UK lawyers set up house with Germans

A EUROPEAN “lawyers' house” is set to be created in Brussels if a deal to share offices is struck between the UK Law Societies and the German Federal Bar.

The Brussels office of the Law Societies of England and Wales and Scotland could take up new premises next year, sharing for the first time with another country. The plan is expected to extend to other European legal bodies in the future.

“This is a big step towards creating a lawyers' house in Europe,” said the Law Societies Brussels representative Patrick Oliver. “Between the UK and Germany we already represent some 150,000 lawyers.”

Oliver, who claimed the move would “strengthen our clout towards the European institutions”, said the teaming of the two organisations, which have stood together on a number of issues including establishment, was a “natural alliance”. He added: “We see eye-to-eye on many European issues, we understand one another's professions and we think on the same lines.

“This will strengthen the ties between us and reduce the running costs of the Brussels office.”

Heike Lorcher, a Brussels-based director of the German Federal Bar, said there was potential for the offices to be opened to other delegations.

“There are quite a lot of countries which are not represented here yet,” said Lorcher. “It could happen that if they came to Brussels, a house where there are already several organisations could be quite attractive.

“It will make our work more effective because we can work together on issues and share networks and resources. The idea is to create a place with lots of lawyers – as many as possible.”