BIC E-news - April 2010

Website resources for BIC members

IBA Anti-Money Laundering Forum website

Membership of the BIC

Danish Bar logoFind out about the Danish Bar and Law Society


5th Annual IBA Bar Leaders' Conference, 26-27 May 2010, Copenhagen

LLM course details

IBA Annual Conference, Vancouver, 3-8 October 2010


E-news - April 2010



Welcome to April's BIC E-news

This edition of BIC E-news contains the usual blend of news items from across the globe, but features in particular constitutional-related pieces.

Malaysia has seen internal turmoil and constitutional/judicial crisis. The Malaysian Bar Council has chosen public education as a way of responding to the crisis, exploring the key issues between individual states and the broader government as well as religious and secular tensions. As part of its response, the Bar Association has initiated a public education campaign called ‘MyConstitution’. An article from the Bar Council gives an overview of the development of the programme, while a second article by Aniza Damis gives a first hand account of one of the campaign’s workshops aimed at students.

Another country bridging social and ideological conflict is South Korea, being as it is geographically linked to its northern neighbour, western trade partners and emerging Asian powerhouse economies. In this issue, Peter Kim, the President of South Korea's Bar Association describes the role of his organisation.

Read more>>

Message from the BIC Chair

The 5th Annual Bar Leaders’ Conference in Copenhagen this May is rapidly approaching. The topics under discussion will be:

  • Uniform rules v competition – what is the best approach to regulation?
  • ‘Spinning the wheel’ – the servant and the merchant
    Continuing Legal Education – developing a best practice model
  • Foreign firms in emerging markets – a blessing or a curse?
  • The role of bar associations in responding to a crisis in their jurisdictions
  • The role of external bar associations in responding to a crisis in other jurisdictions – is intervention appropriate or overstepping the mark?

I very much look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to the conference.

The preparations for the 2010 IBA Annual Conference in Vancouver are also well under way. This year our sessions will again be concentrated in a roundtable format and devoted to the client/attorney relationship with special focus on fee arrangements, lawyer liability and the ethical boundaries lawyers face when representing their clients in court.

Read more>>

Michael Kutschera
Chair, Bar Issues Commission; Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte OG

Constitution-related articles

The 'MyConstitution Campaign'

Despite the numerous constitutional challenges Malaysia has faced in its short history, never have such conflicts arisen as frequently and as furiously as in the last two years. Recognising the need to educate Malaysians on the role, function and content of the Federal Constitution, the focal initiative of the Bar Council's Constitutional Law Committee's work was to conduct a first ever nationwide educational and awareness campaign entitled 'MyConstitution Campaign' or 'Kempen PerlembagaanKu'.

Read more>>

Aniza Damis's attends a 'MyConstitution Campaign' student workshop

If you had the world to do over again, what would you do differently? Who would you choose as citizens of your new world? And who would you turn down? What rights would these citizens have? And how protected would these rights be? And if you could draft a new constitution, how would it read? These, and more, were what some law students at Taylor’s University College had to grapple with at a recent MyConstitution workshop.

Entitled Reconstituting Earth v.2.0, the students are told the following - Earth is about to be destroyed, and all its inhabitants will perish. But another planet has been identified, which 'looks like Earth and sounds like Earth, but we’re not sure if it will be like Earth'. An auto-pilot spaceship has been made, but it can only accomodate six people. Assuming that the new planet (Earth v.2.0) has no one living on it, a new world order has to be created.

Working in groups of eight, the students have to choose six from a list of 25 people of different identities and skills to be the ones to go to Earth v.2.0. The decision for each choice must be unanimous.

Read more>>

IBAHRI conducts first parliamentary strenthening course in Macedonia

The IBAHRI held a parliamentary strengthening course in Macedonia in early November. The course, aimed at local parliamentarians, focused on the role of parliament in upholding the rule of law and the implementation of constitutional and human rights obligations. The course considered how the Macedonian Parliament already incorporates human rights scrutiny into its legislative process. The potential for strengthening existing procedures was covered, using examples of best practice and case studies from other jurisdictions.

Read more>>


Peter Kim, President of South Korea's Bar Association

Peter KimPeter Kim has taken up the position as President of South Korea’s Bar Association as the country becomes increasingly influential in a fast changing world.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance that South Korea has taken on in recent years. The country is ideally positioned – neighbouring North Korea – to assist in advancing the cause of human rights and the rule of law in one of the world’s most feared pariah states. Meanwhile, on the commercial front, Korea’s relations with Asian powerhouse economies of China, Japan and the leading Western economies is likely to prove influential in reshaping the status quo of the world’s beleaguered financial system.

Read more>>

News in brief

New Legal Services Bill

The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed the introduction of the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill as helping to drive forward its agenda for change. Michael Clancy writes about the choice of model, role of the regulators and the opportunities presented by the bill.

Bicentenary of the restoration of the Bars

The Paris Bar is preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Bars by Napoleon. They had been abloished during the French Revolution. The anniversary celebrations will take place in Paris, 24-26 June, as part of an international event attended by Persident Sarkozy.

  • Click here to read more news from the Paris Bar's website (available in French only).

News items from the the Sofia Bar Association

The new Family Code has entered into force on 1 October 2009. The most substantial amendment in comparison with the old Family Code is the abolition of the compulsory unity marital system. The spouses can now choose between the legal unity system, the legal severalty system and the signing of a nuptial agreement – a system closer to the marital systems of the other European and the American legal systems. The spouses to marriages entered into prior to the adoption of the new Family Code could switch to the legal severalty system or to sign a nuptial agreement if they so wish.

The new administration of the Condominium Act which entered into force on 1 May 2009 provides for the voluntary creation of Associations of the owners, with the object the administration of the communal parts of apartment houses. The Associations will have legal status similar to those of most European countries. Under the Act, the administration of communal portions of buildings within closed residential complexes shall be performed via notarised agreements which must be registered in the real estate’s file in the Real Estates’ Registry.

Read more>>

News from the Ukrainian Bar Association

The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) has recently implemented a number of initiatives and succeeded in broadening its scope of activities through new committees and regional branches.

The key initiative of the past few weeks was the formalising and launch of the UBA hotline on the protection of the professional rights of lawyers from illegal actions of state officials and third parties. This service is designed to provide first-hand support to lawyers and attorneys who have suffered from the abuse of power or illegal treatment when exercising their professional duties.

Read more>>

Asia Pacific
New date for Asia Pacific Regional Forum Conference

In addition to this year's regular schedule of specialist, practice focused conferences, and the IBA Annual Conference in Vancouver, there are four multi-focus, regional conferences in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. Exploring internal and external perspectives across multiple practice areas, IBA Regional Conferences provide the perfect opportunity not only to keep abreast of legal developments in the area, but also to network with key practitioners from the region’s leading firms and institutions.

The date of the 2nd Asia Pacific Regional Forum Conference in Tokyo has been postponed 17-19 November 2010. Please click here to read full details of the conference.

United States
The ABA Spirit of Excellence Awards

The American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award has been presented since 1995. It celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work for the promotion a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity within the legal profession. The Awards are given annually at a luncheon, which takes places at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting.

  • Click here to learn more about the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence Awards
  • Click here to read about nominations for the 2011 Spirit of Excellence Awards.

New Zealand
Bar Association answers CLE call

The New Zealand Bar Association has launched a comprehensive legal education training programme designed for both independent barristers and litigators based in firms. The programme will begin as a pilot scheme based in the Auckland region, and, if successful will be rolled out to other parts of the country.

Human rights update

Women’s Committee formed by Afghan Bar Association

The Independent Afghan Bar Association, which the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has been working for six years to establish, has formed a Women’s Committee. A one-day conference will be held in conjunction with the new Violence Against Women Unity at the Attorney General’s Office, with the aim of cross-cutting the prosecution/defence divide on the issue of crimes committed against and by women.

Read more>>

As Malawi becomes the new Chair of the African Union, the Malawi Law Society expresses its commitment to the adoption of Rome Statute implementation legislation

The IBA ICC Programme, in partnership with the Malawi Law Society and the SADC Lawyers Association, conducted a workshop in Malawi on the International Criminal Court (ICC) focussing on a Rome Statute’s implementing legislation for the country. Prominent members of the government and the judiciary participated in the event, including the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hon Augustine Gracewell Mtendere, the Chief Justice of Malawi, Justice Lovemore Munlo, and the Solicitor General.

Read more>>

Profile of a bar association

The Danish Bar and Law Society

The Danish Bar and Law Society is made up of lawyers holding the Danish title ‘Advokat’ who are authorised to practice law whether it be conducted in Denmark, Greenland, The Faroe Islands or abroad. Registration with the Society is mandatory.

The objectives of the Danish Bar and Law Society are to:

  • safeguard the independence and integrity of lawyers;
  • ensure and enforce the discharge of the duties and obligations of lawyers;
  • ensure the professional competence of lawyers; and to
  • work for the benefit of the Rule of Law in Denmark.

The Society was established in 1919 and comprises of approximately 5,600 lawyers. By law it is vested in the Society to supervise lawyers’ adherence to the legal and ethical rules regulating the legal profession. The Board of the Society has in that capacity adopted a professional Code of Conduct with guidelines stating the rights and duties of lawyers. The Society also manages the education of future lawyers by a compulsory education programme including a bar exam that all trainee lawyers must follow and pass. Furthermore, the Society acts to promote justice and protect constitutional and human rights. The Society is active in the law-making process by participating in the governmental consultation procedures of law proposals as well as appointing members to governmental committees.

  • Click here to read more about the work of the Danish Bar and Law Society.