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Brexit 'offers potential to create dispute resolution hub'

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Opportunity: Law Society of Ireland director general Ken Murphy

Opportunity: Law Society of Ireland director general Ken Murphy

Opportunity: Law Society of Ireland director general Ken Murphy

THE Irish legal system could become the "jurisdiction of choice" for dispute resolution in the EU following the UK's departure from the trading bloc, according to the head of law firm Eugene F Collins.

The firm's managing partner, Mark Walsh, said Ireland's legal system was now unique within the EU after the UK left the bloc last week.

"The Irish common law system is now the only one of its kind within the EU and that makes Ireland a prime destination for dispute resolution in the aftermath of Brexit," he said.

That echoes comments made by Ireland's chief justice, Frank Clarke, in 2018 when he also said Ireland could become an international centre for dispute resolution following Brexit.

For international litigation, Ireland's English-speaking common law system, combined with its recognition in the EU, could be increasingly attractive in disputes.

The common law system in use in Ireland sees courts rely on precedence, where it exists, to resolve cases where plaintiffs and defendants disagree as to what the law is.

The system is also used in the UK, the United States, Australia and a large number of other countries outside the European Union.

While Malta also relies on common law, it incorporates other legal elements into its system too.

Eugene F Collins has just appointed lawyer Paul Dempsey as a partner in its dispute resolution department.

Maura Connolly, head of dispute resolution at the law firm, said that there had been an "increased focus" on alternative dispute resolution in the Irish market.

Ms Connolly said the firm had been involved in multi-million-euro claims involving hedge funds, commercial property and large-scale insurance disputes.

Under the Mediation Act 2017, solicitors are obliged to advise clients to consider mediation to attempt to resolve disputes before issuing proceedings.

Ken Murphy, the director general of the Law Society of Ireland, has also previously said that Ireland could become a global dispute hub in the future.

"It is already clear that some legal work - particularly litigation and commercial court cases - that would previously have been undertaken in the UK is now seeking EU bases," he said in 2018.

"As the principal common law jurisdiction left in the EU post-Brexit, Ireland is well-placed to benefit from this," he added, warning that investment was needed in the Courts Service to position Ireland as the leading international dispute forum.

Irish Independent