§ 62. Mr. Barry Porter
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to promote access to legal advice which crosses national frontiers to enable United Kingdom firms to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the single European market; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Redwood
The Government are anxious to ensure that there is continuing progress towards the freedom of provision of legal services in the Community. Member states are obliged by 4 January 1991 to implement directive 89/48/EEC on a general system for the recognition of higher-education diplomas. This will allow lawyers from one member state to be admitted to the corresponding profession in another member state and practise as members of that profession, using the title of the host member state. Entry to the profession in another member state will be subject only to a limited written test or period of supervised practice where necessary to show competence in provisions of the national law of the host state.
We are also anxious that there should be as few restrictions as possible on the provision of legal advice in another member state not as a member of that state's profession but as a member of the lawyer's home state profession.
In the United Kingdom, there is only a small range of activities that is reserved to members of our legal profession: rights of audience in court, the issue of certain court proceedings, probate and conveyancing. Beyond those activities, we do not impose any restrictions on who may give legal advice, and we welcome foreign lawyers or law firms practising under their home state title in the United Kingdom. Not all member states adopt such a liberal approach. My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor and I will continue our efforts to persuade colleagues in other member states that freedom to provide legal advice throughout the Community using home state title should be allowed, and that the provisions of the treaty of Rome on rights of establishment are adhered to.