Mr Justice Hogan: Ireland will face post-Brexit pressure to codify private law

Mr Justice Hogan: Ireland will face post-Brexit pressure to codify private law

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan

The Irish legal system could face pressure after Brexit to codify large areas of private law currently covered by common law, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan has warned.

The former High Court judge, who currently sits as an Advocate General in the European Court of Justice, told the annual Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA) conference that the impact of Brexit “will be considerable and remains unpredictable”.

Mr Justice Hogan chaired the one-day conference, which was aimed at lawyers and professionals such as accountants, engineers and architects seeking an update on professional negligence and liability law and practice.

He said: “As the Brexit deadline draws closer, the impact for the Irish legal system will be considerable and remains unpredictable, depending on the ultimate form that Brexit will take.

“Irish legal practitioners may over time have to react to the pressure for codification in large areas of private law presently covered by traditional common law rules and case-law and existing novel legislative measures such as the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive, which will become even more critical in areas such as contract law or banking law.

“The scope and pace of this change could be significant for those dealing with the corpus of CJEU jurisprudence in a range of areas from family law to European Arrest Warrants to copyright. Those who respond most effectively to the new post-Brexit landscape will inevitably manage their risk more successfully than those who do not look to adapt.”

He concluded: “The magnitude of change, post-Brexit, to the fabric and structure of our legal system could well be significant in the absence of the United Kingdom and all practitioners might well wish to reflect on this for their own practice areas.”

Holmes O’Malley Sexton sponsored and supported the PNLA conference for a second year in a row, with managing partner Harry Fehily delivering the opening address.

Commenting on the conference, he said: “The legal implications of Brexit for professionals was an obvious topic to be discussed, but we also heard from leading legal and insurance professionals on current trends and future forecasts.

Mr Fehily added: “As the construction industry is enjoying a strong resurgence thanks to the current buoyant Irish economy, we had a particular emphasis on this industry. With increased opportunities in this sector, comes increased potential for professional negligence cases and we need to be prepared.”

Michael Carrigan, consultant solicitor at the firm, addressed the conference on the topic of ‘The role of the independent expert solicitor in professional negligence cases.’

Barrister Rossa Fanning addressed the question of whether Ireland currently has a claims culture problem.

Other speakers at the conference included Simon Wilton, junior counsel at Hailsham Chambers; Kellie Smith BL; Declan O’Rourke, general manager at AIG Ireland; Damian Kilpatrick, managing director at Aon Ireland; Michael Davis, director of financial & professional services at Aon Ireland; and Tony Reddy, director at Reddy Architecture + Urbanism.

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