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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Turkey

12th November 2012

Why allowing everything in England helps international business

It’s not often that I meet representatives of a British Company in the morning and read in the afternoon that they are contributing to UK economic success.

So I’m intrigued here in Istanbul to meet leading law firm DLA Piper – one of several which have established substantial operations in Turkey – and to read later in the day that business services – which includes the legal sector – is one of the highest performing parts of the UK economy.

Indeed, I read the same evening that following reports that UK GDP grew by 1% in the third quarter of 2012, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has forecast that the UK could grow faster than any of the major Eurozone economies in 2013 and 2014.

The English legal system has many attractions for international business.  The English legal system has centuries of history and precedent and is widely viewed as fair, objective and flexible.

It is often stated that English law is the law of compromise.

In contrast to some jurisdictions where everything is forbidden unless specifically allowed by law (I remember in a certain European country once seeing a sign in a park announcing “tricycle riding permitted”), in England everything is allowed unless it is forbidden by law.

This makes contracts drawn up under English law attractive to international businesses operating around the world as it allows the true commercial intent of the parties to be reflected. For example, English law was selected as the most convenient legal system for a contract governing a recent major construction deal involving a Turkish company in Rwanda. The application of English law can therefore give an advantage to international consultancies which provide English legal services in third countries. It’s all part of a system which includes the courts themselves and one of the world’s best-developed systems of international arbitration and dispute resolution.

You can find out more about UK financial and professional services from the excellent organisation, TheCityUK.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.