January 10, 2018: An initiative by The Bar of Ireland supported by the IDA and the legal community was launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, today (Wednesday) seeking to promote Ireland as a leading centre globally for international legal services.

Post-Brexit, Ireland will be the only English speaking common law jurisdiction fully integrated into the European legal order, and this presents significant opportunities for both the Irish legal sector and the wider economy.

In this initiative, which complements the Government’s wider strategy of pursuing trade and investment opportunities from Brexit, the existing IFS2020 strategy A Strategy for Ireland’s International Financial Services Sector 2015 – 2020, and the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, the Government is encouraging legal professionals in Ireland to work in a unified way to develop and progress a strategy to increase trade in legal services to the international sector as the UK leaves the EU.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, said: “The growth in international trade and investment across borders has increased demand for legal advice and representation. While the ultimate outcome of the Brexit negotiation process is not yet known, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will give rise to a changing landscape, including in the field of legal services. The initiative being launched today will help put Ireland on a firmer footing to benefit from any opportunities that arise from the UK’s departure from the EU, leaving Ireland the only English speaking common law jurisdiction in the Union.”

Minister Flanagan added: “I intend to brief Cabinet on this initiative and propose the Government’s formal endorsement and support for The Bar of Ireland in bringing this key sectoral initiative to fruition along with the legal community and other stakeholders and with the support of an implementation group”.

Paul McGarry SC, Chairman, Council of the Bar of Ireland said: “English law is used for commercial contracts across the world and the UK is the second largest market for legal services globally. In two years’ time it is unlikely that the UK will be integrated in the EU legal system and consequently, there is a real risk that the judgements of English courts may not be enforced in member states easily. This is about clients.  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.

Mary Buckley, Executive Director, IDA Ireland said; “The development of Ireland as an international litigation and arbitration hub enhances Ireland’s reputation as a location for Foreign Direct Investment within Europe. The strengthening of the legal services sector here will meet the growing demands of leading international businesses that are increasingly deciding to make Ireland their European home.”