1. UK qualified lawyers with businesses in the EU, EEA-EFTA and Switzerland
If you are a UK lawyer with ownership interests in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland you need to contact the local regulator for specific advice.
2. EU and EEA EFTA qualified lawyers with businesses in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
If you are a lawyer with qualifications from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (EEA-EFTA), you need to have taken one or more of the following actions before 31 December 2020 to continue to manage, own, or part own, a legal services business in England, Wales or Northern Ireland:
- requalified in England, Wales or Northern Ireland with the relevant regulator under routes for foreign lawyers.
- become a Registered Foreign Lawyer in England and Wales with the relevant regulator.
- made the necessary changes to your practice or business structure to comply with the new regulatory arrangements.
If you have not done this, it may affect whether you can own or part-own a legal services business in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and you should contact the relevant regulator for further advice.
If you were previously a Registered European Lawyer (REL), and you own an unregulated legal services business in the UK, you should contact the relevant regulator for specific advice.
For those within scope of the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Right Agreement you have until 31 December 2024 to register as a REL or requalify as a solicitor or barrister in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
3. Employing lawyers from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to work until 30 June 2021. Irish citizens will continue to have the right to work in the UK and prove their right to work as they do now, for example by using their passport.
You can find more information in the guidance on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
Businesses in England, Wales or Northern Ireland employing EU, and/or EEA-EFTA lawyers should contact their relevant UK regulator for specific advice.
Legal services business owners in Scotland should contact the relevant Scottish regulators – see further information for specific advice.
5. Further information
- The European Commission’s Communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom
- The European Commission’s ‘Brexit Readiness Checklist’ for companies doing business with the UK
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority
- The Law Society
- The Bar Standards Board
- The Bar Council
- The Law Society of Northern Ireland
- The Bar Council of Northern Ireland
- The Law Society of Scotland
- The Faculty of Advocates