The Law Society’s Chief Executive, Catherine Dixon, sets out below what actions she and The Law Society have taken in the wake of Brexit (as at 5th July 2016) and what further steps they plan to take:
Influencing decision makers
• We have written to the Lord Chancellor, other relevant Ministers across Government, and senior officials offering TLS’s expertise through expert committees and access to our networks across the EU and globally.
• We know that Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin MP and senior civil servant, Oliver Robbins, have set up a task force within government so we have contacted them to offer legal support too.
• When I gave evidence in Parliament to the Justice Select Committee last week, I raised the implications of Brexit for the legal sector with the MPs there, many of whom have a legal background. I know that a number of them will be taking my comments back to their respective parties. One member of the Committee also raised the key role of the Society with the Prime Minister when he made his statement on Brexit last Monday in the Commons.
• We have formerly used our EU report and economic analysis to engage with a number of key stakeholders at No. 10, MoJ, HM Treasury, BIS, the Greater London Authority and other organisations. We are now using the opportunity to revisit these contacts and offer access to our expert legal advice, both within TLS, and our wider network. Gathering feedback from members
• We are setting up a series of round tables around the country to engage with our members on this.
• We are meeting with City partners this week to discuss the impact on their businesses and any contingency planning that has taken place. I spoke at the City of London Law Society on the subject of Brexit last week.
• We are in touch with the Law Society of Scotland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland and will take a united approach where we can.
• Our Brussels team has been in touch with Bars across Europe – as have I with the relevant Bar CEOs.
• We have been in touch with CityUK and will be working with them as appropriate. Communication and support to members and the public
• We have been in touch with the Law Society of Ireland and received confirmation that reciprocal rights arrangements will remain in place around registering to practise in Ireland if qualified in England and Wales.
• We now have a section of the website dedicated to Brexit – we will use this to post press releases, briefings and thought pieces as they are produced as well as other supportive materials for the profession. This can be found here
• We published our press statements and core briefings in the latest issue of Professional Update. Key lines to take and messages have also been shared with member-facing colleagues such as the relationship management team so they can answer questions and report back on any common themes as necessary.
• Our practice advice service and contact centre have been briefed to answer the main concerns that members or the general public might have about the immediate impact of Brexit in areas like immigration, employment or contract law. We will be monitoring activity on these help lines to help us build a picture of what information is required so we can produce specific briefings to meet that need.
• I am establishing a staff task force to work on this issue – which will be working with members through our usual governance processes.
• Many of you have put forward some really good ideas for further engagement and coordination. We will use these as a basis for pulling together a more structured influencing and engagement plan. This will focus on:
• Needless to say, we will be engaging with the new Prime Minister and their new Ministry, when announced, to ensure that we are in the best position to support and influence future policy in this area.
• We will also begin re-launching our core EU materials, in particular focusing on producing a range of briefings that can be easily shared with ministers, officials and of course, your constituents.
• The Gazette will be engaging with members from across the country to gather views and assess the impact on different parts of the sector. This promises to be very interesting and a key way for you to engage with your constituents. Please look out for these articles over the coming weeks.
The Law Society’s Co-council member for Merseyside & District, Charlie Jones, has offered to follow up any LLS member’s enquiry, concern, request for further information on your behalf if you so wish. You can email him or phone him on DDI 0151 242 7919.