‘Rule of law’ an exportable asset

Our long commitment to the rule of law is a “great export” and of central importance to the economy, the new Attorney General told delegates at London Law Expos on 14 October.

Speaking on the future of the legal services sector, Jeremy Wright QC said: “When you do business in the UK you know that it will be on the basis of tried and tested legal foundations.”

The sector was worth over £20bn (1.5% of UK GDP) in 2012 and contributed £4bn in export value, employing over 300,000 people, with over 200 foreign law firms operating in this country. “The concept of the rule of law is an asset to this country both at home and abroad. It brings us jobs and investment. It is also a great export both in the number of our lawyers working abroad, acting in the best traditions of the rule of law, and in the number of countries looking to us as an example,” he added. The sector’s many examples of international pro bono work were lauded, including the Bar Council’s work “in many jurisdictions on projects to train and support lawyers in promoting the rule of law, including advocacy training programmes in India and Pakistan, and young practitioner exchange programmes with China, Russia and South Korea. Through these initiatives our rule of law standards are filtering into other legal cultures.”

The Attorney General also praised the “huge number of lawyers and law students at home, up and down the country, who provide their services voluntarily and free of charge… to those who would not otherwise have access to it.”

The Global Law Summit in February 2015 will be “yet more evidence that Britain continues to lead the way in promoting free enterprise, economic growth, and the rule of law around the world,” he concluded.