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New report commissioned by LegalUK reveals the significant economic value of English law

English law underpins a vast amount of economic activity, both in the UK and globally. However, its role as a national asset and its wider commercial importance have not been fully appreciated or exploited by the UK.

A new report commissioned by LegalUK and produced by economic consultancy Oxera for the first time identifies the scale of value of English law as a platform that benefits UK plc and international business. It reveals that English law governed at least EUR 661.5 trillion of OTC derivatives trading in 2018, $11.6 trillion of global metals trading in 2020, and £250 billion of global M&A in 2019. English law also governs insurance contracts worth £80 billion annually and is the law of choice for maritime contracts, a sector that contributes over £15 billion annually to the UK economy.

The report identifies several opportunities for English law to underpin transactions globally in new areas of the economy, such as sustainable finance, fintech, and cryptoassets. Additionally, it establishes that businesses using English law benefit from reduced transaction costs, by increasing the predictability of outcomes and hence growth in the volume of transactions in an economy. This benefits all users of English law, not just UK companies or individuals.

The publication of the report marks the formal launch of LegalUK, a body including representatives from across the legal industry, which was originally established in 2017 by the Lord Chief Justice, and is chaired by Dame Elizabeth Gloster a former judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and Vice-President of the Civil Division. Its purpose is to promote English law nationally and internationally, to increase the use of English law internationally, and to enhance the UK’s position as a leading global centre for dispute resolution.

Travers Smith has joined The Law Society, the Bar Council and other stakeholders in the legal sector to fund the report. Funders include Allen & Overy, Atkin Chambers, Baker McKenzie, Blackstone Chambers, City of London Corporation, Clifford Chance, CMS, DLA Piper, HFW, Herbert Smith Freehills, Howard Kennedy, Kennedys Law, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Mishcon de Reya, One Essex Court, Osborne Clarke, RPC, Simmons&Simmons, South Square, Stewarts Law, Twenty Essex Street and Wilberforce.

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