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Editorial

Legal market overview

Ireland's domestic economy is continuing its return to full strength: figures from the Central Statistics Office show that it grew by 7.8% of GDP in 2017, making it the fastest-growing economy in the EU for the fourth year in a row. In addition, according to IBM's 2018 Global Location Trends report, Ireland is the best country in the world for high-value foreign direct investment.

A key factor for Ireland’s economic growth is its position at the centre of the ongoing expansion of the aviation industry. More than 50% of the world's leased aircraft are owned and managed from Ireland, all but one of the top 15 global lessors have operations in the country, and, according to a report by PwC, aircraft leasing is worth more than €500m to the Irish economy. As a result, aviation finance and work for airlines and aviation companies is becoming a specialist area for many Irish law firms.

In the financial sector, the country’s three main banks - Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank - are not lending as much, which has opened up the door to more agile alternative lenders. For firms, development and real estate finance are where the work is as more and more international capital enters the Irish property market. In Dublin, construction has exploded: The Irish Times, in its monthly survey of building work in the capital, counted a record 104 cranes on the city's skyline in December 2018.

Firms have also seen an increasing amount of work in the residential property sector as the need grows for the construction of more private rental accommodation to alleviate Ireland’s worsening homelessness crisis – the result of limited social housing and the lack of house building during the financial crisis, which has meant demand for property far outstrips supply.

The investment funds sector has been another highly active area, as firms have seen a steady flow of work from asset managers looking to set up investment management companies and funds in Ireland as a result of the Brexit decision. The relaxation of the loan origination fund rules, which came into effect in March 2018, has also created new opportunities for fund managers hoping to establish operations in Ireland.

While there have been fewer blockbuster deals in the corporate and M&A sector, it remains buoyant, and the increasing number of UK businesses moving to and investing in Ireland in the run-up to Brexit is likely to bring more work. The presence of large multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon – all of which have their headquarters in Dublin, thanks to Ireland’s low corporate tax rate of 12.5% – has also generated a steady flow of legal work.

UK and international law firms are also becoming increasingly interested in Ireland: both Simmons & Simmons and Pinsent Masons LLP recently opened Dublin offices, and DLA Piper announced in May 2018 that it would be expanding into Ireland. The arrival of the new entrants has led to a shake-up in the Irish legal market, with senior partners at a number of top firms moving on to build up practices at new firms.

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Legal Developments in Ireland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • LANDWELL Bulletin: Managing in a Downturn

    As we are all well aware this is the most turbulent climate for business both nationally and internationally, that any of us have experienced. We have therefore focused this bulletin on areas where we believe we can help you take decisive steps to manage the issues that are required to get through the downturn and be properly prepared for the future.
  • The Companies (Amendment) Act 2009

    The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2009 (the “Act”) was signed into law on 12 July 2009. The Act provides for signifi cant changes to company law compliance and enforcement. It gives increased powers of search and seizure to the Offi ce of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (“ODCE”) and expands disclosure obligations with regard to transactions between a company and its directors (including specifi c changes for licensed banks). The Act also relaxes the requirement that at least one director of an Irish company must be resident in the State.
  • New Rules for Acquiring Transactions in the Financial Sector

    In line with EU-mandated requirements, Ireland has introduced new rules governing acquisitions, in whole or in part, of certain regulated financial institutions.
  • Irish Merger Control: Review of Key Developments in 2008

    A 47% Year-on-Year Drop in the Number of Deals Notified: Reflecting the global decline in merger activity, the number of deals notified to the Competition Authority fell to 38 in 2008, a 47% decrease from 2007, when 72 deals were notified, and a more than 60% decrease from the 2006 peak of 98 notified deals.
  • European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations 2006

    The EU Takeovers Directive (2004/25/EC) (the “Takeovers Directive”) has been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations, 2006 (S. I. No. 255 of 2006) (the “Takeovers Regulations”). The stated aim of the Takeovers Directive is to strengthen the Single Market in financial services by facilitating cross-border restructuring and enhancing minority shareholder protection. Many of the provisions of the Directive are already contained in the existing Irish regime for the supervision of takeovers set out in the Irish Takeover Panel Act, 1997 (the “Act”), the Takeover Rules, 2001 (the “Rules”) and the Companies Acts 1963 – 2005, which will continue to apply. The Takeovers Regulations cater for those areas not already dealt with in the existing regime or areas of the regime that needed to be adjusted as a result of the requirements of the Takeovers Directive.
  • Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features

    The issuing of securities of offshore funds for public sale into Japan is governed by a combination of the Securities and Exchange Law of Japan (the "SEL") which is enforced by the Japanese Ministry of Finance ("MOF"), the Law Concerning Investment Trust and Investment Company of Japan (the "Investment Funds Law") which is enforced by the Financial Services Agency of Japan ("FSA").Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features
  • Equality before the Law

    Employment Equality legislation in Ireland is to be found in the Employment Equality Act 1998 as amended by the Equality Act 2004. This legislation is extremely detailed but in effect makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the traveller community. These are referred to as the “discriminatory grounds”.
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ireland

    The enforcement of judgments between the EU member states is regulated by the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001, OJL 12/1, 16 January 2001) (“the Regulation”). On the 22nd December 2000, the European Council agreed the Regulation to replace the Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments 1968 (“the Brussels Convention”). The purpose of the Regulation was to bring the law contained in the Brussels Convention into the main body of EC Law. The Regulation was implemented in Ireland by Statutory Instrument 52 of 2002, European Communities (Civil and Commercial Judgments) Regulations 2002, which came into force on the 1st March 2002.
  • E-Discovery

    Unlike the United States, which is leading the way in relation to e-discovery and where the disclosure of electronic data has become standard procedure, as of yet there is no standard protocol or practice direction issued in relation to e-discovery in Ireland. Despite this fact, Irish lawyers are beginning to appreciate the invaluable nature of electronic data which can be retrieved and used in commercial litigation.
  • Disclosure Requirements with respect to Company Particulars

    Directive 2003/58/EC amending Directive 68/151/EEC (the “First Disclosure Directive”) became effective on 1st April, 2007 having been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Companies) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 49 of 2007) (the “Regulations”).

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