31 Dec 2020

Late in the afternoon of 24 December 2020, the UK government and the EU Commission announced that the UK and EU had agreed the terms of a post-Brexit Free Trade Deal. The text of the Agreement was published later the same day. The media (and social media in particular) are already myth-ridden. Here, we consider and bust three of the most common early-circulating myths.

Myth 1: The Agreement stops UK lawyers advising on EU law

Myth Buster

The Agreement does not stop UK Lawyers advising on EU law; and we will continue to do so, whenever our clients need EU law advice.

The Agreement:

  • Provides that, “A Party shall allow a lawyer of the other Party to supply in its territory designated legal services under that lawyer’s home jurisdiction professional title…”
  • For these purposes:
    • The Parties are the UK and the EU
    • A “lawyer” is an individual who is authorised in the UK and/or an EU Member State to supply legal services
    • designated legal services” are “legal services in relation to home jurisdiction law and public international law, [but not the law of the European] Union
    • home jurisdiction” means the jurisdiction(s) of the EU Member State or the UK in which the lawyer acquired their home jurisdiction professional title(s)
    • home jurisdiction professional title” means: (i) for an EU lawyer, a professional title acquired in an EU Member State authorising the supply of legal services in that Member State; and (ii) for a UK lawyer, the titles advocate, barrister or solicitor, which authorise the holder to supply legal services in the UK
    • legal services” means legal advisory services, and legal arbitration, conciliation and mediation services; but not representation in Court and Tribunals.

So, for example, the Agreement does not stop us giving advice (a) on EU law, when we are in the UK; or (b) on UK and public international law, when we are in the EU.

When our clients need advice (a) on the law of a particular EU Member State; and/or (b) on the way in which EU law is being interpreted and applied in a particular Member State, we have always worked closely with appropriately qualified and experienced lawyers in the relevant EU Member States, and will continue to do so, notwithstanding Brexit.

Myth 2: Although the Agreement allows UK lawyers to give advice on EU law, they will not be qualified or insured to do so

Myth Buster

We are qualified and insured to give legal advice on EU law.

Fox Williams was established in 1989, it has been advising on EU law since then, and it will continue to do so.

Myth 3: If a UK lawyer gives advice on EU law, the advice will not be privileged

Myth Buster

If a solicitor qualified to give legal advice in England and Wales, gives advice on the law of England and Wales; the law of the United Kingdom; and/or the law of the European Union, that advice will be privileged in the same way, and to the same extent, as before in respect of proceedings in the UK. The Agreement does not change this fact.

Contact us

If you have any questions about these issues in relation to your own organisation, please contact a member of the team or speak with your usual Fox Williams contact.

Click here to read more myth busters relating to the EU / UK trade agreement.


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