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Registered European lawyers given until 2021 to requalify

By Jemma Slingo

Registered European lawyers (RELs) have until the end of next year to requalify in the UK, according to the government’s no-deal Brexit guidance.

Guidance published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for EU lawyers in the UK after a no-deal Brexit said RELs will retain their pre-Brexit practice and qualification rights until the end of 31 December 2020. During this period, they will be able to requalify as a UK lawyer under existing routes.

Meanwhile, lawyers with qualifications from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will need to requalify as UK lawyers if they want to provide reserved legal activities in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If they do not want to provide reserved legal activities but want to work jointly with a UK lawyer, they must become Registered Foreign Lawyer.

According to the MoJ’s guidelines, they can also choose to only undertake unreserved legal activities or work under the supervision of a UK lawyer.

There is a different arrangement for Swiss lawyers, who do not need to take any action if they have already registered in the UK. Those using a Swiss qualification or title need to register in the UK within four years of Brexit.

The Law Society’s deputy vice president, I. Stephanie Boyce, said: ‘While transitional arrangements are likely to be helpful, we are urging the UK government to negotiate a future agreement that enables broader access for legal services.

‘Such an agreement should replicate the Lawyers’ Directives, which provide EU-wide rights on services and establishment.’

(Courtesy: Law Society Gazette)