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Life in Brussels

As the Christmas lights sparkle on in the Grand Place and markets spring up across Brussels to usher in the festive season, my 3-month secondment at the UK Law Societies’ Joint Brussels Office has come to an end.

I feel extremely grateful to have secured, and for BPE to have supported, this secondment opportunity. The complicated relationship between law and politics has never been more prevalent (and plastered in the headlines) in the post-Brexit era, and it was a privilege to have been able to contribute in a small way, in exploring the UK’s new role as a ‘third country’ in Europe. I had applied for this secondment due to my interest in not just applying the law in private legal practice, but also in questioning why laws are designed to be the way they are, and what positive changes can be effected, to improve societal welfare.

Throughout the secondment, I was primarily involved in the Law Society’s private international law dossier, working with policy advisers to consider the current lacunae in framework relating to the cross-border enforcement of judgments between the UK and the EU, since the UK’s withdrawal from the Lugano Convention as a result of Brexit. Personal highlights in relation to this include making oral representations to the Law Society’s EU Committee to present a paper considering the potential avenues for the UK’s accession to the Lugano Convention and/or the Hague Judgments Convention, and my role as editor-in-chief of the Brussels Agenda, providing legal and political updates to a readership of approximately 2000, including MEPs and policy advisers across the EU and the UK.

My advice to anybody considering a similar opportunity is to simply go for it and embrace all the opportunities that result from it. What was initially for me, a daunting prospect of having to adapt to a completely different working environment and vastly different areas of law, has resulted in an incredible learning experience which has developed me professionally.

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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