In favour of local law

I read with interest in last week's The Lawyer that the CCBE has once more failed to reach a common view on the rights of establishment for lawyers in Europe.

I cannot believe that after all the years of junket trips to exotic locations around Europe, they are no further in finding a solution to this issue.

It seems to me that there is something wrong with a profession that is taking nigh on 20 years to sort out something so simple as working in a member state.

I have some sympathy with the view from some European States that lawyers should be part of the local profession. After all, US and UK firms say they do not want to practise local law.

But before you can say multinational partnership, they are engaging in all sorts of arrangements with local firms. That is when they are not practising local law themselves.

What is wrong with taking an examination and becoming a member of the local Bar? The Law Society, in campaigning for the major City firms, is turning a blind eye to their exploits once they get into another jurisdiction.

Many have abused the hospitality of the local professions by acting as Trojan horses – using their greater resources to behave in an anti-competitive manner by surreptitiously taking large chunks of the better paid work.

As a result, I for one have sympathy with the Spanish and the French on this point. But whatever the issue, I am perturbed that it has taken lawyers so long to get their own house in order.

After all it doesn't say much for the art of negotiation and lawyers.

'Eurosceptic' ,London EC4