On the occasion of the its Board meeting, the CNUE organised a discussion session on 15 April in London on the consequences of Brexit in the field of civil justice. In the prestigious setting of the Residence of France, British practitioners were invited to share their opinions on the ongoing political process and the concrete consequences for citizens in terms of family law, inheritance law and the fight against money laundering. The following took part in the debates:
- Mr Michael Clancy, Solicitor and Notary Public, Director of the Law Society of Scotland. Mr Clancy represents the Law Society on Brexit issues in the UK and Scottish Parliament. He is a member of the Brexit Law Committee established by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England.
- Mr Nigel Ready, Scrivener Notary, Honorary Chairman and Former Senior Partner at Cheeswrights.
- Ms Rita Giannini, representative of the Joint Law Societies Office in Brussels as Justice Policy Adviser.
- Mr Alex Storer, International Policy Adviser – Europe at the Law Society.
To open the discussions, Mr Clancy gave a detailed overview of the political negotiations under way between the United Kingdom and the European Union since the referendum in March 2016. In view of the recent extension granted by the European Union to the United Kingdom until 31 October 2019 to allow for an “orderly withdrawal”, Mr Clancy presented the various scenarios that could now be considered.
Mr Ready explained to the participants the role of London’s scrivener notaries, who are in charge of preparing documents intended solely use abroad, and his fears that obstacles would appear following Brexit. He then highlighted the consequences of Brexit on private international law, particularly in family law, where the United Kingdom is already considered a third country for many regulations (Regulation on international successions, Regulations on matrimonial property regimes and registered partnerships, etc.).
Ms Giannini and Mr Storer supported Mr Ready’s remarks, recalling that accession to certain international conventions, such as the procedures under the Hague Conventions, as well as their implementation, would be longer than the usual adoption mechanisms at EU level. They also highlighted the important preparation for Brexit for English legal professionals and expressed their fears that they would lose some mechanisms for cooperation with practitioners on the continent. They called for cooperation with the European notariat on the subject of Brexit.
The Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom, Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet, honoured the participants with his presence. When asked about the ongoing negotiations and the issue of combating money laundering following Brexit, his comments perfectly illustrated the complexity of the issue, both at legal and political levels. Mr Pierre-Luc Vogel, President of the CNUE, assured him that all European notariats would be called upon to assist citizens living in the United Kingdom or on the Continent in dealing with the many legal issues that will arise in their daily lives.