An event hosted by the Law Society of Northern Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Centre for European Law (ICEL) and attended by more than 120 legal professionals and academics discussed a prospective British exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU).
The conference addressed the implications of Brexit and what the possible impact could be on Northern Ireland's economy, legal profession, citizen's lives and the issues around human rights.
The discussion was opened by CMG Cunningham Dickey partner Michael Robinson, head of the UK delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), and Judge Anthony M. Collins of the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg.
The effects of Brexit on the operation of devolution under the Northern Ireland Act, were addressed by Brian Doherty a former solicitor with the Departmental Solicitors Office. Quoting Sir David Edwards "The long term consequences of Brexit are certainly unimaginable" he himself noted that Brexit matters more to Northern Ireland than the rest of the United Kingdom.
Barrister Margaret Gray presented her insight in a section titled "Commercial considerations and the Single Market in an all-island setting". She presented her thoughts on what were the benefits for Northern Ireland of staying within the EU, namely EU funds, single market access, services and benefits to consumers.
A partner at Pinsent Masons Belfast, Laura Gillespie, gave a presentation on "Practical Implications for Lawyers in a Post-Brexit landscape'.
The professor of human rights at The Queen's University of Belfast, Professor Colin Harvey, brought the conference to a close with his overview of the "Constitutional guarantees - Remain and Leave scenarios".
John Guerin, President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, commenting on the conference said: "Undoubtedly there are significant issues surrounding Brexit most notably the impact of the possible exit on the legal profession, the economy and Northern Ireland in general. It is important to encourage debate and discussion as we move closer to the referendum on the 23rd June 2016."