Barristers help the economy

Profession
More international and commercial arbitrations take place in London under English law than in any other city of the world, the Legal Services Board has noted in its paper, ‘Market impacts of the legal Services Act 2007’, published at the end of October.


It reports that the London Court of International Arbitration has seen a growth in use by overseas parties, and predicts that this is likely to increase with the opening of the Rolls Building court centre last year.

The Bar is increasing its share of the export market – in 2010, its overseas exports totalled £152m, up from £131m in the year before, according to a report last year by TheCityUK. As the Bar Council has pointed out, barristers’ chambers and law firms make a significant contribution to the UK economy, amounting to £23.1bn or 1.8% of the UK’s gross domestic product in 2009.

Moreover, while legal services have been affected by the economic downturn, barristers are helping to drive recovery, according to the LSB’s paper.

It records that the total turnover of the legal services sector returned to pre-recession levels in 2010/11 (reaching £25.49bn compared to £25.47bn in 2007/08).

In the first year of the recession, between 2007/08 and 2008/09, solicitors’ firms experienced an 8% fall in turnover. Barristers and other non-solicitor legal services providers, however, saw their turnover grow during this period, “driving the return to pre-recession turnover levels for the whole market”.

Non-solicitor and barrister legal services consistently account for a third or more of total industry turnover.

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