Sunday 22 April 2018

Plan aims to capitalise on international legal work leaving UK post Brexit

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

An initiative to make Ireland a leading centre for international legal services following Brexit has been backed by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

The plan will seek to bring international legal work currently done in the UK to Ireland.

Major doubts hang over the future of London as a centre for international dispute resolution. Around half of all cases in the London Commercial Court involve disputes where all of the parties are foreign.

But much of this work is expected to leave the UK amid fears judgments will not be enforced in EU member states as easily as they currently are.

Mr Flanagan today launched an initiative by the Bar of Ireland, which is already being supported by IDA Ireland and the legal community, to promote Ireland as a go-to location for settling disputes.

The minister pledged to seek the Cabinet’s formal endorsement of the plan, under which international companies will be encouraged to use Irish law to govern agreements they enter.

The Irish Independent understands strategies for attracting legal work in various sectors are at an advanced stage of development and financial backing will be sought from the Government to implement the initiative.

Sectors which will be targeted include financial services, insurance, intellectual property and aviation finance.

Mr Flanagan pointed out that Brexit would make Ireland the only English speaking common law jurisdiction in the EU. He said the initiative would “help put Ireland on a firmer footing to benefit from any opportunities that arise”.

Bar Council chairman Paul McGarry said: “International consumers of UK legal services are already signalling that they will move operations. In that sense, the UK’s departure from the EU creates a real opportunity for Ireland, not only for the legal services but also for the wider economy.”

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