We have already written about how the translation industry will be affected by Brexit but we also expect it to affect our clients in the legal industry. While we prepare for article 50 to be invoked, there will be little actual change to the legal sector. However, looking at the long term, we can expect that Brexit will affect the legal sector significantly.
EU law remains in full force across the United Kingdom until the exit negotiation process is completed. it seems unlikely this will be resolved before 2018 at the current pace, with the Tories dragging their heels. The legal sector will probably be affected by Brexit’s impact on the free movement of services and employees. However, it seems likely that we will remain in the Single Market since so many European businesses rely on trade with Britain.
The Legal sector benefits from the Single Market’s lawyers’ directives (temporary provision of services – 772/49/EEC, and permanent establishment – 98/5/EC) which have allowed lawyers to cross borders and practise law across the EU. This kind of work will be likely to change, with a heavier focus on domestic practise instead.
There are also likely to be changes affecting financial services regulation, competition law, data protection and the protection of Intellectual Property rights. As existing EU legislation is removed, new laws will need to be introduced or amended to replace the old ones. Taking IP rights as an example, we can be sure that national IP rights such as trade mark registrations, patents and registered designs granted by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office will remain unaffected. Additionally, the reciprocal rights granted by UK law as part of its international treaty obligations would be protected under Intellectual property law. It is only the pan-EU IP rights, such as the European trade mark and design right, which will cease to apply in the UK.
There are many areas of law which will change and all lawyers will need to brush up on their knowledge of precisely what will apply. Any lawyers who have previously provided services which relied heavily on EU legislation, will have to adapt to the changes. This certainly applies to immigration lawyers who will need to adopt different strategies in the absence of EU regulations; especially if the UK withdraws from the European convention on human rights (something which was on the cards even if the referendum resulted in a Remain majority).
Whatever the specific outcome of the Brexit and its affects on our clients in the legal sector, they will all still be able to depend on Empowerlingua to provide professional legal translation services and simultaneous interpreters for court hearings. The Single Market and international trade will ensure that Britain remains multicultural and that translation services remain an essential part of legal practice.