The design and analysis of composite structures in the form of layered plates or shells is often driven by stress concentration phenomena that occur due to geometric or material discontinuities. One prominent example is the so-called free-edge effect that manifests itself in the form of significant localized interlaminar stress fields in the vicinity of free laminate edges and that is given rise to due to the mismatch of the elastic properties of the individual laminate layers. The free-edge effect has been under scientific investigation for more than five decades, and this paper aims at providing an overview of recent developments and scientific advances in this specific field wherein an emphasis is placed on investigations that were published in the time range between the years 2005 and 2020. This paper reviews closed-form analytical methods as well as semi-analytical and numerical analysis approaches and summarizes the recent state of the art concerning the investigation of stress singularities and experimental characterization of free-edge effects. This paper also reviews advanced problems such as free-edge effects in curved laminated structures and in piezoelectric laminates as well as in the vicinity of holes and other geometric discontinuities, and two new aspects in the field of free-edge effects, namely, the development and application of a new semi-analytical method (the so-called scaled boundary finite element method (SBFEM)) and the fracture mechanical strength assessment, also by novel approaches such as finite fracture mechanics, are also discussed. This paper closes with a summary and an outlook on future investigations.