Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division

Brexit – how will it impact the profession

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Angeli Vadera EMLD committee member and vice chair of the Hindu lawyers Association (HLA) shares her personal perspective

On 23 June, 48.1 per cent of individuals that who voted to remain in the EU woke up to find that the UK had voted to leave – a small margin of 3.8 per cent leave-votes had tipped the scales. I was one of those individuals who voted remain. Like many in the ‘remain’ campaign, I was unaware of a United Kingdom which was not a member of the European Union and did not fully comprehend why anyone would want vote to leave the EU. The decision may have been made to but what happened next?

The uncertainty surrounding the impact of Brexit can only be reduced by the government commencing the exit process through invoking Article 50 and formal trade negotiations.

Two key challenges face the legal profession and the system which it adopts in practice

1.Parliamentary Sovereignty

As a result of my legal studies and work experience, I understood the importance that the UK’s membership to the EU played in the protection of our consumer and employment rights, and credit is owed to this institution for the legacy of protection it will leave. Going forwards, Parliament will have the freedom to legislate subject to being held accountable by the electorate. There are risks and benefits in our rights and interests being measured against the political, social and economic climate of the UK independent of neighbouring countries. Only time will tell whether we have voted out our own rights.

2.Britain’s Got Talent

As a profession, there is a great uphill struggle in making it more diverse and representative of all backgrounds and nationalities which includes lawyers from the EU. Progress was being made and in 2015, there was an increase of approximately 100 European Foreign Lawyers registered on the roll. By voting to leave the EU, a big question mark is placed on how law firms will act in the wake of any limitation to free movement principles to retain a skilled workforce. There is no doubt as to London retaining its status as a global financial status however thought will need to be given into how law firms will service the city’s work.
As it is commonly held that our legal system is one of England’s best exports, I am sure it will be successful in adapting to the changes ahead.

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