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As with many aspects of the UK economy, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will have implications for the legal sector.

The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive, the Lawyers’ Services Directive and the Lawyers’ Establishment Directive provide reciprocal arrangements between EEA states for the recognition of legal qualifications. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement (November 2018) contains provision to allow reciprocal arrangements to continue through the transition period.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit the Draft Withdrawal Agreement (November 2018) will not apply. The Government has issued a ‘service technical notice’ on Providing services including those of a qualified professional if there’s no Brexit deal. This states that should the UK leave the EU without a deal the reciprocal arrangements that currently exist under various EU directives would no longer apply.

The Law Society of England and Wales has raised concerns that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would result in the loss of reciprocal arrangements for the recognition of qualifications for lawyers. They have also argued that, owing to more difficult access to talent and wider economic implications, a ‘hard Brexit’ could result in the loss of £3bn for the sector by 2025. The APPG on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (to which the Law Society acts as secretariat) has published a report on The effect of Brexit on legal services. The report echoes many of the concerns about Brexit that have already been raised by the Law Society. The House of Commons Justice Committee has been optimistic about the prospects for the legal sector post Brexit. They have said that “Most of the sector’s strengths are unabated, and sensible discussions between the UK and EU ought to protect many of the advantages of their existing cooperation.”

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