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Speakers to bring Brexit dimension to Law Society of Scotland annual conference

17 July 2018

The impact of the UK leaving the European Union on Scotland, its legal sector and law firms and businesses of all sizes will come under the spotlight at the Law Society of Scotland’s 2018 annual conference Leading Legal Excellence.

Lord Hope of Craighead and Aidan O'Neill QC are joining the line-up of keynote speakers at the conference and will each bring their unique perspective to the Brexit question just six months before we leave the EU.

Aidan O'Neill QC of Matrix Chambers and Ampersand Advocates is a noted specialist in EU law and UK constitutional law. Recently involved in both Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, he will consider the current legal issues, what can be learnt from the intervention cases so far, and the future tensions and complexities businesses and their legal advisers are likely to face in his keynote address ‘Brexit and beyond: A new era for constitutional litigation’.

Lord Hope of Craighead, former Lord President of the Court of Session and Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court, will look back on his legal career at the bar and on the bench in conversation with conference chair Austin Lafferty. However, his current position in the legislature could prove as significant as his time at the judiciary. As Convenor of the Crossbench (or independent) peers, he has a unique position from which to observe and contribute to debates in the House of Lords, including recently on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, at this time of constitutional debate and tight parliamentary arithmetic.

Alison Atack (pictured), president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Brexit will have a profound impact on citizens and businesses in Scotland, the UK and across the EU in many ways – some of which are known and understood and others which are currently unpredictable. This year’s conference provides an excellent opportunity for members of the profession and anyone else with an interest in law or business to hear from some of the finest legal minds on what may lie ahead. Lord Hope has had an extraordinary career and it will be fascinating to hear his thoughts on the significant changes he has seen while at the bar, on the bench and now as a senior member of the House of Lords during a time of historic change. Aidan O’Neill, who has been at the forefront of the current constitutional debate, is also a fantastic addition to our conference and will be able to offer insight on key issues facing the profession as we guide our clients through the complexities of Brexit and its outcomes.”

Aidan O'Neill and Lord Hope join previously announced speakers Baroness Hale of Richmond, President of the UK Supreme Court, and Dr Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School. Delegates at the conference will have an opportunity to put their questions to each of the keynote speakers.

The conference is open to anyone with an interest in law or business. In addition to the keynote speakers, delegates can choose from a programme of break out and panel sessions depending on their work and interests,

Leading Legal Excellence takes place on Friday 26 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. An early bird discount of 20% is available on all tickets sold up to Tuesday 31 July.

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