As Commonwealth lawyers meet in Glasgow | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Business, Law

As Commonwealth lawyers meet in Glasgow

Posted: Apr 16, 2015 at 5:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Lawyers of the Commonwealth nations are currently meeting in Glasgow, Scotland for the 19th Commonwealth Law Conference. The conference, which coincides with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a symbol of the Rule of Law across the Commonwealth, is said to be examining the role of the legal profession in delivering economic and social sustainability. Senior Correspondent, TUNDE OPESEITAN, in this report, takes a look at the issues being considered at the conference.

The conference, which started on April 12, 2015 with registration and welcome reception, witnessed a large participation of legal luminaries both within and outside the Commonwealth nations. Nigerian lawyers, judges and stakeholders in the judicial sectors are also participating actively at the conference.

Delegates at the conference

Delegates at the conference

It is undisputable that robust economies depend on the existence of clear, modern and effective laws that govern societies, commerce and the management of resources. Also, it is a statement of fact that strong, independent judiciary and legal profession are critical to impartially enforce those laws while ethical corporate behaviour and business practice can improve the lives of others in both local and global communities.

The global conference is said to be considering debating the tension between corporate responsibility and legal risk management approaches; the public policy role of lawyers and the business case for corporate responsibility.

In his message to delegates at the conference website, President of Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), Mark Stephens, CBE, had urged members of the legal profession and those with an interest in the rule of law to attend the Commonwealth Law Conference 2015 in the city of Glasgow, stating that the CLA had worked hard to assemble a team of expert to speak on wide range of issues.

Speaking further, Mark Stephens CBE added: “The theme of the 2015 conference will reflect the issues surrounding our globalised world and the challenges or opportunities this presents for lawyers; with particular emphasis on commerce and the rule of law. As always, the conference presentations will focus on current trends in Corporate & Commercial law; the legal profession; the rule of law, and other contemporary legal topics.

“The 19th Commonwealth Law Conference is a truly unique event which attracts delegates from most of the 52 Commonwealth states and those working within those countries.

“An innovative and truly unique programme of educational, social and networking events designed to ensure that all those who attend the conference will have an opportunity to conduct business, meet colleagues from different jurisdictions, exchange experiences, renew and build friendships that will continue long after the closing ceremony.

“In addition, we will announce the winner of the 2nd Commonwealth Rule of Law award in conjunction with LexisNexis and a range of exhibitors will provide further information and services of interest to today’s legal professionals,” the CLA president had disclosed.

Also, President, Law Society of Scotland, Alistair Morris, urged members of the Commonwealth nations to attend the conference.

In a message also on the conference website, Morris was quoted as saying: “On behalf of the Law Society of Scotland, I am delighted to invite you to the 19th Commonwealth Law Conference (CLC 2015) which will be held from 12th to 16th April 2015.

“Scotland retains a unique legal system, which has much to offer our Commonwealth colleagues. Hosting the Conference in Scotland will not only give our members and the wider legal profession in Scotland the chance to benefit from sharing ideas and establishing lasting new relationships with their Commonwealth counterparts, it will also allow legal professionals from the Commonwealth nations and beyond to come to an exciting jurisdiction of 5 million people with a modern and flexible devolved legislation that seeks to address the social,  economic and legal challenges of the 21st century in an innovative way.”

At the opening ceremony proper, the keynote address was delivered by Lord Gill, Lord President and Lord Justice General of Scotland. Gill, who spoke on the topic “Independence of the judiciary and legal profession”, is said to be the longest serving judge in Scotland.

After Gill’s presentation, four streams of various topics were discussed including Corporate and Commercial Law; Constitutionalism, Human Rights and the rule of law; Legal and Judicial Profession and lastly, Contemporary Legal Topics.

Also on the same day, the following topics were considered: Modern law firm management: should non-lawyer ownership be endorsed and encouraged? UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs): Implications for the legal profession; Women in the Law: A Study in Progress toward Gender Equality across the Commonwealth; Cybersecurity in the Commonwealth; Modernisation of corporate governance: moving on from the Companies Acts models; Managing Natural Resources, policy and practice; Commercial litigation Advocacy – what do judges want from advocates and what do advocates want from judges?

On the wrong side of history: sentenced to death in Bangladesh; Not all publicity is good publicity: managing risks to corporate reputations; The Rule of Law: Freedom of expression, freedom of religion; Raising judges – creating the next generation of judicial decision makers, gender diversity & sexual orientation and Developing in Sports Law.

On the following day (April 14), the following topics were exhaustively considered: Risk and the Rule of Law: What corporates are taking into account; Does mental illness render the death penalty inexecutable? How does the law support the vulnerable? Scandalising the court should be a dead letter; Child Abduction; From Recession to Recovery: Should law have a more central role in economic policy?

Climate change as a human rights issue; Growing new lawyers – reforming legal education and training; How will national law be influenced by Sharia law? Mediation Across the Commonwealth; Child Brides; Interactive Discussion: Adapt or Die: The Future of the Legal Profession across the Commonwealth; Right to a fair trial – duty of the State to fund competent representation for all defendants; Corporate social responsibility: legal duties and beyond; Making human rights equal: international human rights treaty obligations; In-house, in demand and in the Commonwealth; and lastly, the role of the lawyer in anti-bribery and creating a culture of compliance. Also, on April 15, the following topics were discussed: Money laundering in the Commonwealth; International intelligence sharing?

What is the broader impact of recent events? Global legal practice: how international is the practice of law in 2015? Cross-border cooperation between national regulatory authorities; The modern law of partnership: a work in progress? Human trafficking and migration;

Innovative Access to Justice; Mobility of the Legal Profession – Qualifications and Practice in Multi-Jurisdictions; Arbitration; Latimer House principles:12 years on; Trial by Media; Street Law: An Interactive Demonstration of Street Law, the Increasingly popular method of teaching law to grassroots audiences; From Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter: How far have we come? Protecting the protectors:

The role and responsibility of the profession in supporting the rule of law, and lastly, Freedom of Information in the Commonwealth.

And on Thursday, April 16, the following topics were slated for exhaustive discussion:

Evolving Role of the Company Secretary; Homosexuality as a crime; Model form for Judicial appointments in the 21st century Commonwealth, and lastly, Post 2015 Development Goals.

No doubt, a lot had been slated for discussion at the conference and it is expected that representatives of Nigeria at the conference will come back home and put to practice, the good things they must have gained for the greater good of the country.