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Justice minister hails legal innovation on Middle East mission


Justice minister Lord Wolfson has praised the role of English law in supporting innovation in a speech to an audience of UK and UAE commercial lawyers at the UK Pavilion at the Dubai Expo event.

Wolfson spoke on the second day of the UK Legal Services trade mission to the UAE, also attended by Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, and Bar chair Derek Sweeting QC.

In his first official visit abroad, Wolfson praised the ‘spirit of innovation and progress’ evident in both the UK and the Middle East, including in legal services and through English law itself. ‘English law plays a role in creating an environment in which this innovation can flourish,’ said Wolfson, including in areas like sustainable arbitration, the challenges and opportunities of lawtech, and environmental law.

English law, he said, was ‘highly flexible and able to react to the changing needs of both markets and society at large’ in facilitating the rapid adoption of legal technology, which sector, he said, was ‘at the cutting edge of new technologies and more efficient ways of working’.

Lord Wolfson QC 2020 expo

Wolfson also praised the judiciary, government, and practitioners in innovating to maintain access to justice, through the use of technology in keeping courts open.

On climate change, following CoP26, Wolfson added that, ‘the legal profession should take the lead in approaching its work in a way that is climate-conscious’, saying ‘lawyers will be essential facilitators for change in the future’, including in facilitating sustainable arbitrations.

Referencing his experience regionally as a commercial barrister with One Essex Court, he stressed the value of personal connections to lawyers locally, alongside Dubai’s increasingly international outlook, as ‘Dubai brings the world together’.

Wolfson told the Gazette that he was ‘delighted’ that the Law Society and Bar Council had attended the trade mission, which he said underlined the importance to the UAE that all sides worked together to develop an important trading relationship, worth in excess of £170 million.

He also praised the UK judiciary’s work regionally, saying ‘judges around the world recognise the leadership of UK judges and in particular Commercial Court and the Chancery Division judges’. 

The trade mission is moving on to Israel today, to continue its focus on lawtech and other innovations. 



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