Barristers play major role in ensuring the UK is international epicentre for legal services

4 March 2015

A new report from TheCityUK shows a significant increase in the legal sector's contribution to the UK economy in 2013, rising 9.4% year-on-year in 2013 to £22.6bn, or 1.6% of GDP, as well as leading the way as the most international market for legal services. 

Considered to be the most reliable and accurate indicator of the UK legal services sector's economic contribution, TheCityUK's report - UK Legal Services 2015, Legal Excellence, Internationally Renowned - revealed the international strength of the Bar in England & Wales as well as other parts of the legal sector. Over 80% of claims issued in 2013 in the Commercial Court involved at least one party from outside England and Wales, and more than 24,000 commercial and civil disputes were resolved in the same year through arbitration, mediation and adjudication. Approximately 40% of all governing law in global corporate arbitrations is English law, says the report. 

Responding to TheCityUK report today, Alistair MacDonald QC, chairman of the Bar, said: "The UK can be proud of its legal services sector and the work of the Bar, which received specific praise for its contribution in the report. TheCityUK acknowledges the work of members of five specialist bar associations: the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), the Chancery Bar Association, the Criminal Bar Association, the Technology and Construction Bar Association, and the Intellectual Property Bar Association. The Bar plays a vital role in specialist advocacy and legal advice as well as expert evidence, not to mention arbitration work, spanning a wide range of sectors, including financial services, shipping, energy markets, insurance, banking, white collar crime and intellectual property. 

"The Bar's international standing is such that many overseas litigants come to the UK to benefit from our advocacy skills as well as the quality of the judiciary. Equally, our barristers are often called upon by other common law jurisdictions around the world for their expertise. Thanks to the work of the Bar Council's international team and committee, the Bar is increasingly seen by international clients to occupy a turn-key role when resolving disputes England & Wales. They understand that coming directly to the Bar ensures expert and speedy analysis followed by reliable, strategic advice - even before our advocacy skills are engaged. 

"TheCityUK report clearly shows that the UK legal services sector is a national asset. It is a successful export and sets the bar high for other jurisdictions seeking to emulate our position as a world leader." 

The sector's economic contributions have grown by around 65% over the decade to 2013, with a net export surplus doubling over the same period to £3.1bn.   

Read the full report from TheCityUK here.

 

                                                                     ENDS

Notes to editors

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

Contact: the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 andPress@BarCouncil.org.uk.