Interview with co-founders of the Association for English Law (AAP) Vladimír Ambruz and Jakub Honzík. This article contains founders vision for the future of the AAP and its mission statement.
What role does English law play in the Czech Republic?
Jakub Honzík (J.H.): The common law legal culture, which also includes English law, is used worldwide, especially in international transactions. We are aware from our experience, that even small businesses in the Czech Republic who operate on domestic market (e.g.: as importers) usually require some working knowledge of engliah law as their contracts often contain prorogation clauses designating English law as applicable law. The purposed of the AAP is to help these clients to find a lawyer in the Czech Republic who is appropriately qualified to provide specific legal advice in this context.
Vladimír Ambruz (V.A.): Although the United Kingdom is not a neighbouring country, we regularly encounter clients in the Czech Republic who have business connections to the UK and require advice on the English law – most often in relation to business transactions. The Member profiles section contains information about lawyers, who are qualified to provide legal services in both Czech and English law and who are simultaneously based here in the Czech Republic.
There are international law firms in the Czech Republic providing services in the area of Czech law, which also have branches in the United Kingdom, which in turn are capable of providing legal services in English law from abroad. What are the advantages of english law qualified lawyer who is based in the Czech Republic?
V.A.: Firstly, the AAP is not intended to compete with law firms. AAP is a network of lawyers who are often employed in international law firms – it is not in itself a law firm and it does not employ any lawyers. Members of the AAP work independently of the AAP – some are employed in law firms and even if they are not, they cooperate with law firms either on long-term basis on ad-hoc projects. Whatever their mode of working (many are sole practitioners), their common feature is the possession of unique dual-qualification in both legal systems which enables them to provide their clients with advice based on experience from both Czech and English law.
J.H.: Many clients seek lawyers with specific experience and qualifications for work on issues which require individual approach. Dualy-qualified lawyer can provide a client with advantages such as more effective and straightforward solution, individually tailored and taking account of all the nuances between the two legal systems. Such lawyers can also understand the different expectations of clients from different countries.
What led you to founding the AAP?
A.V.: It could be said, that there was a sort of “network” of lawyers with dual qualifications even before the establishment of the AAP – one which was based on personal and work relationships. Many of our members know each other, thei either studied together or they worked together in the past.
J.H.: AAP is a natural continuation of these relationships – a common platform for people who often already know each other and seek new ways in which they can cooperate. It is also a reaction on general demand for specialized legal services.
How many Czech-English dually qualified lawyers are there? Will they not compete against each other?
J.H. We are not afraid of clients who will call each individual member seeking quotations. Many of our members have their own areas of law in which they specialize. We also appreciate the fact, that the demand for these services far exceeds what such small group of lawyers can cover. The purpose of the AAP is to match each client to a lawyer with appropriate qualifications, but also with the requisite experience. Many members already work together in one way or another and we expect common membership in the AAP to further strengthen these ties.
V.A.: Rather than competition, we were worried about the fact, that lawyers with dual qualifications were not so far very visible on the Czech market and did not have effective means of offering their services to those clients, who seek such lawyers. AAP can also help with spreading awareness across the Czech public, that there are professionals based locally, who can afford these services.
What is the role of the AAP in relation to Brexit?
V.A.: Brexit is going to influence most segments of English law. The process of Brexit will mandate necessary changes and our members are ready to help their clients navigate these changes and interpret their effect on their businesses.
J.H.: it is clear that in the long-term, English law will diverge from Continental legal systems in the areas of previous harmonisation facilitated by the European Union. We hope that we can help our clients bridge these differences.
One of the purposes of the AAP is also a cooperation with national and international institutions. How do you want to achieve this?
J.H.: We want to play the role of a think-tank in the context of English law and its development. We intend to support our members in their publishing efforts and want to provide the public with expert opinions e.g.: in the context of Brexit.
V.A.: Our cooperation is of course not limited to issues related to Brexit. There are institutions, which are inherently connected to the United Kingdom (e.g.: commerce chambers) and we intend to facilitate cooperation between these institutions and our members.
We welcome further questions from the public regarding the AAP – these can be forwarded to our email: email@example.com