Global standing of UK legal services continues to grow

Britain's globally respected legal system and business environment allows the legal services sector to grow, settling more global corporate cases and drawing international law firms to the UK.

Imaging showing scales of justice
Employment in the UK's legal services sector increased by 30,000 last year, boosted by an increasing number of foreign law firms operating in the country.The 'Legal Services 2018' report, compiled by TheCityUK organisation, found that, over the course of last year, the sector's workforce increased by 8.8 per cent to reach a total of 342,000.Researchers found that the UK had been "especially welcoming to international law firms" with more than 200 foreign law companies from about 40 jurisdictions now operating in the country and employing more than 10,000 people.

Legal services show significant increase in revenues

The report also found that revenue generated by the nation’s 100 largest law firms had increased, growing 10 per cent to reach £24.2 billion last year, while legal services as a whole generated a trade surplus generated of £4.4 billion, almost twice what it was a decade earlier.Gary Campkin, manager of external relations and strategic issues at TheCityUK, said: “The UK’s legal services sector is one of the country’s great success stories."While London is the world’s leading centre for international law, cities right across the UK, from Bristol and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, are also renowned for their legal expertise.

UK legal services are a global leader

“Global businesses have a choice on where to resolve their legal disputes. They choose the UK for a number of reasons: the clarity and predictability of English law, the UK’s independent and expert judiciary, and the efficient functioning of UK courts."Brexit will not change this. London and the UK will continue to provide unrivalled access to high quality legal services. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is vital to ensure international parties continue to recognise the benefits of using English law and draw upon the expertise of the UK’s legal services sector.”The report suggested that the sector's strong growth was partly driven by increased international use of the UK’s globally pre-eminent commercial law system."In 2017, four out of five of the 1,200 claims in the Admiralty and Commercial Courts involved a party based outside England and Wales, up eight per cent on the previous year. In just over half the claims recorded that year, all parties involved were international," said the report."English law is currently used in 40 per cent of all global corporate arbitrations. However, while the reputation of UK courts continues to grow, in 2017, over 32,800 disputes were also resolved by alternative dispute resolution in the UK – up 27 per cent on the previous year."TheCityUK said Britain is the second largest legal services market globally, trailing only the US in scale. It accounts for a third of Western European legal services fee revenue and around 6.5 per cent of global legal services fee revenue.The report said that the UK’s dominant position in legal services was bolstered by the international prestige of English common law, which forms the basis of the legal systems for 27 per cent of the world’s 320 jurisdictions.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.

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