A specialist commercial lawyer says the Brexit vote will lead to two years of pain and uncertainty.

Michael Hatchwell, a corporate and commercial lawyer at law firm Gordon Dadds, also says Brexit will have adverse economic effects throughout the European Union.

And he says the UK is unlikely to retain its position in world economic rankings.

“Inward investment will certainly be affected as overseas companies re-assess whether given the vote, they should locate first in another EU jurisdiction. The UK will remain in the EU for some two years in any event as the exit terms are negotiated,” said Mr Hatchwell.

“This will be a painful and uncertain time that will not serve our economy well.

“The impact of Brexit will undoubtedly adversely affect the rest of the EU also. At a time when much of the EU is struggling, a Brexit will have wider implications. Potentially other countries may seek to follow the UK’s example. A weaker Europe is bad for the UK economy even if we are not in the EU.

“Ironically, I suspect there will be a considerable slowdown of EU integration, because a Brexit will manifestly demonstrate the danger of allowing anti-EU sentiment to fester and of not reforming the EU constitution. The EU must become more accountable and more transparent.”

He added: “The UK is very unlikely to retain its position as the fifth largest world economy, because it will not be seen as such an attractive place to locate a business for accessing the rest of the EU. Doing business in the UK is likely to become more expensive.

“Over time, Frankfurt will seek to take on the position of London and whilst we will continue with some 55 million people to be a market most countries will need to continue to sell into, we simply cannot expect to remain a gateway to a market of some 450-plus million people, as we are presently.

“Given that 44% of our trade is with the EU, it is inevitable that a Brexit will adversely impact upon the UK economy.”