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British lawyers take up Belgian citizenship as no deal Brexit fears mount

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Dual nationality will ensure they can continue to appear before European courts

Brussels

British lawyers based in Brussels are taking Belgian citizenship to continue practising before the European courts amid no deal Brexit fears.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to pull Britain out of the bloc “do or die” come 31 October (the UK’s rescheduled EU departure date). In the event of no deal, Brit lawyers practising in the EU may face certain restrictions: they could lose their right to take part in post-Brexit Court of Justice proceedings.

It’s why joining the Belgian bar is an attractive recourse. Brussels is also a key centre for competition law, and most corporate outfits have a presence in the capital which will enable them to continue to advise clients on matters concerning European law.

Trevor Soames, a Brussels-based partner at US law firm Quinn Emanuel who has recently obtained Belgian citizenship, told City A.M.:

“Everybody I know either has done it or is in the process of doing it. I can’t think of anybody who hasn’t — they’d be silly not to. A significant part of my work is arguing cases before the European courts, as of 31 October my rights of audience cease. This goes for all British lawyers unless there is a withdrawal agreement.”

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Soames, who specialises in EU competition and regulatory law, added: “Taking another nationality is not something I have done lightly. I’m very happy to be living in Belgium and grateful but I never imagined it would ever be necessary and when doing it I was sad.”

Only citizens from the European Economic Area can legally join the Belgian bar. The Belgian government has granted a stay of execution, meaning lawyers from the UK can join the bar until 2021.

It seems taking Belgian nationality isn’t the only form of insurance some British lawyers are obtaining. More than 2,700 UK lawyers have paid €300 (£278) to join the Irish roll of solicitors to ensure they’re able to continue practising in the EU post-Brexit.

The Law Society of Ireland, however, has recently thrown doubt on whether this will be enough with the suggestion that lawyers will need to be established within Ireland and pay indemnity insurance within the state.

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55 Comments

Anonymous

I own a couple of Tintin books and have seen many episodes of ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot’ – am I eligible for citizenship?

Bob

Did you ever listen to Plastique Bertrand?

Anonymoius

I am the King of the Divan.

Bojo

Blue, red and white Brexit! 🇬🇧

Anonymous

Chlorine-washed chicken Brexit! 🐓

Anonymous

As opposed to chlorine-washed salad Remain?

Anonymous

No – if it’s salad, it’s definitely Romaine.

Lizard

Hehe

Anonymous

Right, so 0.014% of UK lawyers will be taking Belgian citizenship so they can continue to practise.

That’ll show the wretched Leavers!

Simon

Sometimes I find myself on the verge of tears when I think about our impending exit from the EU, that bastion of culture, empathy and other virtues. It’s just so sad. But then I remember that we’re not leaving. The 15m of us who voted to remain will not let it happen. We will do anything it takes to remain. And I mean anything. Let’s hope the gammon realise that before it’s too late for them.

Anonymous

Why do so many remainers get so childishly worked up?

I voted remain, and I’d vote that way again given the chance. But I’ve never emoted about it like this. It’s embarrassing.

Anonymous

What works me up is how stupid and racist English pensioners are. Shame we haven’t had a decent flu season since 2016.

Anonymous

That’ll be the pensioners who have lived more of their lives as EU citizens than many remainers have been alive for, presumably.

I’m more bothered by all the young sloganising remainers. Most of them are half-wits and have no life experience to draw on either. Still, many are unvaccinated because their ‘crunchy’ parents reject all that. So a good measles or diphtheria outbreak should produce a decent cull.

Anonymous

“Sloganising remainers”? “We want our country back….”

Anonymous

A million Brexit voters have died since 2016.

Reasons to be cheerful

Anonymous

We are closer to 1.25m now. No loss. And 1.5m 18-21 year old remainers whose views apparently don’t matter. Brexiteers prefer dead people to young people.

Anonymous

Brexit voters are also generally fatter and unhealthier than remain voters. They smoke and drink more too.

Fantastic

Anonymous

But they have more children, who are also likely to be leavers. And that’s without all the former remainers who have switched sides in despair at the bossy and self-righteous remainer MPs and campaigners.

Is there any remainer willing to say what s/he would do if a further referendum were to produce another leave result?

Anonymous

6.47: Despair at the stupidity and racism of the English and begrudgingly accept the massive act of self harm, stand back and wait for a decade of “I told you so opportunities”.

Anonymous

Evil bastard.

Anonymous

STFU cretin

Anonymous

Trevor is an utter douchebag FYI

Trevor

Come at me bro

Alex Kelly

If you want a bent judiciary come to Ireland, the finest judges money can buy.

Des In Dublin

Zero evidence for this – can’t think of a single Judge that has even been accused –

Ben Fellowes

McBrearty, Eddie Fullerton, Jobstown, Rossport…

Anonymous

McBrearty was garda corruption.
Eddie Fullerton – what went on there.
Jobstown were acquitted by a jury.
Rossport 5 – jailed for contempt of court.

Where is the judicial corruption?

Anonymous

There was a story in yesterday’s Irish Sun about Wayne Rooney’s hooker riding an Irish Judge.

Anonymous

Rode her like Shergar

Anonymous

Anonymous

Legal ‘costs’ regime almost as bad as the UK.

Anonymous

Hasn’t everyone sorted out a bolthole passport in case Brexi tards push us off the cliff?

Anonymous

LOL commies over there aren’t they. Britain out now. Out with competition law.

Anonymous

VOTE LEAVE

TAKE BACK CONTROL

Gary

I’d rather be castrated than become Belgian. Cheers

Anonymous

Speaks volumes to your bigotry and poor quality sex life.

Trainee Associate

The EU is an undemocratic and corrupt institution. We must leave on 31 October.

Anonymous

Hi Weil trainee

Anonymous

Brexiteers are traitors

Trainee Associate

Are you serious? Traitors are those calling for a “people’s vote” or the revocation of Article 50. Lib Dems, Labour a few looney lefties in the Tory party should be tried for treason.

Anonymous

Deadly serious, gibbeting serious

Gerald

If Brussels don’t give us what we want, the military option cannot be ruled out. People seem to have forgotten how powerful we are. Particularly when we have support of the US

Trainee Associate

We need to work with out American friends and take down the undemocratic and brutal EU regime. The EU has crippled Greece, Spain and now Italy. The idea of the EU was based on trading which was fine. But when free movement of people from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland came into effect, the whole idea collapsed and led to the downfall of our great British country. There should be 0 benefits for Romanians and Polish people. I don’t work my ass off so some Polish/Romanian family can come into our country and claim benefits including housing benefit, child benefit, free healthcare and education. Benefits should be abolished for all European immigrants.

OXFORD BA HISTORY

Here, here. We should abolish student finance for EU students. Makes absolute no sense for taxpayers to fund French, German, Spanish and Italian students. I’m not going to include Romanian students as most of them don’t study and are on benefits, causing havoc on our streets.

Fine to charge European immigrants same fees as British students but ridiculous for the taxpayer to fund fees for Europeans.

Anonymous

Whatevs dude. Well just rejoin in a few years anyway- with a worse deal than we have now! EURO, SCHENGEN!! And there’s nothing you tossers can do about it!!

Trainee Associate

You’re daft to think we’ll join the EU again let alone adopt the Euro. Grow up, cretin.

Derek

Exactly. And if the EU won’t voluntarily dismantle itself, we send in the troops. We have one of the greatest militaries in the world, while Germany is weak. People seem to forget that.

Have a Go Lawyer

Is not about be able to continue to work and have an income based on years of building up your professional standing, rather than having a go at leavers.

Have a Go Lawyer Round 2

*Is it not about being able to continue to work and have an income, to continue to support yourself based on years of building up your professional standing, rather than having a go at leavers. I mean what would all these lawyers (and clients) do post Halloween 2019?

Anonymous

I hate Leavers. So basic.

Anonymous

Time for the army to intervene and arrest the brexiteer government. This is getting serious and it’s time for wise heads to take charge.

Trainee Associate

It’s actually time for the Queen to step in and arrest all undemocratic traitor remainers including Grieve, Corbyn, May, Hammond and Swinson. The majority (17.4m) voted to leave regardless of deal or no deal. We must leave on 31 October and not betray the British people.

Anonymous

Brexiters are cockroaches

Anonymous

Harsh. On cockroaches.

Anonymous

Wow, the comments on this article are insane.

It’s times like this I desperately wish the Lib Debs actually mattered in Government, if only just to finally legalise weed so you all can spark up and chill out.

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