Message from Claudio Visco, BIC Chair, Sept 2018

Claudio Visco Dear BIC Friends,

Rome is quickly approaching and I look forward to welcoming many of you to my home city. This is a special year for me as I am not only privileged to serve as the BIC Chair, I am also honoured to be the Chair of the Annual Conference Host Committee.

The various sessions planned for the Annual Conference of the IBA, 7-12 October in Rome, Italy, have been finalised and the Programme is outstanding. The Bar Issues Commission has organised a number of these sessions, which I shall shortly outline.

Before doing so, I'd like to highlight just a few of the recent BIC activities. I would once again like to thank the Norwegian Bar Association for their incredible efforts in hosting our 13th Annual IBA Bar Leaders' Conference in Oslo.

Please mark your calendars for the 2019 Bar Leaders' Conference, which will take place in Budapest, 22-23 May. Please do not hesitate to contact the BIC Officers should you have any suggestions on future session topics you would like to see the BIC address.

The BIC together with the Association of European Lawyers, with the financial support of the Council of Europe and Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe, held a highly successful conference "ADVOCATES 2018 - Improving the quality of legal services" hosted by the Republican Collegium of Advocates in Almaty on 15-16 June.

The PPID Activity Fund funded the travel for the speakers from the Central-Asian Bar Associations. Alongside the ECA Forum in September, the BIC together with the SPPI met with the representatives of the Central-Asian legal professions (national and local bars, representatives of law firms, etc) separately to discuss further training projects in the region.

At the beginning of September, I participated in a very successful conference organised by the Fiji Law Society in which more than 200 delegates from the Pacific Rim countries actively participated. This was an occasion to explore the interest and appetite of these countries to participate in a capacity building project sponsored by the IBA and with the support of the Law Council of Australia and the New Zealand Law Society. The BIC International Trade in Legal Services Committee (BIC ITILS), with the support of the PPID Activity Fund, has held three successful conferences in 2016, 2017 and 2017/2018 in Zimbabwe, Nairobi and Zambia with the focus of helping African lawyers to globalise their practice. Following their positive reception in Africa, the BIC ITILS is organising a one-day IBA conference on 1 November 2018 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, during which a mix of international and regional lawyers will train a group a group of local and regional lawyers. This conference will take place the day before the start of the LAWASIA conference in order to be able to attract as many lawyers as possible from Asian countries.

The BIC and the IBA's Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee launched a project with the support of the PPID Activity Fund, to produce a document of guidelines that will provide a list of underlying principles that should apply to any legal aid system. The Guiding Principles and Definitions of Legal Aid were endorsed by the Policy Committee and the SPPI Council in Oslo. The full Guide including Background, Commentaries, Best Practice and Examples will be presented at a session in Rome titled, 'Legal aid across the globe: best practice and economics'. The Guide will be submitted to the IBA Council at the Mid-Year Meeting in 2019 for approval.

For further information on BIC projects and activities, please see my report in the IBA Council agenda.

For those of you who have registered for the IBA Annual Conference, we have compiled a list of sessions, meetings and activities that may be of interest to you. Details on these BIC sessions and activities in Rome are available here. Please allow me to draw your attention to the BIC Open Forum on Wednesday 10 October from 09.30 - 12.30, which in addition to updating the Member Organisations on the activities of the BIC, will present the opportunity to further discuss the ongoing process of strategic review within the IBA.

On Thursday evening there will be an opportunity to unwind and connect with friends and colleagues at the BIC dinner. There are limited spaces available for this dinner, so if you don't yet have a ticket, please ensure that you update your conference registration as soon as possible. The BIC Bar Executives Committee has planned their Bar Executive Officers Committee meeting, kindly hosted in Rome by the Consiglio Nazionale Forense. This half-day programme on Tuesday 9 October will include a working session to discuss the topic of 'Achieving La Dolce Vita - what should bars and law societies be doing to promote lawyer wellbeing?' This meeting is intended for CEOs, bar association executives and international liaison officers.

For further information and for the latest issue of the Bar Executives Exchange newsletter, please click here.

Many of you will soon be joining me in Rome, and if I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting you, please do come up and introduce yourself. Together with my fellow BIC Officers, we look forward to seeing you soon at the IBA Annual Conference!

Best wishes,


Claudio Visco

Chair, Bar Issues Commission