If and when Brexit takes effect, Ireland will be the only legal jurisdiction (other than Malta) that will be both common law – and a member state of the European Union.
Last year, the Law Society of Ireland with the Bar of Ireland, supported by the active engagement of some of Ireland’s largest law firms, published a joint paper, Promoting Ireland as a leading centre globally for international legal services.
The paper, adopted by Cabinet as Government policy in January 2019, aims to leverage these advantages for Ireland’s benefit by attracting international legal work to Ireland.
Law Society President Patrick Dorgan and director general Ken Murphy (pictured) are travelling to Washington DC today (13 March) where the Government will launch its ‘Ireland: An international legal centre’ initiative at the Irish Embassy as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Attorney General Séamus Woulfe SC will host the event on Friday 15 March, while the Chief Justice Frank Clarke will give the keynote address.
“Brexit, and the uncertainty surrounding it, poses unique and difficult challenges for Ireland and Irish business,” the director general explained. “However, we should seek to leverage our distinct advantages for the benefit of Ireland, Irish business and our legal profession.”
“Promoting Ireland as a leading centre, globally, for international dispute resolution and other legal services is a key initiative in the Government’s priority to “minimise the impact on trade and the economy”.
He continued: “As noted in our paper, this is a chance to create further employment, primarily in the Irish professional services sector, and to generate tax revenue from increased international legal work in a sector that already generates €2.46 billion annually in turnover, and contributes at least €1.6 billion in gross value added to the Irish economy.”
The director general added that the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC were an excellent opportunity to raise consciousness about Ireland as an international legal centre among American lawyers and corporations.
“We believe the uncertainty surrounding the enforceability in the EU of judgments of the UK courts, post-Brexit, will make dispute resolution in Irish courts more attractive to international litigants,” Murphy said. “Ultimately, the aim is to see increased numbers of international commercial agreements with Irish jurisdiction clauses included in them.”
He concluded by saying that the Law Society was proud to support the Government’s efforts to secure recognition for Ireland as a legal centre of excellence, and to “contribute to the development of this important and, hopefully, impactful project”