Miami 2022 - About the IBA

About the IBA

The IBA, established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations, law firms and law societies.

The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of more than 80,000 individual lawyers and nearly 190 bar associations and law societies spanning over 170 countries.

Inspired by the vision of the United Nations, the IBA was founded in the same spirit, just before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in 1948.

  • protect the rule of law and enhance the rule of law globally.
  • support the independence of the judiciary and the right of lawyers to practise their profession without interference.
  • support human rights for lawyers worldwide through the IBA’s Human Rights Institute.
  • provide members with world-class professional development to enable them and their organisations to deliver outstanding legal services;
  • promote an exchange of information and views among its members as to laws, practices and professional responsibilities around the globe
  • deliver top-level international network building opportunities;
  • be committed to the development of international law reform; and
  • contribute to the advancement, development, and harmonisation of law at an international level.

The IBA covers all practice areas and professional interests, providing members access to leading experts and up-to-date information, enabling them to better represent their clients’ interests.

Through its various committees, fora and task forces, the IBA facilitates the exchange of information and views among its members as to laws, practices and professional responsibilities relating to the practice of law around the globe.

Why join the IBA?

By joining the IBA you become part of the leading global network of lawyers. Partners from virtually every major law firm in every major city worldwide are members. Join the IBA for its combination of professional development, top level network-building opportunities and commitment to the advancement of the rule of law.

  • Unique global networking opportunity – unrivalled access to a network of over 80,000 lawyers and 50+ IBA conferences per annum
  • Get active – contribute to the debate on changes in international regulation and legal practice and share your perspective and experience
  • Knowledge – build your knowledge and expertise through meeting international thought leaders in areas that impact your client’s operations
  • Develop expertise – join any of the 70+ IBA specialist committees and fora, gaining access to sector and practice area specific information, online information, publications, events and networking
  • Being part of a global organisation at the forefront of the development of international legal progress
  • Risk awareness – business intelligence on evolving issues allowing you to pre-empt their impact and to exploit the opportunities they present
  • Global reach – conferences held in locations worldwide and attract a wide international audience
  • Local knowledge and contacts – participation in Regional Forums to know what’s happening in regions where your firm’s clients have interests
  • Cost savings – discounted IBA membership fees at all IBA conferences worldwide
  • Free resources – the latest information on legal developments in your chosen committee practice areas – plus subscriptions to IBA Global Insight, the IBA’s flagship bi-monthly magazine and Business Law International, the journal of the Legal Practice Division

Global partnerships

The IBA has created partnerships and works closely with a number of global bodies, including the:

UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Financial Action Task Force (FATF), B20, European Commission European Parliament, World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT); and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The IBA brings together the worldwide legal fraternity to develop the harmonisation of law across borders and provide an environment conducive to international business. Examples include: the IBA OECD UNODC Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession; the IBA Women Business Lawyers Initiative; the Anti-Money Laundering Forum; the IBA Working Group on Business and Human Rights; the collaboration between the IBA Legal Policy and Research Unit (LPRU) and the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on Whistleblower Protections, MEP Virginie Rozière; or the IBA LPRU’s participation in several Expert Working Groups of the UNODC.

A workshop at the European Parliament discussing the IBA LPRU report Whistleblower Protections: A Guide © IBA 2018

A workshop at the European Parliament discussing the IBA LPRU report Whistleblower Protections: A Guide © IBA 2018

IBA conferences, publications, website and app

The IBA’s world-class events and high-quality media content provide unrivalled professional development and network building opportunities for international legal practitioners and professional associates. The IBA organises over 50 specialist conferences globally each year, interactive webinars, and the IBA Annual Conference, the world’s largest gathering of international lawyers, attracting around 6,000 attendees each year.

Publications and committee updates cover a wide variety of interests with high-quality information for practitioners. The IBA’s flagship magazine IBA Global Insight keeps members informed of the issues affecting the legal profession around the world. All publications and reports are available through the IBA website and app.

eyeWitness to Atrocities

eyewitness to Atrocities, an initiative of the IBA, is a registered charity seeking justice for the worst international crimes. Launched in 2015, eyewitness seeks to facilitate justice for atrocity crimes by providing human rights documenters with a mobile camera app to capture verifiable photos and video for investigations or trials. The information received by eyewitness is reviewed by legal analysts who identify the appropriate regional, national and international justice mechanisms to act on the information. eyewitness works closely with its partners around the world to collect, curate and tag relevant information, which is used to build photo and video dossiers that can later be used by accountability mechanisms.

IBA presidential task forces and special projects

As part of its mandate to be the voice of the legal profession, the IBA convenes a number of task forces and presidential priorities to explore and address pressing contemporary issues. These include focus on a wide variety of areas:

  • Us Too: Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession – a global report
  • Whistleblower Protections
  • Climate change justice and human rights, addressing this fundamental justice concern and assessing the challenges to the current national and international legal regimes on climate change
  • Human trafficking and how the legal profession can contribute to mitigate the problem
  • Independence of the legal profession, assessing the threats to the independence of lawyers around the world; and
  • Digital contact tracing for the Covid-19 pandemic – a business and human rights perspective

Current key interest areas for the IBA include cybersecurity, the future of the legal profession, judicial integrity and the rule of law.

Join the IBA

Expand your international network, gain new business and learn about the latest legal developments through IBA digital content and events, with IBA membership. Available for individuals, students, law firms, bar associations and corporations.

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