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UK legal services 'can boost world economy'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 18/03/13

Lawyers - what are they good for? According to secretary of state for justice Chris Grayling, they could play a major role in boosting the recovery of the world's economy.

He stressed that the UK's government is intent on facilitating the expansion of UK legal services and feels that a strong legal framework is essential when it comes to allowing trade to take place - a big factor in improving the international situation.

Speaking at international law firm Allen & Overy, Mr Grayling pinpointed London as being a legal centre as well as a financial one, with an unrivalled mix of legal services and a remarkable blend of judicial expertise.

"We are determined to help British law firms and barristers compete in the global race and develop a presence that is equal to their world class reputation," declared the justice secretary.

Doing legal business in the UK, generally in London, saves companies from across the world up to £1.4 billion a year - despite its notorious problems with efficient transport, the capital has earned its reputation as a legal hub and hosts numerous renowned law firms.

In the modern marketplace, however - especially following the economic problems alluded to by Mr Grayling - these companies need to look beyond the borders of the UK if they are to make a major impact and improve their bottom line.

With this in mind, the government is keen that international counterparts such as India continue to liberalise their own law markets, allowing British-based companies to get involved and offer their impressive services.

According to the justice secretary this is not solely driven by the rotating dollar signs visible in his eyes, but by a sense of philanthropy - India's economy could also benefit from allowing more UK firms into its legal sector, he argued.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: "English law, like the English language, is commonly used in global commerce and international dispute resolution."

There is also a degree of cultural cachet bestowed on the UK by making it the go-to destination for legal services. While Britain's days of sailing the waves and telling people from other countries what to do may be over, it appears that its private practice lawyers can play a part in ensuring it remains a major player on the global stage for years to come.