Link: https://www.matheson.com/horizontrackerautumn23

The Matheson Horizon Tracker describes key Irish and EU legislative and regulatory developments.  In this Autumn / Winter 2023 edition our commentary and analysis is informed by a selection of our Insights published from across our practice areas during 2023.  Building on these Insights, we also include a short summary of what is ahead for 2024. 

A descriptive, horizon-scanning section is based on the Government's legislative programme for Autumn 2023, but is also informed by our up-to-date scanning of what has happened during the Oireachtas session with a final 'as of' publication date of 28 November 2023.  At the time of writing, it is only six sitting days away from the end of the Dáil session which will rise for its winter recess on 14 December 2023.

As usual we also keep an eye on domestic regulatory developments and legislative and regulatory updates from the EU, in addition to regulatory events emanating from the Central Bank of Ireland and other key regulators.  The combination of commentary from our best Insight pieces, together with an analysis of what has happened during the Autumn, and our horizon-scanning into 2024 is designed to help our clients to plan for the short-term, and we hope, into the medium term.

Significant developments described in this Year in Review include those in relation to ESG.  As the general focus on ESG evolves we can see the increasing emergence of an emphasis on the 'S' as in social governance.  This is most clearly expressed in developments in relation to Employment law.  However, the reporting obligations generated by compliance with ESG requirements are, of course, of continued importance and are addressed in commentary from our Corporate group and from the practice areas within our Financial Services Advisory group.  This commentary includes a discussion of the latest developments on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, the European Green Bond Standard Regulation and its development, and the interface between these frameworks and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

We describe the delayed implementation of sector-specific ESRS and also look ahead to developments with the related Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.  The interesting tension between privacy rights and the need for transparency in the corporate sphere heralded by the CJEU decision in Sovim has been the subject of commentary from our experts, and we continue to watch developments in this area.

Our Financial Institutions Group focuses on a number of matters.  The completion of the Consumer Protection code is one area of inquiry.  In addition, and underlying the drive towards financial institutional resilience, there is an update on the implementation of Basel III standards reflected in proposed changes to capital requirements amongst other detailed updates.  We describe developments in the European Payment Services regulatory framework as 'one to watch'.

Our Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice area considers Civil Justice Reform under the Justice Plan including the Kelly Report Implementation plan, amongst other developments.  Third party funding of litigation is a theme of the moment with recommendations on the Administration of Justice in Ireland, in addition to recommendations from the CLRG on the same issue in the context of funding of insolvency matters.  These initiatives have been described in a range of Insight pieces from our Commercial Litigation and Disputes Resolution practice over the year and details of these, with links to relevant pieces, are available from commentary.

Third party funding of litigation, together with recent developments in relation to a consumer class action framework will change the landscape of litigation in the future.  Changes to some aspects of corporate insolvency and restructuring are considered in our Commercial Litigation and Disputes Resolution as the draft directive on Harmonising Certain Aspects of Insolvency Law is being considered at Commission level and was the subject of a domestic consultation process in early 2023.

There are significant changes due in the international corporate tax regime, as described in our commentary, with links to further pieces as we await the passing of the Finance (No. 2) Bill before the end of the year.  

Finally, in a section on other legislative initiatives we focus on healthcare, with legislation ranging from assisted decision-making to pharma regulation and - related to the latter - new initiatives in relation to scientific research funding in Ireland.

To provide a relative point of departure, we refer back to the Spring and Summer 2023 Horizon Trackers, where initiatives have been in the pipeline over the course of the year (and in some cases beyond that).  In our view this provides additional context.

As with recent editions, this edition is a web-based production with links to commentary and analysis from Matheson experts in each practice area.  From the commentary section please follow the links to the reference guide for all relevant legislative and regulatory instruments in that subject.

Related Knowledge events are available on our client facing platform, the Matheson Knowledge Hub (with the facility for automatically-generated CPD certification), where you will find a range of specialist webinars in addition to webinars from our Knowledge Insights Series over the past year.