As a result of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, the UK has entered a transition period, whereby existing EU law and regulations will continue to apply until 31 December 2020.

It is the UK Government’s intention to agree a trade deal with the EU by the end of the transition period. An updated version of the BSB Handbook will come into force at the end of the transition period following the UK’s exit from the EU. The changes affect Registered European Lawyers (RELs) practising at the Bar of England and Wales, and European lawyers seeking to be admitted to the Bar. They also implement provisions relating to the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement, which was agreed by the UK and Switzerland in 2018. You can see the changes which will come into force in the BSB Handbook in this document.

If you are a Registered European Lawyer (REL) and would like to know more about transferring to the Bar, please see the information for transferring lawyers in the Bar Qualification Manual.


The UK government has published the following guidance:

Important information for Swiss lawyers practising in England & Wales after the EU Transition Period

If you have a UK qualification and professional title

Swiss lawyers who have registered in England and Wales, or who transferred to the Bar of England and Wales before the end of the transition period, do not need to take any action to continue to practise as long as they remain registered in England and Wales.

If you have a Swiss qualification and professional title and wish to practise under your Home Professional Title in England and Wales

Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification and title, or those in the process of qualifying, will need to start their application to practise under their Home Professional Title as a Registered European Lawyer within four years from the end of the tranistion period. Once registered, Swiss lawyers can continue to practise after under their Home Professional Title as a Registered European Lawyer as long as they remain registered to do so.

Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification or title, or those in the process of qualifying, who wish to transfer to the Bar England and Wales under existing routes, need to so within four years from the end of the transition period.

Swiss lawyers with a legal services business in the UK

Swiss lawyers, who are Registered European Lawyers with an ownership interest in a legal services business prior to exit day do not need to take any action. Swiss lawyers with an ownership interest in a legal services business who are not registered as a Registered European Lawyer, need to start their application to register within four years after the end of the transition period.

If a Swiss lawyer wishes to own or part-own a legal services business after the transition period, they will be subject to the rules of third country lawyers.