2019 Legal Highlights

A snapshot view of highlights from some of the topics covered in this year's Knowledge Annual Report.

Download the full report for more topics and the full articles.

This year's Report also includes insight pieces on asset management and investment funds, finance and financial regulation, insurance, environmental and property law alongside the areas listed below.

Anti-Money Laundering

We have seen a lot of regulatory and enforcement activity in anti-money laundering throughout 2019. From an Irish perspective, we've had new legislation on beneficial ownership of both corporates and trusts and September brought the launch of Central Bank Guidelines on AML/CTF for the financial sector.

In 2020, we'll see further supervisory activity from the Central Bank, as well as legislation to transpose 5AMLD into Irish law. On the European stage, the EBA will be taking on a new supervisory role in the field of AML in 2020.

Corporate Law

One of the biggest challenges for corporates this year has been getting to grips with new beneficial ownership regulations. With a filing deadline to the Central Register of 22 November 2019, this challenge is likely to continue into 2020, when we will hopefully see further guidance and practice emerging.

The coming twelve months are also likely to bring new Irish legislation to re-establish the ODCE as the Corporate Enforcement Authority with enhanced investigative and evidence gathering powers.

Data Protection

The GDPR continues to dominate data protection legislative and regulatory discussions. Ireland's Data Protection Commission received a record number of complaints during the first year of the GDPR and this is set to continue into 2020.

Among the legislation expected in 2020 is the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, which will establish an Online Safety Commissioner and require online platforms to take reasonable steps to remove harmful content and ensure that children are safe online.


From an employment law perspective, 2019 has been dominated by a continued focus on gender balance in the workplace. Ireland has introduced two new Acts to enhance parental leave entitlements and the Government's gender pay gap legislation is expected to become law in the coming months.

In Europe, the CJEU delivered a significant judgment on employers' duty to record their employees' working times and a proposed directive on work/life balance is also in the pipeline.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Significant decisions from the Irish courts in 2019 are likely to have an impact on litigation in 2020 in areas such as interlocutory injunctions, the approach to security for costs applications, the statute of limitations in relation to manifest defect or damage, and the factors for courts to consider when hearing discovery applications. It is also anticipated that the Review of the Administration of Civil Justice, led by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, will report back in the coming year.

Read the full report