UK enjoys £5.6bn legal services trade excess in 2020; barristers' overseas income rises
Research by TheCityUK, London lobbying group, states, courts among world's most trusted as it encourages value of English law
According to a report by London lobbying group, TheCityUK, the legal services funded nearly £30bn to the UK economy in 2019, highlighting the worth of the sector to the national economy.
'Legal excellence, internationally renowned: UK ranked second for legal services fees globally, behind the United States based on UK legal services 2021. It generated a trade surplus of £5.6bn in 2020.
Report reveals that revenue of the UK's largest 100 law firms grew up by 4 percent in 2021 to £28.8bn. There are more than 200 foreign law firms with offices in the UK with parties from 75 countries, using the commercial courts over the last two years.
According to the report, TheCityUK's legal services group, chaired by former Herbert Smith Freehills senior partner James Palmer, has been 'building and maintaining strong relationships with senior government, regulatory and industry stakeholders. It is to maintain the competitiveness of the sector and 'create both new export markets and build deeper links with existing markets'.
Derek Sweeting QC, outgoing chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales that signifies barristers, welcomed the report. He added that analysis from its insurer, Bar Mutual, showed overseas income had tripled for barristers from £114m in 2005 to more than £394m last year.
Calling the data as a "reminder of the global power of our legal sector" Sweeting referred a report, of late, on the worth of English law as an international dispute resolution tool.
"English common law continues to be the foundation of legal systems across the world and also the most widely chosen law to govern international commercial dealings. Our courts remain among the most attractive and reliable across the world," he added.
Sweeting, along with Stephanie Boyce, President, Law Society lately participated in a UK legal services trade mission to the UAE, along with prominent sets including 36 Stone, Atkin Chambers and Twenty Essex.
Jemma Tagg, Chief Executive, Twenty Essex said: "Almost every case we work on has an entire international element. The interest of overseas clients, observing to initiate the Bar, continues to reinforce, so [these figures] come as no surprise."
She added, "We have been growing our international relationships strategically for years. With ever greater focus we see significant opportunities to continue, act for overseas clients and participate in co-counsel teams with professional clients abroad in dispute resolution both in the UK and internationally."
The report found that 43,209 disputes were resolved by alternative dispute resolution in the UK. In a survey released by Queen Mary University, earlier in 2021, London was placed joint first as a preferred venue to resolve arbitral disputes.
Greg Leyden, senior clerk, 7 King's Bench Walk, welcomed acknowledgement for the Bar's work, "especially in our key markets of shipping, trade and insurance, but also gradually more in civil fraud and big-ticket commercial disputes."
"Our members are active in areas where those markets are, we expect to remain so in 2022," concluded Leyden.