Bar and other leaders from across the world have once more arrived in force in London for what is the final Opening of the Legal Year (OLY) before the UK leaves the European Union.
As the Bar Council, the representative body for barristers in England & Wales, and other legal representative bodies look to maintain the UK’s position as the world’s jurisdiction of choice after Brexit, this year’s OLY will be an opportunity to strengthen ties with the international legal community from the EU and beyond.
Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar, said:
“OLY is more than simply a ceremonial occasion for the legal profession and the judiciary. It has considerable significance, perhaps now more than ever, for the domestic legal sector to build important ties with its counterparts in other jurisdictions.
“UK legal services are a valuable asset to the UK economy and much of that value is because of our strong international standing. We export as well as attract investment based on our reputation across the world. With the uncertainty of Brexit it is now vital that we maintain and strengthen the ties we have with our international counterparts. It’s also an opportunity to discuss issues affecting the legal sector at large and explore ways we can work together.
More importantly, however, it is an occasion where, as bar leaders, we consider how we can work together to strengthen the international rule of law as independently regulated professions. This year we will be discussing in particular how to strengthen the role of women in the legal profession which remains a challenge almost everywhere in the world.”
Bar leaders from Australia, Europe, central Asia, the USA, Africa and Latin America, to name a few, will join the Bar Council, Law Society and the legal organisations this week to mark OLY.
UK legal services contributed more than £26 billion to the UK economy in 2017, the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of UK GDP, according to TheCityUK. In addition, the sector contributed £4 billion to the value of net exports.