Ramon Mullerat OBE, 1939-2013
'He was a lawyer’s lawyer and contributed actively and hugely to every field of legal endeavour into which he ventured’
- Nicolas Cowdery AM QC
Ramon Mullerat believed the legal profession needs ‘lighthouses that radiate intense and comforting light… especially for its younger generations, to find the right way…to a haven of peace and justice in the world.’ Judging by the remarkably warm testimonials from those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Ramon Mullerat at the IBA, he was just such a figure.
Paul Hoddinott was Executive Director of the IBA between 1995 and 2000. He recalls that when the time came to appoint a new Co-Chair to the IBA’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in 2000, Ramon Mullerat was an obvious choice. He had been closely involved with the IBAHRI since its launch in 1995; he had a considerable reputation on both sides of the Atlantic through his Presidency of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and active involvement with the American Bar Association (ABA), notably his work on international professional and business ethics; and he lectured widely to law faculties on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘Ramon was a generous host and loved to entertain international visitors at his home in Barcelona,’ Hoddinott recalls. ‘He was kind and ever-conscious of the needs of others and the plight of some, a sense of caring, which sprang from a deeply-held but unobtrusive religious faith.’
Ramon Mullerat had strong ties to Britain through his Presidency of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and as honorary legal advisor to the British Consul General in Barcelona; he was admitted as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for these services and was proud to place the letters OBE after his name.
‘Completely indefatigable, Ramon’s energy and commitment knew no bounds,’ says Hoddinott. ‘It was, perhaps, fitting that he died at his desk – there had been no let-up to the end.’
Professor Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions for New South Wales, Australia, was inaugural Co-Chair of the IBAHRI from its creation in 1995 until 2000. He met Ramon Mullerat through the IBA in the 1990s. ‘Even an inaugural Chair must move on and eventually, in 2000, that time came. Ramon had been adding to his extensive list of interests and by then was very active also in the area of human rights and had become engaged in HRI activities. By some arcane IBA process, he became my successor as Co-Chair of the HRI.’
‘In the handover process,’ Cowdery recalls, ‘I came to know Ramon better and that association continued for many years. He was something of a legal polymath. He became a leader in the field of arbitration, but he maintained a keen interest in subjects such as human rights, legal ethics, pro bono legal practice, corporate responsibility, the globalisation of law and lawyers and much more. He was a prolific writer and speaker on his subjects of interest and continued in that vein right to the end.’
Cowdery recalls the occasions that he encountered Ramon Mullerat more recently (usually at IBA conferences). ‘Ramon’s was always a friendly face to see – and he had an excellent memory of people and past events. He was a gentle, thoughtful and scholarly man of great substance with a quiet manner. He was a lawyer’s lawyer and contributed actively and hugely to every field of legal endeavour into which he ventured.’
This sentiment is echoed by the IBA’s Executive Director Mark Ellis. ‘Ramon Mullerat was one the warmest and kindest people I have ever met at the IBA,’ he says. ‘When I first arrived at the Association, I had the privilege of working with Ramon as he chaired the IBAHRI. During this time, I watched a man of great substance focus on human rights issues with a passion and dedication that was unsurpassed. He never shied away from a controversial human rights issue and always had a keen awareness of and empathy for those who were victims of human rights abuses. These people had one of the smartest and most talented advocates focused on their plight. His quiet but forceful determination meant that victims of human rights abuses were not without a voice.’
Ellis recalls that Ramon Mullerat was also a passionate believer in the IBA. ‘He loved what the Association stood for and was always willing to assist in any endeavour that would further the IBA’s goals and aspirations. His counsel, insight and guidance were always welcomed and he helped me navigate a number of sensitive issues. He will be missed and the IBA was blessed to have Ramon as part of our family for all these many years.’
Ramon Mullerat is remembered with great fondness by all those at the IBA who knew him and worked alongside him. Our condolences go to his family.