Republic of Ireland contract law is almost identical to the UK and in particular England and Wales and Northern Ireland contract law, each being based on the common law system. The Irish courts routinely follow UK courts in relation to basic principles of contract law, civil liability and in many other areas.
In selling goods from Ireland into Europe the same cross-jurisdictional issues arise as in selling goods from the UK into continental Europe. Some states may require the contract for sale to be in writing or evidenced in writing.
The Distance Sales rules are derived from EU law and are identical in the UK and Ireland at present. Basically, detailed precontract information must be given in a distance sale. The purchaser has a right to cancel in most circumstances within a certain period.
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1893 as amended, and as was formerly the case in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, an uncompleted contract for the sale of goods is usuaally required to be evidenced in writing. There are exceptions.
Terms and Conditions
Apart from the above issues, it is common sense and good business to ensure that there are written terms and conditions applicable to the sale contract. It is desirable that the governing law and the courts in which disputes are adjudicated is the home state, in this case Ireland.
Ireland has a very is similar legal system to that of England and Wales. The Courts operate in a similar manner, with similar rules of evidence and procedure. This is in marked contrast to the position in continental Europe countries, which are not common law jurisdictions and use radically different methods of adjudication of disputes.
In business to business contracts, it is generally possible under common law and European Union law for the contract to specify the state whose laws govern the contract and the state whose courts hear disputes. These principles reflected in English law are recognised throughout the EU under common EU rules. The EU wide rules can be asserted and directly enforced in other EU states, so as to stop litigation in states, other than those agreed and nominated in the contract.
There is no reason in principle why an exporter from Ireland, selling to an EU importer could not provide in its contract that the matter is to be governed by the law of England and Wales and that the England and Wales courts or, for example, arbitrators in England and Wales, are to hear disputes under the contract. This is a matter of contractual negotiation between supplier and purchaser.
The may be some cases where this may be cumbersome such as where a UK court would have to apply and interpret EU laws which are no longer part of the domestic UK legal system systems. In this case, it may be necessary to prove the EU laws to the court as a foreign law.