CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement by David Stanton TD
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality
with special responsibility for
Equality, Immigration, and Integration
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
Launch of the Irish Law Version of the
International Swaps and Derivatives Association Master Agreement
It gives me great pleasure to participate in this evening’s event here at the offices of McCann Fitzgerald and to support the International Swaps and Derivatives Association initiative, extending its primary documentation options to include the laws of Ireland.
Today’s initiative will make Ireland even more attractive to those who would prefer their contracts to be governed and safe-guarded by the laws of an EU Member State such as Ireland in a post-Brexit setting.
This also offers a complementarity of options to those currently relating to the laws of England and of the State of New York. It reinforces the bridgehead to Europe that Ireland can provide as a jurisdiction of steadfast legal reliability and repute.
As Minister of State, and in keeping with the active engagement of the Government, I have been spending much of my time talking with and listening to groups like yourselves, in order to understand the issues that concern you around Brexit.
One key concern across all fronts is that of “certainty” - be that political, economic or legal.
Today’s event represents a further cornerstone of legal certainty for those who would wish to avail of this jurisdiction, to protect their legal interests in their negotiation or resolution of contracts in a derivatives context.
Such certainty has also been fundamental to our national negotiation position on Brexit. At all times since the Brexit vote, we have made our priorities clear:
- Minimising the impact of Brexit on trade and the economy
- Protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process
- Maintaining the Common Travel Area
- Influencing the future development of the European Union.
That Northern Ireland has been a priority from the outset; that agreement has been reached on a Ireland-Northern Ireland backstop in the absence of other solutions; and that public recognition by both Governments of the continued application of the Common Travel Area are the result of ongoing work.
The efforts of Irish Ministers, politicians and civil servants to emphasise the importance of the Good Friday Agreement and of the Common Travel Area, have seen these issues feature prominently in phase one of the discussions.
Turning to the current state of play, significantly more progress is needed on the backstop, and also on other aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement. October remains the cut-off date for an overall agreement. This would give the respective Parliaments of EU Member States time to review the deal before March 2019.
As with our current weather outlook, so with Brexit - “The Heat in On! ”.
Be assured that our intensive preparations and contingency planning continue to be bolstered by those dedicated measures and funding supports announced in Budget 2018.
Now is the time for Ireland to be even more optimistic about Europe. Though there are clearly challenges arising from Brexit, the Government is confident that we can work together as 27 countries to deal with them.
The EU is a home that we have helped build and will continue to shape in the coming years. The extension of your primary documentation options to include the laws of Ireland, and in like fashion of France, is a vote of confidence in that future.
At a broader level, it is also a perfect fit with the joint initiative of the Bar of Ireland and the Law Society which comes under the banner of "Promoting Ireland as a leading centre globally for international legal services".
Its aim is to assist the Government in its key priority to minimise the impact on trade and the economy as an integral part of our national economic response to Brexit and thereby also to support existing Foreign Direct Investment, employment and tax revenue.
Its key stated ambitions are
- for Ireland to recognise and communicate the considerable existing advantages of Irish law, the Irish legal system and the Irish courts – our legal infrastructural advantage, and,
- to communicate Government policy commitment to continue to improve and invest in our legal infrastructure in order to support and develop business, both international and indigenous – our policy advantage.
In the course of its development, this initiative has enjoyed the support of the Department of Justice and Equality at both official and Ministerial level as well as those of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
It also received strong, early support from IDA Ireland who held a bespoke breakfast event at the Irish Embassy in London and from the Chief Justice and other members of the judiciary. Minister Flanagan performed a soft launch of the initiative at Government Buildings in January 2018.
There has been further development of this initiative since that time, on foot of which Minister Flanagan is bringing a Memorandum to Government for its formal support at Cabinet level and for the establishment of an implementation group.
I understand that it is now planned to have a more formal launch of the initiative in September and that the Bar of Ireland will be taking advantage of the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association to promote it in Rome in October.
Both the International Swaps and Derivatives initiative we are marking today and the wider legal services sector initiative being jointly led by the Bar of Ireland and the Law Society highlight the inherent competitive advantages that Ireland offers - and can further capture in a post-Brexit setting. Namely,
- our pro-business, English speaking, Common Law justice system;
- the Irish judiciary's international record of integrity, commercial awareness, fairness and impartiality;
- the experience and expertise of the Irish legal profession;
- the ongoing roll-out of the functions of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority and of the structural reform of legal services under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 including Legal Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships and a more independent professional conduct regime;
- the ongoing responses of the Government to the changing nature and demands of international business and financial services including the establishment of the Commercial Division of the High Court, the Competition list, the Court of Appeal along with the Arbitration, the Mediation and the Data Protection Acts.
- the advantages arising from Ireland's continued membership of the European Union, including that Irish legal procedures and judicial decisions are recognised and can be enforced throughout the Union.
These are attributes we have built up as a nation under our Constitution and law and as a participating member of the European Union. They are attributes of which we have every reason to be optimistic and proud.
I therefore particularly welcome the International Swaps and Derivatives Association in creating new synergies by embracing the laws of Ireland in parallel to those of France. Your work has been timely - a fine example what we must do across all sectors and across all of Government.
As our gathering this evening attests, we have the keys in hand to open even more doors to Ireland post Brexit as a jurisdiction of first resort.