MHC Times Issue 33
06 September 2013
Our last issue of MHC Times saw us at the beginning of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Ireland’s term came to an end in June and we can now review some of the accomplishments of the last six months.
The most significant achievement was the agreement between the EU and US to begin negotiations for a trade and investment agreement. The deal has the potential to unlock economic growth of 0.5% on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the area of financial services, the Presidency made the Banking Union a key priority of its term, in order to prevent a recurrence of past mistakes, to better protect savers and taxpayers and to ensure that EU banks can support the region’s economic recovery. Activity included the Agreement with the European Parliament on the Capital Requirements Package, which came into force on 17 July 2013. The new rules (which will apply from 1 January 2014) tackle some of the vulnerabilities shown by banking institutions during the crisis, namely insufficient level of capital, both in quantity and in quality. These rules set stronger prudential requirements for banks, requiring them to keep capital reserves and levels of liquidity. This new framework will solidify EU banks and will strengthen their capacity to adequately manage the risks and absorb any potential losses they may incur in trading.
The Presidency prioritised the Digital Single Market, which has the potential to deliver long-term benefits to European businesses and consumers. It sought in particular to improve consumer trust in the digital economy, securing agreement on legislation that will address consumers’ security and privacy concerns. The proposed Data Protection Regulation will guarantee Europeans greater control of their personal data and cut costs for businesses.
In the area of intellectual property rights, the Presidency secured agreement on the long-awaited Unified Patent Court Agreement, which will provide a onestop shop for registering and protecting patents, one of the flagship components of the Presidency agenda. This was also accompanied by developments in the WIPO Treaty.
The past six months have also been particularly productive at Mason Hayes & Curran. We were honoured to win two major industry awards. In April we won “Client Service Law Firm of the Year” at the Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence 2013 held in London. The award is based on feedback and recommendations made by clients in Ireland and around the world and we were one of only 8 firms in Europe to be presented with this award. In presenting the award, Chambers commented: “This enterprising firm has had an outstanding year, raising its profile in a number of key areas. It is a strong choice for technology matters, evidenced by its innovative work for Facebook. The firm is recommended for its corporate and dispute resolution practices, which, like the rest of the firm, are praised for their client service ethos.”
Our success continued in May at the Irish Law Awards, which acknowledge excellence and recognise the outstanding achievements and exemplary practices of leading law firms and legal practitioners across Ireland.
We were delighted to win the main award at this prestigious ceremony – Law Firm of the Year. The judging panel included leading representatives from the business and legal community.
In recent months, we have worked on major transactions in the Irish market. Among these was the proposed hostile takeover of Elan by Royalty Pharma. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it triggered the sale of the company, showcased our experience in this area and preserved our outstanding record of working on every contested takeover in the Irish market for the past 30 years.
Other welcome activity in the Irish market includes the return to activity in the real estate and construction market. We are currently acting for a North American investor in its first European transaction and one of the first real estate investment trust purchases in Ireland. We are also advising on the proposed new R&D facility by the Kerry Group. This landmark facility will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a site of global excellence in food innovation.
The energy sector is another pillar of Ireland’s development where we continue to see significant activity. We are advising on a number of projects across the island, including the largest onshore wind project in Ireland – Galway Wind Park.
We look forward to seeing how the impact of the past six months’ achievements will continue to unfold and generate further economic opportunities across sectors in Ireland and abroad.
In conclusion, I hope you find this issue of MHC Times of interest and as ever we would be delighted to hear your feedback and comments.
Emer Gilvarry, Managing Partner
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice. Mason Hayes & Curran (www.mhc.ie) is a leading business law firm with offices in Dublin, London and New York. © Copyright Mason Hayes & Curran 2013. All rights reserved.