britain

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  • Lord Chancellor emphasises importance of cooperation in civil justice post Brexit
  • new plans to ensure best talent from all backgrounds can thrive in law
  • high-level business and legal profession summit to take place in Spring

The Lord Chancellor issued a clarion call to make sure the legal profession is standing ready to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by Brexit, at an event in the City attended by leading figures from law firms, the Bar, and key sector representatives.

Ms Truss told attendees that she is aware of the importance of cooperation in civil justice and is already working with the Secretary of State for exiting the EU David Davis as part of wider negotiations so international business continues to choose UK courts and laws to resolve cross-border commercial contract disputes.

Alongside the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, Ms Truss also highlighted a range of measures being taken to ensure English law continues to evolve, innovate and lead the world by making use of talent from every section of society.

Lord Chancellor Elizabeth Truss said:

English law is rightly renowned across the globe, making this country a great place to invest, do business, litigate and seek justice.

It is in the interests of all European countries who want to do business here that we maintain civil justice cooperation when we leave the EU, so we are already working to make sure we get the best possible deal for the profession.

As we enter this exciting new era, I am pleased to be working with judges and the industry to ensure we tap into all talents and continue to lead the world in the increasingly competitive legal services sector.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said:

We are in the process of developing proposals that maintain the pre-eminence of our legal system.

We have in place a reform programme for the courts and tribunals which is the most ambitious in terms of modernisation in the world.

By working together and making changes I am sure we will maintain our prime position in the world of legal services and dispute resolution.

UK law firms continue to thrive overseas, while 4 of the world’s top 10 global law firms have their headquarters in London as the centre of legal influence. The industry, which boosts the economy by some £25 billion year, is underpinned by the quality of our law and our lawyers, an incorruptible judiciary and the most modern courts in the world.

In recent months the Lord Chancellor has been working on a plan to help maintain and grow the legal sector with key figures including the Lord Chief Justice, major law firms and representative bodies.

A number of initiatives were discussed at the meeting, including identifying opportunities to improve social empowerment and mobility for those wishing to enter the legal profession, and growing opportunities for solicitors to enter the judiciary. A series of working parties will now be established to progress the initiatives and agree delivery targets and timetables.

Edward Sparrow, The Chairman of the City of London Law Society said:

The CLLS member firms are pleased that their considerable voluntary contribution to society has been acknowledged.

We look forward to making further significant contributions alongside the government, the Judiciary and other branches of the legal profession to improving access to justice and access to, and diversity and social mobility within, the legal profession.

In a further step, a Global Britain summit will be convened in the spring that will involve influential figures from the legal and business worlds to reflect the vital role played by the legal services sector in underpinning our economy.

Notes to editors

  1. Today’s roundtable meeting was hosted at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, in Fleet Street, as part of a series of roundtable events held by the Justice Secretary and hosted at different city law firms.
  2. Civil justice cooperation within the EU includes mutual recognition which refers to the way that different countries recognise agreements on the law that should be applied to a particular case or the country of the court where the case should be heard. Once a judgment has been given it refers to the process by which a country will accept a judgment given in another country with the minimum of procedural requirements, thereby saving the parties time, reducing their costs and giving them certainty about the procedure.
  3. The Lord Chancellor is working closely with Lord Kakkar, the head of the Judicial Appointments Commission, Lord Thomas and also the head of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger to ensure the best talent from all sectors of society can thrive at every level of the judiciary. Measures include:
    • Speeding up progress for Deputy High Court Judges – a body of highly-valued men and women to be appointed to the High Court.
    • In the next Recorder competition, due to launch next month, we will be appointing judges from the top 100 talent but selection will be irrespective of their location, background , or area of expertise.
    • Making it easier for our most impressive legal brains to go straight into the High Court by opening the door to a wider pool of ‘direct entry’ candidates.
  4. Last week it was announced that more female and black and minority ethnic candidates were among the intake of newly-appointed Queen’s Counsel than ever before. Of the 113 successful applicants appointed Queen’s Counsel, 31 were women (up from 25 last year), and 16 were of a BAME background (up from 9).
  5. The summit is due to be held in the Spring in London. More details will be announced in due course.
  6. For more information call the MOJ press office on 020 3334 4582.

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