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Brexit vote: legal world reacts

The following article has been extracted from the Law Society Gazette website:

The legal profession has started to respond to the UK’s historic decision to vote to leave the European Union.

The country voted for Brexit by 52% to 48%, prompting the prime minister to announce his departure by October.

City firms Clifford Chance and Dechert had already outlined their plans to set up advice centres for clients potentially affected by any change in the UK’s status.

Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner of Clifford Chance, said today: ‘We believe this outcome has serious implications for the City and many of our clients’ businesses with exposure to the UK and the EU.

‘We are working alongside our clients to help them as they anticipate, plan for, and manage the challenge the coming political and trade negotiations will bring.’

The Bank of England has said it is ‘monitoring developments closely’ and added it ‘has undertaken extensive contingency planning, working closely with ,other domestic authorities & overseas central banks’.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of lobby group TheCityUK, said: ‘Our immediate focus is on stability – in the markets, for investors, and for our industry’s customers.

‘Clear agreement is now needed on the way forward for the forthcoming negotiations as government shapes a new relationship for the UK with the EU and retains the jobs and investment that the UK has seen to date. For financial and related professional services, the focus is on securing continuing access to the single market.’

Talk has also started to turn towards the future of Britain’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, from One Crown Office Row, tweeted that he ‘feared’ for the convention following the vote and speculated Britain may now seek to leave it.

‘No appetite immediately, but it’s part of many in Brexit camp’s overall plan,’ he added.

Professor Mark Elliott, professor of public law at the University of Cambridge, said it was now ‘open season’ on the ECHR.

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