Council of The Bar of Ireland welcomes Government approval of Legal Services Brexit Initiative

04 January 2019

The Council of The Bar of Ireland has welcomed Government approval today of a legal services initiative to make Ireland a global hub for international litigation and arbitration post-Brexit.
The initiative, led by the Council of The Bar of Ireland in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland and the wider legal community, with support from the IDA, seeks to position Ireland to fully capitalise on the opportunities that may arise from the UK exiting the European Union, effectively making Ireland the only English-speaking common-law jurisdiction fully integrated into the European legal order.
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan TD, today formally announced the Government’s support for the initiative, saying that it will now form a component of the Government’s Brexit Strategy. 
Welcoming the development, Chairman of The Council of The Bar of Ireland, Miche├íl P O’Higgins SC said; “As the UK prepares to withdraw from the European Union, we are already seeing an uptake in international businesses seeking to make Ireland their European base, so it is prudent that there would be a coordinated and strategic approach – across all sectors – to ensure that Ireland capitalises on this in whatever way it can. The legal sector is no different and that is why the Council of The Bar of Ireland has been driving this initiative for the past 18 months and we welcome the formal approval by Government today, which will see the Strategy form a component of the Government’s overall Brexit Strategy.
“The UK is the second largest market for legal services globally and English law is used for commercial contracts across the world. As the UK leaves the EU, the likelihood is that judgements of English courts may not be enforced in EU member states easily. This is just one of the reasons why there is now a real opportunity to increase the market for international legal services in Ireland.
“The growth of international legal services here stands to deliver a very positive knock-on effect because if Ireland becomes a place in which international litigation and arbitration is routinely carried out, it also inevitably enhances the reputation of Ireland as a place to do business.
“The UK’s departure from the EU creates a real opportunity for Ireland, not only for legal services but also for the wider economy. We have estimated that even a 1% movement of legal services from the UK to Ireland could add between 1,100 and 1,600 jobs to the Irish economy in a year.
“The initiative which was given formal approval by Government today ensures that we will be in a strong position to realise the full opportunity that this scenario presents. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the wider legal community, and with the IDA and Government stakeholders, in the establishment of an implementation group to take the initiative forward,” he said.