Brexit reality brings big changes


At the time of writing, the Government was still negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union. However, whatever deal is struck, it will result in changes that will affect us all from 1 January. You can keep up to date with the latest updates on what it may mean for the legal sector on our Brexit page.
We are currently reviewing our Standards and Regulations to identify appropriate rule changes to reflect the position post-Brexit implementation period, and we are making changes that we know will be needed in either scenario.  We will make additional changes if necessary.
For example, changes to our Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS) will be necessary whatever the outcome. We consulted on changes in 2018 and decided that, post-transition, we’d allow lawyers from outside the UK who are seeking admission as a solicitor here to apply for exemptions for the QLTS, while removing rules which allow someone who is part-qualified under the rules of an EU member state (other than the UK) to apply for exemptions from January and under our Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) when it is introduced.
Registered European lawyers
The registered European lawyer (REL) regime will come to an end on 31 December 2020 (except for Swiss lawyers). Unless they have opted out, all RELs who renewed their registration during the last renewal window will automatically become registered foreign lawyers (RFLs) from 1 January.
Keeping data safe
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has a campaign on keeping data safe post Brexit. DCMS believes a large number of business are unaware that they might need to take action to adhere to new rules from January.
You can find out more about the Government’s advice on their website.
DCMS has worked closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to prepare supporting guidance for UK organisations receiving personal data from the EU, and the advice includes a link to the ICO End of Transition hub to keep the data flowing.
Financial sanctions changes
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has also published advice on what to do in the new year. After the transition period ends, the UK will no longer apply EU sanctions regulations. The piece from OFSI can be found on its website.