IBA Harassment Policy

IBA conferences provide unrivalled professional development and network-building opportunities for international legal practitioners and their professional associates. As representatives of the global legal profession, delegates and IBA members are expected to maintain the highest levels of propriety and behaviour. As representatives of their firms, companies and organisations, delegates are reminded that they should maintain the same high standards of behaviour that are required as a representative or employee of that organisation, when attending events as a conference delegate or member of the IBA. This includes adhering to any relevant code of conduct of the organisation that they are representing, or their regulating body, at the conference.

The IBA values the participation of every delegate and member of the IBA and wants all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all conference attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees, IBA staff and those involved with hosting the events throughout the conference and at all conference events, receptions, and parties, whether officially organised by the IBA or others. All delegates, guests, attendees, speakers, exhibitors, staff and volunteers at any IBA event are required to conform to the IBA Harassment Policy. The IBA will enforce this Policy in relation to matters that are reported during or after the event, as appropriate

The IBA is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, physical appearance, age, race, colour or nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership or other personal attributes. Harassment is unwanted physical verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. The IBA does not tolerate harassment, bullying or attempted bullying of conference participants, delegates, guests, speakers, exhibitors, and staff in any form. Please be considerate to others and think about the effect your actions would have on others – a single incident could constitute harassment.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience, including people of many different cultures, backgrounds, opinions and personal attributes. Please do not insult nor disparage other attendees, and please give consideration to topics that might be offensive to others. Behave professionally.

Remember that discriminatory, sexual or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate. Sexual language, imagery or behaviour are not appropriate. Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature will constitute harassment.

Attendees violating this Policy may be asked, at the discretion of the conference organisers, to leave the conference, without a refund, and further action may be taken in accordance with the Harassment Policy. If members or delegates see or suspect any behaviour that may violate this policy, they should not be afraid to report it.

Harassment can take a number of forms and can include:

  • Offensive, humiliating, intimidating or degrading verbal comments or behaviour related to gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, colour or nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, marital or civil partnership. Please bear in mind that your comments may be offensive to someone, even if that person does not have that characteristic, and that your comments may be offensive, even if this was not the intended purpose;
  • Sexual or offensive images in public spaces;
  • Bullying or attempted bullying;
  • Stalking, filming, photography or recording a person, sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Offensive, humiliating or degrading verbal comments or behaviour of a sexual nature, including in relation to a person’s dress or appearance;
  • Inappropriate and unwanted physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention or advances which could include touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing or leering;
  • Continued suggestion of social activity or continued contact after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome, following or stalking;
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic and other exclusionary or offensive jokes and expletives, or mocking or belittling someone, for example, due to a disability;
  • Stereotypical remarks due to someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

In its most serious form, harassment includes rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Please be careful in the words that you choose and be aware of how your actions may be perceived by others, and remember that behaviours might be construed differently dependent on culture.

IBA staff and venue staff should be treated with the same respect and under the same principles as you would adhere to in the treatment of the members, staff, and clients of the firm or organisation that you represent.

Participants, exhibitors and all other attendees asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in behaviour that violates this Harassment Policy, the IBA may take any action it deems appropriate, including warning the offender, expulsion from the conference with no refund, banning the individual(s), and removal from membership via the IBA member disciplinary process.

The following action will also be considered:

  • Depending on the seriousness of the act, warning the harasser to cease his or her behaviour and that any further reports will result in sanctions that may be appropriate under this Policy and/or the IBA member disciplinary process;
  • Requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, the victim for the remainder of the event;
  • Ending a conference session that violates the Policy;
  • Not publishing the video or slides if a conference session violates the Policy;
  • Not allowing a speaker who violated the Policy to give (further) talks at the conference or at future conferences;
  • Immediately ending any responsibilities and privileges the harasser holds;
  • Requiring that the harasser refund any travel grants or other support given by the IBA;
  • Requiring that the harasser immediately leaves the conference and does not return;
  • Banning the harasser from future conferences (either indefinitely or for a certain time period);
  • Removing a harasser from membership of the IBA via the disciplinary process in the IBA Constitution – Section 3.20.2;
  • Informing the harasser’s employer or any regulatory body;
  • Publishing an account of the harassment and calling for the resignation of the harasser from any IBA responsibilities.

The IBA reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to inform an attendee’s law firm, employer or any relevant regulatory or law enforcement body of any allegation of harassment.

False accusations of harassment will also be treated seriously.

Contact information

If you are concerned that you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the IBA conference staff or use the email address below. You can report matters confidentially. Please do bear in mind that this may affect the ability of the IBA to investigate a matter and, depending on the incident, could impact the safety of others. If you are not sure whether an incident constitutes harassment, please discuss with the IBA conference staff.

IBA conference staff wear blue badges. You may also contact venue staff and ask to be put in touch with the IBA conference staff. IBA conference staff are happy to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide an escort, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment, so as to feel safe for the duration of the conference.

Contact emails:

Joe Bell, Operations Director     joe.bell@int-bar.org

Julie Elliott, Conferences Director     julie.elliott@int-bar.org

Incident reporting

All IBA conference staff have been trained to promptly and effectively respond to any reported harassment and can advise you on the Harassment Policy. All IBA conference staff are wearing a blue conference badge (add image of badge).

Report the suspected harassment incident either verbally or in writing to a member of the IBA conference staff. When investigating an incident the matter will be handled sensitively.

To allow the incident to be investigated fairly you may be advised that it is appropriate to keep the situation confidential. This will depend on all of the circumstances and can be discussed with the IBA representative at the time. Nothing in this policy is intended to prevent a delegate from taking such steps as are necessary to protect their safety and to report an offence to the relevant regulator or law enforcement agency.

When reporting an incident to IBA staff, try to gather as much information as available but do not interview people about the incident. IBA staff will assist you in writing the report and collecting information. IBA staff can collect further information if necessary.

Relevant information includes:

  • Identifying information (name/company name/country) of the person or people that have acted in breach of this Policy;
  • The behaviour that was in violation;
  • The approximate time and location of the behaviour (if different than the time the report was made);
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident;
  • Details of other people involved in the incident, witnesses and any possible CCTV.

IBA conference staff are well informed on how to deal with an incident and how to further proceed with the situation. If everyone involved with incident is physically safe, then law enforcement or security will be informed only at a victim’s request. If you feel that your safety is at risk, please do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement. Please also report the incident to IBA conference staff as soon as possible.

**Note**: Incidents that violate the Harassment Policy are extremely damaging to the legal community and will not be tolerated. The IBA requests that IBA conference staff be notified as soon as possible of any incident that has occurred at an IBA conference (or at a third party event linked to the conference) so that appropriate action can be immediately taken to enforce the IBA Harassment Policy.