Action Plan on promoting UK as a world leader in legal services launched
On 17 May 2011 Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green unveiled plans to strengthen the UK's reputation as a world leader in legal services.
A new Action Plan has been published by the Ministry of Justice and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), setting out how the country's commercial arbitration, mediation and court services will be promoted to a global audience.
The Action Plan is a key part of the government's Plan for Growth, and aims to encourage overseas commercial clients to make use of UK legal services, with particular emphasis on the potential benefits for businesses.
The UK's commercial dispute resolution and legal services sector currently generates £23.1 billion per year, or 1.8 per cent of the UK's gross domestic product in 2009, and provides a vast number of jobs in related sectors. The Government is keen to expand on this success.
The plan sets out a series of Government commitments, including creating an online promotional toolkit for trade and investment advisors, and ensuring professional representatives attend official visits where appropriate.
Some of the top reasons to carry out business in the UK, given in the Action Plan, include:
? International dispute resolution continues to grow. The number of disputes resolved through arbitration and mediation in the UK reached 34,541 in 2009, up from 19,384 in 2007
? World-class, streamlined court services for the 21st Century. The Rolls Building, scheduled to open later in the year, will for the first time incorporate onto one site the work carried out by the Commercial Court, the Technology and Construction Court and the Chancery Division.
? English judgments are easily enforceable. The EU Judgments Regulation and European Enforcement Order make these judgments watertight in Europe, but they are also recognised and respected in most other parts of the world
? More international and commercial arbitrations take place in London under English law than in any other city in the world, with 90 per cent of commercial cases handled by London law firms involving an international party
? Our lawyers are regulated through the Legal Services Act 2007 in England and Wales and the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010
? An essential partner of the financial services sector. The biggest areas of practice for UK law firms include corporate work, banking and capital markets.
In addition to the Government objectives the Action Plan identifies some key tasks for these industry partners including producing and delivering a strategy to promote the UK as a centre of excellence for dispute resolution, and re-launching the Legal Services and Dispute Resolution Group.