The Society's comment on the UK's vote to leave the EU
Eilidh Wiseman, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “The vote to leave the EU marks the start of monumental change for the UK and our relationship with the rest of Europe.
“While we cannot predict the full economic effects of the vote to leave on business decisions of law firms or those of their clients, it’s important to understand that the UK remains a full member of the EU until the terms of our withdrawal agreement are negotiated. There will be no immediate change to the current legal position so solicitors’ day to day practice and the advice they provide for clients won’t yet be affected.
“Discussions are likely to start in the near future about when to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This allows a member state to notify the EU of its intention to withdraw and once invoked, there is a two-year period for the UK to negotiate its exit. Given the complexity involved, it would be surprising if negotiations were concluded significantly earlier than this.
“Solicitors regularly advise their clients, whether individuals or businesses, on EU law and policies and keep their clients informed of their rights and obligations. For example as an employee or an employer, we are affected by the working time directive or the EU standards for parental leave. As consumers we are affected by EU food standards and those who work in industries ranging from agriculture and fisheries to telecoms and technology are also affected by EU regulations.
“We will closely monitor the UK Government’s negotiations with the EU as they develop during this transitional period through to the implementation of the final agreement and consider the potential impact on solicitors’ businesses and practice rights, on the domestic legislative process and on our future interaction with the EU. We will work to ensure that our members are kept informed to ensure they can properly advise their clients at every stage.”
The Law Society published an EU Referendum discussion paper which highlights a number of areas where the law would have to change following withdrawal from the EU: EU Referendum discussion paper and Q&A