2016

EU Referendum: in-house survey results

31 May 2016

Last month’s survey indicated a strong preference from respondents working in-house to remain part of the EU.

The survey, which sought views from our in-house members on how the EU impacts them and the organisations they work for, attracted 145 responses.  Around one third of respondents worked in the private sector and two thirds in the public sector.

Asked what their preferred outcome from the referendum would be: 85% of respondents hoped for a remain vote; 6% would prefer to leave the EU; and the remaining 9% didn’t know or declined to answer.

In relation to the impact of the EU on individuals: 78% of respondents thought it had a major or slightly positive impact on them professionally; 10% thought it had a major or slightly negative impact; and 12% said that the EU made no difference to them professionally.

As for the impact of the EU on businesses and organisations: 83% thought it had a major or slightly positive impact on their employer; 10% thought it had a major or slightly negative impact; and 7% said that the EU made no difference to their employer.

The Law Society of Scotland is a firmly non-partisan organisation.  We recognise that there are differing views within the profession and continue to take a neutral stance.  Respondents to our survey were, however, keen to share their individual opinions on the positive and negative impacts of the EU.  A selection of those responses is below.

Positive

  • "Freedom of movement of trade and people within the EU is a great bonus for in-house lawyers."
  • "The EU has been a source of a huge amount of positive labour legislation, consumer protection and sector specific rules in my sector (financial services).  Being part of a wider group provides opportunities, influence and relative stability."
  • "My employer only exists because of the barrier-free EU."
  • "The EU has been the driving force for equality legislation."

Negative

  • "The laws which emanate from the EU have a stifling effect (through overly prescriptive regulation) on my organisation which is an SME."
  • "My perception is that the EU creates lots of ‘red tape’."
  • "Employment, data protection and procurement are highly lucrative areas for some lawyers, but as an in-house lawyer, for my client, these areas of European law are very complex and expensive to negotiate."
  • "We are over regulated and over represented."

To help inform the debate, the Society has issued a discussion paper on the issues raised by the referendum.

We're also hosting an event on 16 June where Ian Forrester QC will deliver a lecture on the origins and successes of the European Union as well as its problems and challenges. Register here.