Saturday 19 January 2019

Cabinet to study plan for international legal Brexit bonanza

Bar Council chair Paul McGarry
Bar Council chair Paul McGarry
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Cabinet is to consider proposals aimed at attracting significantly more international legal dispute resolution work to Ireland in the wake of Brexit.

Plans to encourage international businesses to use Irish law and to promote Ireland as a jurisdiction for settling disputes have the backing of Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

They come as the post-Brexit recognition and enforcement of English judgments across the EU remains unclear.

The proposals have been advanced by the Bar of Ireland, the Law Society, the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association, the Commercial Litigation Association of Ireland, Arbitration Ireland and 16 top law firms.

The Irish Independent understands the minister believes the initiative is a natural fit with the Government's Brexit strategy and plans to bring a memo to Cabinet in the near future.

Following Brexit, Ireland will become the largest common law jurisdiction in the EU.

Common law is the preferred governing law for a high proportion of cross-border commercial contracts and arbitrations.

If even a small percentage of legal work were to leave the UK for Ireland, it would be of considerable benefit to the legal services industry here.

At present, the UK is believed to account for 20pc of the EU's legal services fee revenue and London is the major centre for international disputes.

Among other measures, the plan calls for changes to court procedures to make dispute resolution cheaper and faster, increased judicial resources, and increased use of technology.

It recommends that a Government-sponsored enterprise, working with the IDA, promotes the implementation of the plan.

"Ireland's position as an English-speaking common law system at the heart of the EU presents us with a unique marketing opportunity," said Bar Council chairman Paul McGarry SC.

Law Society director general Ken Murphy said investment in technology and infrastructure is needed in the courts system and that Ireland has to position itself for the possibility of a Brexit benefit.

"Nobody knows for sure whether there will be one or not, but that is no reason not to prepare for it," Mr Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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