Drive to attract legal work to Ireland gathers pace with new event
A concerted effort is under way to position Ireland as a centre for international dispute resolution.
While the potential for Dublin to become an international legal hub has been talked up in the wake of Brexit, efforts to turn that vision into a reality will gather pace today with the opening of the inaugural Dublin International Disputes Week (DIDW).
The aim of the event is to highlight Ireland’s new-found position as the only remaining English-speaking common law jurisdiction in the EU, as well as the growth in complex international litigation being dealt with by the High Court.
The four-day event, which involves a large number of domestic and international speakers, comprises a two-day conference at the Mansion House tomorrow and Wednesday, and satellite events elsewhere in Dublin and online today and Thursday.
It is the brainchild of Ireland for Law, a group made up of representatives of the Bar of Ireland, Law Society, IDA and various government departments, which aims to pursue opportunities for growing the Irish legal sector.
Further events are due to take place in New York, Brussels and Madrid later this year to promote Ireland as a dispute resolution hub, while there are also plans for events in other European capitals, the US, Middle East and in Asia up to 2024.
Topics being discussed at DIDW include insolvency and cross-border restructuring, fraud and asset recovery, intellectual property, product liability, tech and data disputes, international arbitration, post-Brexit enforcement, and judicial co-operation.
Ireland for Law implementation group member and senior counsel Patrick Leonard said the aim of the event was to raise the profile of Ireland.
“It is about joining that club of countries people think of when they are choosing legal services,” said Mr Leonard.
A key part of the strategy is to promote the use of Irish law in international contracts and the effectiveness of Dublin’s fast-track Commercial Court both in terms of efficiency and value for money.
“I think in general the Commercial Court provides a good and reasonably swift service to the people which in general compares favourably with other jurisdictions around Europe and internationally,” said Mr Leonard.
While there has been criticism of high legal costs in Ireland, Mr Leonard said costs arising from Commercial Court cases were lower than in other major international litigation venues.
“We think costs would be lower than in London or New York. Certainly, the hourly rates at the Irish firms would not be at the same rates as they would be in equivalent firms in London and New York,” he said.
The Irish legal market has become increasingly internationalised in the past 15 years, first through the opening of offices abroad by major Irish firms and more recently through an influx of UK and multinational firms, at least 17 of whom have opened offices in Dublin since 2016.
The number of significant international cases being dealt with has also been on the rise and has included litigation related to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, alleged corporate raiding in Russia and several significant debt restructuring cases.