3 July 2018

ISDA publishes new Irish law Master Agreement for derivatives markets

Minister of State, Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD together with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and leading Irish law firm, McCann FitzGerald, today welcomed the introduction of an Irish law version of ISDA’s industry standard Master Agreement.

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Picture (from L to R): Scott O'Malia, ISDA CEO, Judith Lawless, McCann FitzGerald, David Stanton, Minister of State at Department of Justice and Equality and Katherine Tew Darras, General Counsel, ISDA.

Users of the ISDA Master Agreement will now be able to choose Irish law to govern their derivatives contracts and the Irish courts to determine related disputes. This initiative forms part of ISDA’s strategy to provide users of its documentation with the tools they need to future-proof their contracts against the uncertainties presented by Brexit. 

In a post-Brexit environment, where Ireland will be the largest common law jurisdiction in the EU and judgments of EU Member State courts benefit from automatic recognition and enforcement throughout the EU, ISDA’s initiative will be a significant benefit to such users and to Ireland.

Speaking at the event, Minister of State, Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD, said;

“This is tremendous vote of confidence not just in Ireland but in Irish law and in the Irish courts system. Ireland is already a jurisdiction of choice for a number of markets. The decision will also help boost Ireland’s profile and stimulate an increased acceptance by the international finance and business community of Irish law as a governing law of choice for cross-border transactions and legal dispute resolution, thus offering a significant boost in potential new business for the Irish legal services market.”

Scott O’Malia, CEO of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said;

“Financial and non-financial businesses across the world depend on derivatives to manage risks to which they are exposed. ISDA’s role is to facilitate safe and efficient derivatives markets. A particular focus for us is Brexit and while we can’t predict its outcome with certainty, we can prepare for some of the possible outcomes. The launch of the new Master Agreements is intended to provide additional options to users, so they can trade under whatever agreement best meets their needs.”

Judith Lawless, Partner, McCann FitzGerald said;

“We have worked closely with ISDA to make Irish law available as an additional governing law option for the ISDA Master Agreement. Following the UK’s departure from the EU, Ireland will be the largest common law jurisdiction in the bloc. This initiative will be seen as a welcome development by users of the ISDA Master Agreement as the very limited differences between the existing English law, and new Irish law, versions, and the similarities that exist between English and Irish contract law and legal systems, will be viewed as points of strength and reassurance that their expectations as to how the Master Agreement works should be respected.

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