We hope that 2013 was a good year for you and your firm and that 2014 brings new opportunities and further success. We saw a number of developments in the Irish market last year and you can watch a short video from IDA Ireland with local highlights here, including updates on a number of our clients.
We have prepared a short overview of key developments in the Commercial environment during 2013. We hope this proves helpful and if you require any additional information on these topics do please contact one of our team.
European Commission Calls on the US to Restore Trust in EU-US Data Flows
A recent communication published by the European Commission set out the actions that the Commission asserts need to be taken to restore trust in the flow of data between the EU and the US. This came as a response to the allegations by former US National Security Agency ("NSA") contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA was spying on overseas internet traffic via its PRISM programme, as well as apparently eavesdropping on the mobile phones of political leaders.
The Commission called for action in six areas:
a swift adoption of the EU's data protection reform, the General Data Protection Regulation; augmenting the Safe Harbour Scheme - the Commission made 13 recommendations to improve the functioning of the Scheme; strengthening data protection safeguards in the law enforcement area; using existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and sectoral agreements to obtain data; addressing European concerns in the ongoing US reform process (review of US national security authorities' activities); and promoting privacy standards internationally. The Commission, along with the US authorities, is seeking to identify remedies to the data flow concerns by summer 2014 and to implement them as soon as possible. The Commission will also review whether the concerns relating to the functioning of the Safe Harbour Scheme have been dealt with adequately.
Consumer Rights Directive
The Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EC) (the "Directive") was transposed into Irish law in December 2013, by virtue of the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 (SI No. 484 of 2013) ("2013 Regulations"). The 2013 Regulations will come into operation on 13 June 2014 and will apply to contracts concluded after that date.
The Directive consolidates and simplifies the currently distinct laws for distance contracts (such as contracts concluded online...