Have a wonderful festive season!

13 December 2019

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa Law-Law-Law-Law, Law-Law-Law-Law

'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa Law-Law-Law-Law, Law-Law-Law-Law

Have a wonderful festive season and celebrate it in full glitz and glamour!
We look forward to another fabulous year of learning, sharing and networking around the world!


OBE awarded Emma Playfair: An advocate for human rights

10 December 2019

Today marks the International Day of Human Rights. It commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On this occasion, AIJA’s Human Rights Committee invited Ms Emma Playfair to speak about her career path to becoming a lawyer specialised in human rights.

"The events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ (where on 30 January 1972, British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment during the Troubles in Ireland) really influenced me to think about human rights. However, in the 1970s, working in human rights was not a very well-known career path. I thought that by becoming a lawyer, I could work in human rights more effectively", she explained. Ms Playfair has been actively involved in human rights since 1984 and was awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire in 2002 for her work. Read on to learn more.

Working for one of the first Palestinian human rights organisations

You worked in Palestine as a researcher with Al-Haq, one of the first Palestinian human rights organisations. What were the main challenges you faced and how did you and your colleagues overcome them?

Emma Playfair: I started at Al-Haq as a volunteer, after having worked as a lawyer for 6 years in London. As a volunteer, I helped to develop the organisation, but I also conducted legal research for the organisation. Al Haq sought a British lawyer since the applicable law is a combination of Ottoman law, British Mandate law and Jordanian law, to which Israel added military orders.

The major challenge Al Haq faced was in countering the image projected by Israel that it respected international law in its governance of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has never conceded that its control of the territories is an occupation, rather referring to them as ‘administered’. It does not accept, as the rest of the international community does, that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable.

To counter this, our field workers scrupulously monitored and documented violations of human rights, such as the demolition of houses, military trials, taking affidavits from victims of human rights violations. We would then prepare legal analyses as to how the action taken and the laws applied were in contravention of international humanitarian law.

Another major challenge was working under military occupation – there were soldiers in the streets, and often the roads were closed off by military blockades. As there were few telephones then, we had no means of communicating if delayed by road blocks, or even if arrested. For our field workers, the work was challenging and risky as they were repeatedly subjected to administrative detention, for months or even years without any idea how long they would be held.

How did the landscape of human rights in Palestine change during your time with Al-Haq?

Emma Playfair: It is difficult to measure the impact of human rights work. Unfortunately, the illegal occupation and associated human rights violations continue to this day. However, one change Al Haq is responsible for is that Palestinians became aware that they have rights and that it is worth asserting those rights. We issued booklets to inform the people what their rights were and also developed a legal advice program to help them.

Establishing the human rights programme at the Ford Foundation in Cairo

What were the programme’s significant achievements during your time in Cairo?

Emma Playfair: The Foundation was already supporting Al Haq and the Tunisian League for Human Rights which had led to the decision to launch a human rights programme. From this basis we were able to provide support to an expanding number of human rights organisations around the region. We facilitated networking around the region and enabled Arab activists and lawyers to attend international courses and programmes on human rights and promoted human rights studies in several universities in the region. We supported work on economic and social rights and developed a programme on reproductive rights, addressing such issues as FGM and early marriage, fields little explored then in the region, as well as on refugees and migrants’ rights.

We hosted a renowned scholar on Islam and human rights who deepened dialogue on the cultural legitimacy of international human rights standards in Islam. We supported training for judges and lawyers in international human rights law and mechanisms in Arabic, including preparation of materials. Since the Ford Foundation supports human rights around the world, we were able to ensure that Arab activists, organisations and scholars were able to participate in programmes at the international level and interact with others working on similar issues around the world, particularly in Africa.

What issues arose from operating a politically sensitive program within an organisation that commanded such a global presence?

Emma Playfair: Although the Foundation had long had a programme in Israel, the programme in Palestine came under sustained attack from supporters of Israel in the USA, who claimed that the Foundation supported organisations whose work was anti-Semitic. These allegations were based on false reports and we were able to refute each of them strongly. However, they were disseminated widely and pressure built and some US senators threatened to take the Ford Foundation to the Senate Finance Committee. If the Committee had found against the Foundation this could have led to the closure of the whole foundation and the confiscation of its assets, ending its work around the world. Under this pressure, the Foundation’s leadership regrettably decided to phase out its Palestine programme.

How to start your human rights career

In 2002 you were awarded an OBE in recognition of your work. I think it is safe to say that you have and will continue to be a source of inspiration to many who aspire to work in the field of human rights. As an experienced lawyer who has worked on human rights, what advice would you give to human rights lawyers who are at the start of their career?

Emma Playfair: The world today is of course very different from the world I grew up in because human rights is much more of a recognised field than in my day. However, it is still not easy to get paid work in human rights. I would suggest that people find a way to volunteer in human rights in the areas that they are interested in. It was through my voluntary work for Al Haq that the Ford Foundation became aware of me and I became qualified for the job offered to me by the Foundation.

Today’s climate crisis is a human rights emergency

What do you believe to be the biggest human rights crisis facing the world today?

Emma Playfair: I think that climate change, which involves many human rights issues, is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed by human rights organisations.


Additional background information

About Al- Haq: Al-Haq (formerly Law in the Service of Man) is an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation based in Ramallah, West Bank, in which Emma Playfair volunteered as a legal researcher from 1984 until 1988. Established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied West Bank, the organisation has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This was the first organisation working on law and human rights in the West Bank. Al Haq has very recently awarded the 2019 Human Rights and Business Award by the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva.

About the Ford Foundation: The Ford Foundation is a private American foundation with the mission of advancing social justice at home and abroad. Emma Playfair, as Programme Officer from 1988-1993, established the human rights programme at the Foundation’s Cairo office for North Africa and the Middle East. She returned as Regional Representative from 2002-2008.


Labour law and M&A at the centre of discussion in Lisbon, October 2019

09 December 2019

From Thursday 24 October until Saturday 26 October 2019, the Annual Labour Law Conference and M&A seminar took place in Lisbon. For three days, 200+ lawyers from all over the world discussed the latest trends and developments in labour law and M&A.

Upon arrival participants enjoyed a welcome cocktail and dinner at TOPO Chiado, with breathtaking views of Portugal’s metropolis. The next day kicked off with a welcome address from AIJA President Paola Fudakowska and an interview between Pia Padfield (Ogletree Deakins) and keynote speaker Tarun Tawakley (Head of Employment and Litigation at Deliveroo) on the gig economy. We explored how Deliveroo differs from other on-demand economy models and discussed the legal challenges worldwide at a time where the law is still struggling to catch up with reality. This was followed by panel discussions on a wide range of topics such as the impact of Brexit on immigration and labour law and how the #metoo campaign changed work environments. Moreover, the joint M&A/Labour Panel on ‘Marriage Counselling for Lawyers – Everything you have ever wanted to say to your M&A and Labour Lawyer’ prompted an interactive discussion amongst panellists and delegates.

The two-day event concluded when Marek Laca from bnt attorneys in CEE, a full-service international business law firm based in ten Central and Eastern Europe countries and the event’s gold sponsor, together with panellists Sanne van Ruitenbeek (Netherlands) and Margarita Egiazarova (Russia) discussed with moderator Cabell Clay (USA) the topical issue of ‘How to keep your workforce happy?’. In today’s hectic life, when forced positivity is becoming a problem, employee mental health is more important than ever. Marek argued that the prevention of stress-related illnesses costs less than losing valuable employees to resignation or dismissal.

In line with this topic, our attendees could also attend a rich social programme to supplement their academic schedule, including dinners at venues such as Palácio da Cruz Vermelha or Bairro do Avillez, or a boat tour with wine tasting. All in all, the event was a great success, and the number of participants proves a rising interest and need to share and exchange ideas and legal views in a cosmopolitan world.

The 2020 Annual Labour Law Conference will take place in Amsterdam, from 29 to 31 October.


Diverse matters – Yasmin Sheikh opens up the conversation surrounding disability in the legal profession

03 December 2019

AIJA’s president, Paola Fudakowska, recently spoke with Yasmin Sheikh, founder of Diverse Matters, a consultancy firm which trains organisations and people to approach diversity and disability (both visible and non-visible) with confidence and strength. Yasmin is also Vice-Chair of the UK Law Society’s Lawyers with Disabilities Division, lawyer, public speaker, mentor, and coach.

She talked to us about her journey and how opening up the conversation around disability is critical to breaking down the boundaries in the legal profession. Read on to learn more.


Could you tell us a few words about yourself and your journey from being a lawyer to becoming an entrepreneur and diversity advocate?

Yasmin: I qualified as a lawyer back in 2003 and at that stage I didn’t have a disability but I am now a wheelchair user. In 2008 I sustained a spinal stroke at just aged 29, I went to bed one day and within hours I couldn’t get out of bed at all. At that point I was working at a big international law firm and had been there for three years, the irony was at that time I was working in the personal injury department. Following on from my injury I had a year off where I went through rehabilitation and learnt how to use my wheelchair as well as adapt to my new body.

It was a smooth transition physically at work, we had lifts and disabled facilities. But I did notice that there was a lower expectation of me, which consequently meant I had lower confidence in my own ability. I was perceived differently, I’m mixed race so I’ve been aware of my racial difference but it never acted as a barrier. Whilst working as a disabled individual in the legal profession I felt like I was a square pin trying to fit into a round hole and that my disability had to be specially accommodated, I felt very different. I had started talking about the issue at work and at workshops. I could see that there was a real interest so I started a disability network and I began telling legal partners about how we could make disabled people more visible and how we could approach conversations around the subject. This started my journey as an entrepreneur and I set up Diverse Matters four years ago.


How is disability viewed and talked about in law firms today? What’s your experience?

Yasmin: Many law firms’ response to how they treat disabled people or people with health conditions in the past has sometimes been we don’t have any disabled people working here or disabled people don’t apply. But law firms are beginning to stop the narrow-minded thinking and that disabled people aren’t just those in wheelchairs, 97% of disabilities aren’t visible. It’s all about removing the stigma and starting the dialogue. Over the last few years there has been a greater appetite to tackle the subject, due to the opening up of conversation surrounding mental health and wellbeing.


How can law firms build a more inclusive culture?

Yasmin: It comes back to starting the conversation, learning and listening to individuals, rather than not doing anything at all. In my workshops I talk about the four B’s: business, bias, behaviour and belonging. The first is business where we educate organisations on how to be inclusive and embed diversity and disability inclusion in decision making. We also assess structural bias, such as if the business is doing anything which is preventing disabled people from applying and how they are retaining disabled talent.

To eradicate bias, we look at behaviour, particularly at how organisations behave towards individuals with disabilities and what is acceptable. Doing so will then achieve a sense of belonging, encouraging an environment where people feel they belong, and where they can share their disability free from judgement.


What would you say to someone who is facing discrimination in the workplace due to their disability?

Yasmin: I would say if you are already employed in the firm, consider if there is somebody you trust and can confide in. I would also try where possible to deal with the issue internally. Consider an off the record conversation with a member of the HR team. Also, look if you have access to a disability network at work whom you can contact.

I welcome individuals to contact the Lawyers with Disabilities (LDD) at the Law Society Lawyers with Disabilities Division and we can match you with a mentor with a disability similar to yours, which can be of great support.

Reaching out is incredibly important, I know how isolating it can be when people don’t understand.


Could you share with us an example of your work with law firms, advising about disability related issues?

Yasmin: I’m Vice-Chair of LDD and we have been running events for law firms and disabled individuals plus providing mentors for almost 30 years. There’s been a been a vast array of success over the decades!

At the Law Society we are currently working on Legally disabled, a project being run at Cardiff University. The UK-based researchers have been doing extensive interviews with both disabled individuals whom are about to enter the profession and those already working within it. The project will be delivered on 24th January and we hope this will shine a light on the barriers and how they can be removed, we are very excited!


United Nations’ International Day of Disabled Persons is annually held on 3 December. This year’s theme "The Future is Accessible" means that we must all, together, look towards a future where the barriers which stand in people’s way no longer exist. What is one message you would send to the world on the occasion of this international day?

Yasmin: My message is simply to just listen to people. Everybody’s experience is different and we all have blind spots about what challenges others may be experiencing and what barriers stand in their way. It’s really important to use this day to start the dialogue, recognise the barriers and how they can be broken down.


AIJA supports the LEGAL ®EVOLUTION Expo & Congress 2019

02 December 2019

The LEGAL ®EVOLUTION is Europe's groundbreaking exhibition and congress for the entire legal department, compliance department and law firm.  More than 1,100 participants – mainly in-house counsel, law firms and compliance departments – are expected with 90 exhibitors and partners, 40 lectures and partners as well as 15 workshops and 75 coaching sessions. This year, the congress takes place from 4-5 December in Kap Europa, the Congress House of Messe Frankfurt (Germany).

One of the main topics is the substantive law of the digital economy, including lectures from Prof. Sebastian Omlor, LL.M. (NYU), Prof. Martin Ebers, Dr. Martin Fries and other academics and practitioners. Exhibitors from ten countries will show the leading services, IT-solutions and managed legal services for law and compliance. 

Our partners from LEGAL ®EVOLUTION offer AIJA members a 20% discount on all tickets. For more information about how you can access this discount, please contact the AIJA team.

The programme of the congress is available here.


Leading strategically in an interdependent, diverse and complex world

26 November 2019

During AIJA’s Half-Year Conference in Miami the SCILL commission organised a workshop on leading strategically in an interdependent, diverse and complex world. The workshop addressed how vital it is to use thinking and acting to address the most strategic challenges and opportunities. Leslie DePol, CEO & co-founder of Polarity Partnerships, re-examined some of the strategies we employ to reduce vulnerability and negative exposure from a provocative and more aspirational point of view. Leslie taught our delegates simple processes that can be applied to complex challenges to achieve better outcomes.

Through the workshop delegates discovered that ‘an either-or solution’ is a type of solution that generally leads to a one-sided solution whereby problems can be solved by either-or solutions. A dilemma (what Leslie calls a polarity) cannot be solved by an either-or solution because the extremes that lead to the dilemma or polarity are interdependent opposites or poles. This taught our delegates that each pole of a dilemma has valid values and valid fears that can and should be taken into account. This can best be illustrated by the following example: ‘It is always in the best interest of the parts to care for the interest of the whole.’ And at the same time: ‘It is always in the best interest of the whole to care for the interest of the parts.’

In the interactive part of the session, participants took a polarity assessment, with a focus on diversity. The participants learned that the interdependent opposite of diversity is belonging. As there's nothing wrong with creating an organisation of belonging but not if this organisation neglects diversity.

Moreover, as part of the session, participants learned and practiced methods which help them to include and respect both opposites in finding a possible solution. As well as leveraging polarities by creating action steps to gain or maintain the upsides of both values, competencies or objectives and to identify early warnings that let you know that you are over-focusing on one value, competency or objective to the neglect of the other.

Diversity is the overarching theme of 2020 for AIJA. The SCILL workshop is one of the many more educational and awareness initiatives to follow around this topic next year.

The SCILL commission is the Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning commission. You can keep updated with SCILL commission activities by joining their LinkedIn group. We look forward to future events organised by the SCILL commission!

Thank you to Friederike Henke, President of the SCILL commission for her contribution to this blog article.



First AIJA healthcare seminar on medicines and medical devices

12 November 2019

From 27 to 29 June 2019, 50 participants from 18 countries attended the first AIJA Healthcare Seminar on 'Medicines and medical devices in the EU Single Market - dreams and reality' in Zurich. The seminar was organised by AIJA's Healthcare and Life Sciences Commission. The topics discussed included parallel trade, the new Clinical Trials Regulation ('CTR'), the impact of the new medical devices regulations ('MDRs') on study agreements and distribution contracts, challenges for the healthcare industry in view of Brexit, and the Falsified Medicines Directive ('FMD'). In addition, two keynote speeches on portfolio transformation and the Swiss regulatory system were part of the programme.

Janine Reudt-Demont, MLaw, LL. M., Attorney at Law, Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd, wrote about the main highlights of the seminar in the Life Science Recht Journal (Issue 4/2019). Below some of the key points from her article.

Portfolio transformation in export markets

The seminar kicked off with a keynote speech given by Dr. Stefan Ibing from Novartis Pharma Services AG (Switzerland). The speaker provided practical insights into portfolio transformation of a pharmaceutical company in export markets. Stefan Ibing explained to the participants that portfolio transformations are often structured as asset deals and that therefore, business units needed to be switched country by country, asset by asset and employee by employee. In a very interesting discussion with many questions raised by the audience, he talked in detail about possible issues with regard to the transfer of personnel, the transfer of product assets as well as the reorganisation of the supply chain. The speaker also reminded the participants to always verify the tender situation, i.e. to clarify whether there are any open tenders that are still unfulfilled, whether tender applications have been filed and if so, what their status is. Clarifying the tender situation is particularly important in case of a change in distributor in a respective country.

Panel and workshop on parallel trade

The panel was moderated by Martin Abraham (Czech Republic) and included Marek Holka (Slovakia), Indrikis Liepa (Latvia), Dr.Philippe Seiler (Switzerland) and Koen T’Syen (Belgium) as speakers. During the panel, they addressed experiences with parallel imports and exports of pharmaceuticals.

The panellists first discussed the legal situation in the EU and the individual Member States as represented in the panel. They critically assessed the legality of strategies pharmaceutical companies could resort to in order to try limiting parallel trade, such as supply quota systems, dual pricing, 'direct to pharmacy' systems and product life cycle management strategies. The evaluation of these practices is to be made under the (EU and national) competition law rules and the EU pharmaceutical regulatory framework, including the obligation of continuous supply applying to marketing authorisation holders and distributors. The panel further discussed whether and to what extent EU Member States are allowed to adopt legislation that restricts parallel trade to tackle the problem of medicine shortages. The speakers explained that the validity of such national legislation is to be assessed under the EU rules on the free movement of goods. With regard to Switzerland and based inter alia on the Swiss Federal Supreme Court’s decision in the Elmex-case, it was concluded that restrictions of passive sales were generally considered forbidden restrictions of competition unless justified for reasons of economic efficiency (e.g. reduction of distribution costs also in favour of end customers) whereby restrictions of active sales outside of a certain territory and selective distribution systems were generally considered allowed.

In the second part of the panel the active participation of the audience was required, as a complex case scenario involving parallel trade of pharmaceuticals was presented that needed to be analysed in small groups. After a short preparation time, each group had to present and plead its case before the mock tribunal presided by Dr. Stefan Ibing. The key learning from the mock trial was that even if the legal principles such as the principle of proportionality were clear, it was far from easy to apply them in practice. A careful analysis is required in light of the factual circumstances of each individual case.

Panel on the New Clinical Trials Regulation

Tfmup Akhundov (Russia), Dr. Jan Henning Martens (Germany), Jackie Mulryne (United Kingdom) and Nina Studer (Switzerland) got to the bottom of the new Clinical Trials Regulation that has entered into force on 16 June 2014, but will only enter into application after an independent audit and a period of six months starting from a confirmation notice published by the European Commission. It is currently estimated that the CTR will come into application during 2020. The CTR harmonises the assessment and supervision process for clinical trials throughout the EU and aims at setting the highest standards of safety for study participants as well as increasing transparency of trial information. Against this background, the panel pointed out that the new CTR as 'single entry point' particularly facilitates multicentre studies. Local ethics approval must, however, still be obtained.

Specifically addressed was the rather tricky interplay between the CTR and the GDPR. On the one hand, the GDPR provides that a data subject must at all times be able to withdraw consent and request the deletion of its data. On the other hand, according to the CTR, a withdrawal of the informed consent given to take part in a clinical trial shall only be possible for the future in the sense that activities already carried out and the use of data obtained based on informed consent before its withdrawal, are not affected. The speakers called the audience's attention to this issue and informed that the European Commission had addressed the interplay between the CTR and the GDPR in a Q&A document published on IO April 2019. In this document, the European Commission points out that the informed consent in the context of the CTR is a safeguard and not a legal basis for data processing, which is why it is important to distinguish between the requirement for consent from a person to participate in a clinical trial on the one hand, and the requirements for a lawful processing of personal data under the GDPR. According to the Commissions view, the withdrawal of consent to participate in a clinical trial under the CTR may, not necessarily affect the processing of personal data gathered in the context of that trial. The personal data may continue to be processed where there is an appropriate legal basis for such processing under the GDPR. In such cases, the personal data of that person gathered before the withdrawal shall be kept for the purposes and under the conditions defined in the study protocol and the legislation. Based on these guidelines, the speakers discussed whether one should, in a clinical trial context, rather rely on other grounds for the processing of personal data than on consent. As (i) if consent is used as the lawful basis for processing, there must be a possibility for individuals to withdraw that consent at any time and there is no exception to this requirement provided for under the GDPR with regard to scientific research. But also as the (ii) withdrawal of consent under the CTR does not affect the processing operations that are based on other lawful grounds, such as legal obligations of the sponsor and the investigator (e.g. with regard to adverse event reporting).

The panellists also drew the audience’s attention to the small differences between the CTR and current Swiss law and explained possible Brexit-scenarios with regard to the implementation of the new CTR and its impact on ongoing clinical trials. Finally, the panellists provided an introduction to the Eurasian Economic Union unified market of medicines of which inter alia Russia forms part.

Challenges and opportunities of the New MDRs from a Swiss perspective

Keynote speaker Dr. CARLO CONTI (Switzerland) spoke about the challenges and opportunities faced by Switzerland in view of the transposition of the MDRs into Swiss law. He particularly stressed the importance of negotiating - in parallel to such transposition by way of making the necessary adaptions to the respective Swiss laws (such as the TPA, the MedDO ,etc.) - an update of the mutual recognition agreement in relation to conformity assessments ('MRA'). Only such update would allow Switzerland to continue participating in and preserving market access to the EU market as equal as today. The speaker further emphasised that it was crucial for the Swiss regulator (Swissmedic) to be able to continue cooperating intensively with the market surveillance authorities of the EU Member States.

Panel on the new MDRs and their impact on study agreements and distribution contracts

Marco Blei (Italy), Arne Feber (Czech Republic), Dan Mihai (Romania) and Janine Reudt-Demont (Switzerland) talked about practical impacts the new MDRs will have on study agreements and distribution contracts. Based on the increased transparency demands posed by the MDRs, the panel inter alia addressed the new Unique Device Identification ('UDI') requirements as well as the fact that rather extensive information on clinical studies with medical devices will become publicly accessible based on their inclusion into the European database on medical devices ('Eudamed'). The speakers further pointed out that the MDRs provide for disclosure of quite far reaching design and manufacturing information and that stakeholders should, thus, be even more aware to accurately protect their trade secrets, know-how and intellectual property rights in time, e. g. by implementing sufficient confidentiality clauses into both, agreements relating to studies with and the distribution of medical devices.

The panellists also discussed the interesting question of whether a manufacturer of hi-tech medical devices may implement a selective distribution system in a manner that is compliant from a competition point of view. Further views were exchanged on the impacts of the MDRs on liability clauses in distribution contracts. Despite the MDRs quite clear assignment of obligations and liabilities to the manufacturer, the authorised representative (if any), the importer and the distributor, it was deemed very important to clearly allocate liabilities in a distribution contract between the various subjects in the distribution chain and to answer at least the following questions: Who is responsible? For what? And to what extent? With regard to data protection impacts, besides the generally strengthened conditions for consent and the enhanced information rights as well as typical data protection clauses in distribution and clinical study contracts, the panel elaborated on the required content of an informed patient consent to participate in a clinical study. Next to the essential information on the kind of personal data processed, the purpose as well as the legal basis for processing, the privacy information accompanying the consent form should also include information on how the data subjects rights are protected. Specific consent requirements may apply, for instance, to the collection of biological samples as well as to the further use of personal data for future scientific research.

Brexit panel on challenges for the healthcare industry

A lot has already been written and said about Brexit - most of it sounds like a glimpse into the crystal ball. The panel consisting of Dr. Amalia Athanasiadou (Switzerland), Michaela Herron (Ireland) and Ewan Townsend (United Kingdom) however, managed to present a very relevant and interesting analysis of the different Brexit-scenarios and the challenges for the healthcare industry (pharma and medical device companies).

The panel not only discussed what will happen to the marketing authorisations issued based on EU law, but also explained that Brexit gives raise to supply chain challenges, such as the need of finding a balance between the fear of "out of stock" versus the risk of overstocking. Also other challenges, such as the end of free movement of goods, questions of infrastructure locations and concerns with regard to quality risks due to delays at the border were addressed. Interestingly enough, pharma companies may have reservations about working with service providers having their servers in the UK, due to questions of data protection.

The speakers further pointed out that there were different possible scenarios to keep in mind with regard to the exhaustion of intellectual property rights and parallel trade as the UK will have to choose which exhaustion regime to apply: international exhaustion, exhaustion within the EEA (regional or national exhaustion).

With regard to medical devices, a hard Brexit would mean inter alia that an authorised representative must be established within the EU27 and that UK notified bodies would no longer be listed on the EU Commissions information system.

Panel on the Falsified Medicines Directive

The panel consisting of Michal Chodorek (Poland), Per Hedman (Sweden), Clara Pirez (France) and Barbora Vrablova (Czech Republic) moderated by Ilja Czernik (Germany) introduced the Falsified Medicines Directive. The audience was informed that the safety features provided for by the FMD applying since 9 February 2019, such as the inclusion of a Unique Identifier ("UI") on the outer packaging as well as a device allowing verification of whether the packaging has been tampered with (so called Anti-Tempering Device ["ATD"]) needed to be mandatorily followed for prescription drugs (unless for prescription drugs listed on the exemption list¬) but not for OTC-products (unless for OTC-products listed on the mandatory list). The panel, however, cautioned to bear in mind that each EU Member State had the opportunity to be stricter, so the locally applicable requirements should always be checked. The speakers further explained that the FMD was only applicable to drugs for human use placed on the European market, but not to veterinary use products.

According to the panellists, the biggest challenges in implementing the FMD lie with the middle of the supply chain, because both, the manufacturer’s responsibilities (e. g. to seal the products, to affix the UI and upload it to the European hub [the EMVS ]) and the dispensing healthcare institutions duties (e. g. to verify and decommission each product against the EMVS and national verification systems) are quite clearly regulated. This is, however, not the case with regard to the responsibilities of wholesalers and distributors, despite the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/16 detailing how medicine authenticity shall be verified and by whom. In general, Article IO of the Commission Delegated Regulation states that also wholesalers must verify the authenticity of the UI and the integrity of the ATD. Chapter V then, however, only addresses the case of a middle supply chain consisting of one wholesaler only. I. e., it remains unclear if and to which extent the safety features must be verified as well by other stakeholders of the supply chain, such as distributors, sub-distributors or logistic providers. The speakers further pointed out that verification of compliance was additionally complicated as there are no aggregated product codes. It is, thus, not sufficient to check one code, but every single code and package must be checked, which is impracticable.


AIJA Annual Arbitration Conference: Towards Greater Efficiency in International Arbitration, on 27-29 June 2019 in Zurich, Switzerland

28 October 2019

From Thursday, 27 June 2019 to Saturday, 29 June 2019, AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers), with the support of ArbitralWomen, ASA/ASA Below 40 and SCAI, organised a 2-day Conference in Zurich (kicked off by welcome drinks and dinner on Thursday evening) on the topic: “Towards Greater Efficiency in International Arbitration.” The event took place at the prestigious Belvoir Park conferences facilities, with dinner at Hotel Atlantis by Giardino and a night out in Zurich city centre. The event was very well attended, gathering more than a hundred attendees, almost half of them female arbitration practitioners.

After a Welcome Address by Paola Fudakowska, AIJA’s First Vice-President, a keynote speech was given by Urs Weber-Stecher, President of the Swiss Commission of Arbitration (National Committee) of ICC Switzerland and member of the SCAI Arbitration Court, who highlighted various features of arbitration whose efficiency could be improved. He particularly emphasised the importance of arbitrators taking a strong lead during the proceedings to enhance efficiency in International Arbitration. He also predicted an increase in mediation procedures, in particular in form of Arb- Med-Arb proceedings, in the future.

During the remainder of the conference, various panels and workshops addressed subtopics related to efficiency in International Arbitration. No less than seven ArbitralWomen members were part of the event's faculty, whether as speakers or moderators: the first panel, addressing the topic “Has Arbitration Become Too Expensive?,” was led by Nadia Smahi (Bär & Karrer AG, Geneva, co-organisator of the event), the third panel “Brave New World – Or HowTechnology Can Be Used To Improve Efficiency” featured Francesca Salerno (Legance Avvocati Associati, Rome) as a speaker, the workshop on “Efficiency – Chloé Terrapon (Walder Wyss, Zurich, co-organisator of the event), the workshop on “Efficiency – The Counsel's Perspective” featured Melissa Magliana (Lalive, Zurich) as speaker and the workshop on “Efficiency – The Institution's and the Arbitrator's Perspective”, led by Simone Hofbauer (Barandun AG, Zurich, co-organisator of the event), featured Heidi Merikalla-Teir (Merilampi Attorneys, Helsinki) and Pascale Gola (Ruoss Voegele, Zurich, co organisator of the event) as speakers. All panels and workshops provided insightful, creative and well thought of ideas on how to spot arbitration's weaknesses and improve them. A very active crowd of attendees provided interesting insights and war stories on the various topics addressed.

Overall, the event was a great success in terms of gender diversity, both in light of female attendees and speakers. It also followed a Young ArbitralWomen Practitioners event organised in the framework of the Conference on Thursday, 27 July 2019 on the topic “Managing Parenthood in the context of International Practice.” Despite the heat wave that hit Zurich during those days, the event showed that efficiency in International Arbitration remains a very cool topic.

This report was written by Nadia Smahi, Bär & Karrer (Geneva), Communication Officer of the AIJA International Arbitration Comission, and originally published in Arbitral Women's Newsletter (Issue 35).


AIJA signs international statement of solidarity

08 October 2019

AIJA has signed the International statement of solidarity, alongside 34 organisations including Lawyers for Lawyers, in connection to the merciless killing of Dutch colleague Derk Wiersum, a well-respected lawyer and deputy judge whom was shot in broad daylight.

Derk was shot outside his house in Amsterdam in the early morning of 18 September 2019. Derk was representing a crown witness in the so-called Marengo-trial, a high-profile criminal case against members of an organisation accused of several murders and attempted murders in the last couple of years. Although the events are still being investigated, it is assumed and highly likely that the death of Mr. Wiersum is related to his work as a lawyer.

AIJA and its fellow signatories are shocked about the killing of Mr. Wiersum, and we remain concerned about the impact of this tragic event on the legal profession and the rule of law. AIJA welcomes the prompt and public condemnation of this crime and the immediate measures taken by the Dutch authorities to initiate an investigation into this abhorrent attack.

To learn more, read the full version of the statement here.

*photo: Derk Wiersum, photo from


Diversity: 2020 theme for our association

02 October 2019

by Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President 2019-2020

As incoming President of the International Association of Young Lawyers in September 2019 – the fifth female lawyer to lead our association in the last ten years – I have chosen diversity as the theme of my presidency.

So what do I mean by diversity? The dictionary definition suggests different elements or qualities and variety, with the specific example of the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organisation. AIJA is a truly international association for around 4,000 junior to mid-career lawyers from over 90 countries representing over 700 law firm of all sizes. Our statistics speak for themselves: 43 per cent of our members are women and 43 per cent of the officer roles are held by women. There is currently a gender balance across the Association’s executive board and during the past ten years 73 per cent of the senior leadership roles on our executive board were held by women. But we can do more. When organising our high-quality seminars, our members are encouraged to ensure gender-diverse panels, with a wide representation of countries and different sized law firms.

The Association’s strategic focus is to increase geographic diversity by growing our membership in Asia, the Americas and Africa.
Building on the success of events in Singapore and Hong Kong, during my presidency the focus is on the Americas as we host our half-year November 2019 conference in Miami and the August 2020 annual congress in Rio.

Our partnerships with other legal associations that have a strong presence in our target continents, such as the International Bar Association, offer existing networks to support our goals of long-term growth and development in our chosen geographic areas.
I am actively working with our African members and our motivated commission officers who want to deliver an event in Africa in late 2020/2021, so watch this space.

My promise of prioritising diversity is supported by the creation of a new diversity officer position to join our advisory board. That role will entail actively monitoring and promoting diversity among our membership and our events. It will also focus on leveraging our existing relationships with sponsors and legal association partners, as well as identifying new connections and opportunities to promote the Association’s long-term commitment to diversity. Churchill famously said, ‘Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common – celebrate it every day’.

Our annual congress in the technicolour city of Rio on 24-28 August 2020 represents the end of my tenure. What better place in
the world for our Association to make a public commitment to diversity while celebrating our existing success!

This article was first published in the IBA Litigation Committee newsletter in September 2019, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association. 

Read full newsletter


AIJA calls on Duterte Government to protect lawyers against escalating attacks

26 September 2019

AIJA is proud to announce that it has signed the petition aimed at raising concerns about the situation of lawyers in the Philippines. AIJA has joined more than 150 international and national bar associations, lawyers’ organizations and individuals from across the globe in signing the petition.

AIJA has taken this action to express its deep concern over the increasing harassments, intimidations and attacks against lawyers in the Philippines and the oppressive working environment they’ve faced since the start of President Duterte’s administration in June 2016. Here at AIJA we call on the Duterte Government to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers and end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur.

Since June 2016, the number and intensity of attacks against lawyers has risen significantly. There have been at least 46 jurists killed between July 2016 and 5th September 2019, including at least five serving and retired judges. Its believed that most of these killings took place as a result of discharging professional duties. The lawyers especially at risk are those representing individuals accused of terrorists or drug related crimes, but also government critics such as journalists, opposition leaders and human rights defenders.

The attacks against and extra-judicial killings of lawyers and the impunity shielding perpetrators significantly impair the ability of lawyers to provide effective legal representation, making lawyers increasingly wary of working on sensitive cases. Consequently, this severely undermines the proper functioning of the rule of law and the adequate protection of rights, including the right to remedies and fair trial.

Therefore, AIJA demands that the Duterte Government upholds the United Nations Basic Principles on the role of lawyers. To find out more, check out the petition (in English) here.


2019 General Assembly: AIJA makes new appointments

26 September 2019

During its 57th Annual Congress in Rome, Italy from 3 to 7 September 2019, AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers brought together 800 legal professionals from around the world to debate ideas surrounding sustainability and the legal profession in today’s digitalised and globalised world.

It is with great pleasure that we officially communicate the results of the recent elections held during the AIJA General Assembly in Rome last September 7th, together with the new appointments in the different bodies of our Association approved by the Executive Committee during their meeting on the same day. We are also pleased to announce the creation of a new commission: Healthcare and Life Sciences.


Let’s welcome together the outstanding commitment and essential contribution of these newly elected Officers!



• Paola Fudakowska, President

• Xavier Costa, Immediate Past President

• François Barré, First Vice-President (elected by the General Assembly)

• Anna Wyrzykowska, Treasurer (elected by the General Assembly)

• Emiliano Ganzarolli, Secretary General

• Jean-Philippe Arroyo, Deputy Secretary General (appointed by the Bureau)


Extended Bureau

Academic Programme Committee

• Anouk Rosielle (newly appointed)

• Babak Tabeshian (newly appointed)

• Kristine Zvejniece


Officers of the Commissions Committee

• Aurélie Conrad-Hari (newly appointed)

• Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter

• Rebecka Thörn


National Representatives Committee

• Michaela Pelinka

• Tomas Rybar

• Arthur Stüssi Neves (newly appointed)


Human Rights Committee

• Gülsüm Aslan

• Martijn Burgers (newly appointed)

• Pia Padfield (newly appointed)

• Ülkü Solak


Sponsorship Committee

• Eduardo de la Peña Bernal (newly appointed)

• Rainer Kaspar (newly appointed)

• Gianluca Massimei (newly appointed)

• Yan Pecoraro (newly appointed)


Diversity Officer

• Matthew Cullen (newly appointed)


Newly elected Executive Committee members

(For a complete list of Executive Committee members, please click here)


• Alexander Bork

• Milena Charnitzky

• Helen Figurelli

• Philipp Haymann

• Kazuma Higuchi

• Zlatina Iliev

• Elena Kadelburger

• Laura Manz

• Jeroen Mues

• Sophie Püschel-Arnold

• Lars Raedschelders

• Jens Uwe Rügenhagen

• Dino Serafini

• Andres Sotomayor

• Thomas Thiébaut

• Louise Wong


In addition, five members will take office and replace those who had to leave the Executive Committee due to other appointments in the Association or resignation.


• Ruben Masar, with a mandate for two years until the General Assembly in 2021

• Alessandro Paci, with a mandate for two years until the General Assembly in 2021

• Alessia Giaccari, with a mandate for two years until the General Assembly in 2021

• Giuseppe Salsarulo, with a mandate for one year until the General Assembly in 2020

• Kajal Patel, with a mandate for one year until the General Assembly in 2020

Tom Arntz has been invited to the Executive Committee for a period of one year.


Newly appointed National Representatives and contact persons

(For a complete list of National Representatives and local contacts, please click here)


China: Steven Zhou

Colombia: Jose Azpurua Alfonzo

Estonia: Kadri Kallas

Germany: Rebekka Stumpfrock

Italy: Francesca Salerno

Japan: Takuo Misaki

Netherlands: Paul Van Lange

Norway: Lilly Kathrin Relling (reappointed)

Poland: Agata Adamczyk

Russian Federation: Alexander Katzendorn

Slovenia: Jera Majzelj

Spain: Alejandro Yufera

United States: Perry Maclennan


Regional Representative Berlin: Donata Störmer

Regional Representative Hamburg: Johannes Struck

Regional Representative München: Carolin van Straelen

Southwest Germany: Rebekka Stumpfrock


Contact person, Cyprus: George Manikas

Contact person, Dutch Caribbean: Roderik van Hees

Contact person, Kenya: Evelyne Nzuki

Contact person, Philippines: Kristin Charisse Siao

Contact person, Serbia: Natalija Popovic

Contact person, Ukraine: Oleksii Prudkyi


Newly appointed Commission Officers

(For a complete list of Commission Officers, please click here)


Commercial Fraud

Commercial Fraud President: James Le Gallais

Commercial Fraud Vice-President: Charlotte Tregunna


Environment and Energy Law

Environmental and Energy Law President: Daria Capotorto

Environmental and Energy Law Vice-President: Carlos Del Razo


In-house Counsel

In-house Counsel President: Anda Mize

In-house Counsel Vice-President: Narjess Naouar

In-house Counsel Vice-President: Jérôme Debras



Insolvency President: Marine Simonnot

Insolvency Vice-President: Elaina Bailes

Insolvency Vice-President: Paulo Nasser


Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Vice-President: Chloe Taylor

Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Vice-President: Cristina Hernandez-Marti Perez


International Arbitration

International Arbitration President: Eduardo de la Peña Bernal

International Arbitration Vice-President: Silvia Pavlica Dahlberg

International Arbitration Vice-President: Lukas Rusch



Litigation President: Arnoldo Lacayo

Litigation Vice-President: Rosie Wild

Litigation Vice-President: Chiara Caliandro


Real Estate

Real Estate President: Bernd Hauck

Real Estate Vice-President: Johannes Meyer–Myklestad

Real Estate Vice-President: Christoph Nöehles


Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning

Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning President: Friederike Henke

Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning Vice-President: Max Maillet



T.R.A.D.E President: Benedikt Rohrssen

T.R.A.D.E Vice President: Jelle Bloom



Tax Law Vice-President: Gertjan Verachtert


Healthcare and Life Sciences

Healthcare and Life Sciences President: Tomás García Navarro

Healthcare and Life Sciences Vice-President: Tímea Halkó

Healthcare and Life Sciences Vice-President: Jan Henning Martens


AIJA welcomes new President and First Vice-President for 2019/20

24 September 2019


AIJA, The International Association of Young Lawyers, elected at its 2019 General Assembly a Vice-President for the 2019/20 term of office. Paola Fudakowska (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) will take on her role as President, as First Vice-President François Barré (Azam-Darley Associé), as Immediate Past President Xavier Costa (Roca Junyent), as Secretary General Emiliano Ganzarolli (Audisio e Associati), as Deputy Secretary General Jean-Philippe Arroyo (JP Karsenty & Associés), and as Treasurer Anna Wyrzykowska (WKB).

At the General Assembly, Paola Fudakowska, President of AIJA set out her outlook for the association with a focus on Diversity, Development and Dialogue.

The association’s diversity is going from strength to strength. I will harness this enthusiasm and success by continuing to offer local members the support to host events in their home country in line with the association's strategic growth in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. Our forthcoming November half-year conference will be hosted in Miami and our annual congress next year takes us to Rio’, Paola explained.

Paola will join four female presidents elected in the last decade to focus on diversity. ’Diversity will always be at the heart of our association’s activities and the theme of our Rio congress: ‘United in Diversity: Empowering our Future’”, she added.

In respect of development, Paola has promised to ‘continue to work closely with our colleagues in the IBA, ABA, UIA, IPBA, ELSA and other organisations to identify regular opportunities for collaboration. The success of forging links between our members is already evident in the numbers of former AIJA members who are active in these associations, not least the president of the IBA and our dear friend Horacio Bernardes Neto’.

Paola argues that ‘dialogue is at the heart of the association's raison d’être to provide an international networking platform for young lawyers. By offering members the opportunity to get involved in the association from the outset as a speaker, to organise a seminar or to take on an official role is instrumental to our future growth and represents the heart of the AIJA spirit.

I am grateful to the members for their trust to lead our thriving association. With the support of a fantastic and dedicated Bureau, Extended Bureau, Commission officers and our team in Brussels, I am confident of our collective success’, Paola concluded.

Moreover, we are pleased to welcome François Barré, AIJA’s First Vice-President for the year 2019/20.

I would like to thank all the members for the trust and confidence they have vested in my candidacy, and I feel my message of devotion for the association was heard by the members. Hard work and exemplarity are key in our profession. It is essential for me to position AIJA as the main voice for young lawyers through an inclusive, modern, sustainable strategy that looks at maintaining credibility and creativity as well as professionalism and trustworthiness.

I look forward to working hand in hand with the Bureau, Extended Bureau, Commission officers and AIJA team from Rome to Rio, and watch Paola anchor Development, Dialogue and Diversity to our beloved Association.'



AIJA would like to thank Xavier Costa of Roca Junyent for his pragmatic leadership of the association and commitment to promoting sustainability in the practice of law during his presidency (2018/19). The association would also like to acknowledge Wiebe de Vries (Outgoing Immediate Past President 2018/19) and Lara Vivas (Outgoing Treasurer) for their continuous dedication to AIJA.

The General Assembly took place on 7 September 2019 at the 57th AIJA Annual Congress in Rome ( The Congress brought together more than 750 law practitioners, law firms, companies and future lawyers from around the world to Rome to debate and discuss the interaction between sustainability and the law on the planet, people and the future.


Background information:

About Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President 2019/20

Paola is a senior legal adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, advising on Europe and human rights matters. With 15 years’ experience as a trust litigator at an international law firm in London, Paola moved to Geneva in 2017 to complete an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights at the Geneva Academy to shift the focus of her legal practice to public international law. Paola divides her time between London and Geneva.

About François Barré, AIJA First Vice-President 2019/20

François Barré specialises in advising company managers in their business in France and abroad. He developed a specific practice in structuring and implementing investments together with their funding (loans, securities, acquisitions and asset management). He acquired recognized competence in the field of start-ups, and assists high-growth potential companies throughout their business. Azam-Darley & Associés also provides foreign companies with pragmatic solutions for the establishment of their activities in France.


Pre-registrations open for the Rio Congress

24 September 2019

It’s AIJA’s great pleasure to welcome you to the 58th Annual Congress in Rio de Janeiro from 24-28 August 2020!

The South American continent and one of Brazil’s most colourful cities epitomise some of the values at the heart of AIJA – energy, connection, innovation and equality, thus the theme of this year’s congress is Diversity. Or Carioca – the name for Rio residents or natives. But being Carioca is more than that: it’s a state of mind, a state of being, a form of living, a definition of personality. Rio celebrates New Year’s eve in white to mark equality, while it’s legendary Carnival is an array of festival colour to celebrate diversity. So, whatever your birthplace, ethnicity, religion, age, gender or sexuality, anyone can be Carioca.

We’ll have the privilege of hosting our Congress in one of the most iconic hotels in the world – The Copacabana Palace, stage of countless movies, stories and songs. Across the street from our hotel is Copacabana Beach, the most famous beach in Brazil and natural habitat of poets, song writers, surfers, movies and TV celebrities.

Choosing diversity as the main theme of the 58TH International Young Lawyers Congress in Rio responds to AIJA’s undertaking to promote and advance the principle of equality, to provide insights into the complex and multidimensional nature of our society, and to work together with its members to support a dynamic and wide-ranging profession. Participants will also enjoy a wide variety of social events and tours through our beautiful city.

Pre-registrations for the Rio Congress are now open! By pre-registering before 31 January 2020, you can register at the early bird fee with no deadline! You will also receive the official congress gift from the Organising Committee as well as an entry to the prize draw which will be taking place at the Welcome Reception in Rio on 24th August 2020.

Find out more and pre-register for the congress here.

We can’t wait to see you in Rio, a city that by itself represents the mixture and variety that diversity is all about.


Xuejun Zhao is awarded the Best Future International Lawyer Award for her outstanding academic prowess

14 September 2019

AIJA’s Best International Future Lawyer Award (BIFLA) seeks to develop law students understanding of the global development agenda. AIJA believes that encouraging young lawyers to provide solutions to major challenges in the world is vital if we are to adequately prepare them for their future careers. The BIFLA strives to prepare young lawyers for the testing road ahead!

This year’s competition was focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in line with the 57th Congress’s sustainability theme. The essay question that entrants responded to was ‘If I could change the world…how can I, as a future lawyer, contribute to a more sustainable world?’.

The 2019 winner is Xuejun Zhao. Xuejun graduated from the University of Groningen in September 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in International and European Law. Due to her interest in sustainability, Xuejun continued her studies at the same university by pursuing a Master’s degree in Climate and Energy Law.

Read the winning essay

Her essay delves specifically into SDG 13: Climate Action, where the current trend of climate litigation is analysed. The essay explores the feasibility of climate litigation, and considers the existing domestic cases, as well as the possibility of turning to the international realm.

The essay illustrates that, while the courts may be our best hope of reversing the damage done to our planet, the domestic context may not be the solution. Hence Xuejun’s essay analyses the possibility of creating of an International Environmental Court as a means of achieving SDG 13. In doing so the issue of jurisdiction is considered, in addition to private party access.

In response to her astounding achievement, Xuejen says 'almost half a year since hitting the submit button, I can safely say that entering the BIFLA competition was one of the best decisions I have ever made. During the Rome congress, I learned from (and even met!) experts in a field that I hope to break into someday, cultivating skills applicable to my future career. It was also in Rome that I found out about Loyola Law School’s generous offer, which will allow me to further deepen my legal knowledge. Entering the BIFLA competition made all this possible, and I am immensely grateful to AIJA for that!'

Xuejun was presented with the BIFLA at the Gala Dinner at the glamorous Villa Medici at the 57th Congress in Rome. Her award was honoured with an array of prizes, including free AIJA membership until 2022, publication of her essay across AIJA’s channels and an invitation to attend the 57th Annual Congress free of charge with travel and accommodation included, as well as a one-year scholarship with our prestigious sponsor Loyola Law school.

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles is one of the top law schools in the United States. Loyola is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students, and cutting-edge programs, with a strong sense of social justice. Our 18,000+ alumni network reaches across the United States and into 35 different countries and includes current and former ambassadors, high level government officials, and more than 800 partners at major law firms. 

'We are delighted to sponsor this year’s award for Best Future International Lawyer. Loyola seeks to educate women and men who will be leaders in our globalised world. We look for students who will be demonstrating in their practice of law and public service the highest standards of personal integrity, professional ethics and a deep concern for social justice and society. Members of AIJA represent the perfect example of the above and the winner of the Award, with her focus on sustainability, will surely be affecting with her work the advancement of society. It was an honor for Loyola to play a small role during this year’s AIJA Congress and we look forward to welcoming Xuejun to our campus in the near future!'', said Professor Michael Waterstone, Fritz B.Burns Dean, Loyola Law School.

This year, AIJA also awarded two special mentions in addition to the Best International Future Lawyer Award. The two special mentions were awarded to Rebeca Spuch for her essay on the intersection between education and the Sustainable Development Goals and Judith Creppy for her essay ‘Would legal personhood help to ensure a better protection for the environment?’. The two essays have proven great quality, as well as a good understanding of the SDGs and law.

The Best Future International Lawyer Award competition reopens in February 2020. To find out more, follow the updates on the website here. To read this year's winning essay, click here


The benefits of e-voting

20 August 2019

AIJA welcomed e-voting last year and due to its resounding success we will be using it again at the Annual Congress! We are excited to use e-voting to elect a new Vice-President of AIJA as well as a new treasurer and the partial renewal of the Executive Committee. We’ll also be using e-voting for any resolutions proposed to the General Assembly on Saturday, 7 September. Below are some of the benefits of e-voting to be experienced in Rome next month!

1.    Direct participation

E-voting offers a more time-efficient and transparent way for members to be directly involved in the future of the Association. This way association decisions are made with the consideration of the entire organisation.

2.    Convenient

E-voting is an electronic system that allows members to log into a secure voting platform and cast their votes electronically within their web or mobile browsers from any location.

3.    Secure

Voter privacy, election integrity, correctness and security are guaranteed through encryption protocols. The voting platform is provided by AssociationVoting. To ensure that the election process is secure, we:

  • Use industry-standard 128-Bit SSL encryption
  • Enforce one member one vote by requiring voters to identify with their AIJA Membership ID Number and email address, to ensure only one voting ballot per identifier
  • Ensure voting accuracy by preventing accidental over-voting and providing a prompt error notification that requires attention before their vote can be cast
  • Require voter validation of selections as a preview step before their vote can be cast.
  • Maintain a detailed audit trail of voter selections and ballots cast, available to the AIJA voting administrator as the voting results PDF and also enabling validation of challenged ballots or results. Voter details such as IP address is tracked as well.

4.    Accurate

E-voting instantly collects and processes the data in real time. The voting platform can prevent accidental over-voting, as each voter is required to identify with their unique Membership ID Number.


AIJA members to vote electronically this year

15 July 2019

E-voting is an electronic system that allows members to log in to a secure voting platform and cast their votes electronically within their web or mobile browsers from any location.

AIJA adopted e-voting in 2018, with the aim to increase accessibility to its internal democratic processes and facilitate new forms of direct participation for its members.


How e-voting works

Members will first vote for the First Vice-President. This year, there are two candidates, François Barré (co-chair, National Representatives Committee) and David Diris (co-chair, Officers of the Commissions Committee). The e-voting process is as follows:

  1. Members receive a link to a secure electronic voting platform the first week of September.
  2. Vote opens on Thursday, 5 September, 13:00 CET, and closes on Saturday, 7 September, 11:30 CET.
  3. Members log in to the electronic voting platform using their AIJA Membership ID Number and the email address shared with the Association for communication.
  4. Once logged in, members simply have to choose their preferred candidate.

The debate between the two candidates will be streamed online on Thursday, 5 September, from 12:00 to 13:00 CET.

Members will also vote for a new treasurer, partial renewal of the Executive Committee, and any Resolutions proposed to the General Assembly on Saturday, 7 September. They will again log in to the electronic voting platform, but using a different link. Vote opens at 11:00 CET and closes the same day at 11:30 CET.

If members are unable to vote electronically, they can still assign a proxy to a fellow Member who can vote on their behalf. Members are invited to visit their member dashboard MyAIJA for more information.

Read elections programme - François Barré

Read elections programme - David Diris




Nasrin Sotoudeh and all Iranian lawyers arbitrarily detained should be immediately and unconditionally released

04 July 2019

On the occasion of the L5 Meeting, convened in Barcelona, Spain, on June 3, 2019, the undersigned organisations express their deepest concerns about the sentencing and continuing arbitrary detention of several Iranian lawyers, including prominent Iranian and award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Attacks on lawyers have intensified in Iran in recent years. Lawyers are facing judicial harassment as a consequence of their legitimate professional activity.

The most emblematic case is that of Nasrin Sotoudeh who was recently sentenced to a shocking conviction of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for national-security related offences [stemming from seven charges, including “assembly and collusion against national security”; “spreading propaganda against the State”; and “appearing at the judiciary without the Islamic hijab.”].

Ms Sotoudeh is known worldwide for her unwavering commitment to the defence of human rights, her opposition to the death penalty, and her courageous advocacy for the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary system. As a result of her tireless work as a human rights lawyer, Ms Sotoudeh and her family have been repeatedly targeted by Iranian authorities, and
subject to harassment, intimidation, imprisonment, as well as a ban on practising law, her profession. Prior to her last arrest in June 2018, she devoted herself to the defence of young Iranian women who have been arrested and prosecuted for peacefully protesting against the compulsory veiling in Iran.

Other human rights Iranian lawyers are being targeted. Earlier this month, Amirsalar Davoudi, a well-known lawyer representing human rights activists and other individuals detained for their social and political activities, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for “collaborating with an enemy of the state through interviews,” “propaganda against the state,” “insulting officials", and “forming a group to overthrow the state.” Lawyer Mohammad Najafi, was recently sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison and 74 lashes in three separate cases for the charges of “disturbing the state” and “publishing falsehoods.” Other lawyers have been arrested or have faced prosecution such as Arash Keykhosravi, Ghassem Sholeh-Sa’di, Farokh Forouzan, Mostafa Daneshjoo, Mostafa Tork Hamadani, Payam Derafshan and Zeynab Taheri. Furthermore, even though his case is less recent, lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani should not be forgotten. He was conditionally released on November 21, 2018 after serving more than seven years in prison in Tehran. Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the co-founders of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and has devoted most of his career to defending political prisoners.

The undersigned organisations strongly condemn the detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh and other Iranian lawyers, as well as the charges brought against them, as the charges appear to be solely related to their legitimate work as lawyers, and aimed at curtailing their peaceful human rights activities.

We respectfully urge the relevant Iranian authorities to immediately take any and all appropriate steps to annul the convictions and sentences against arbitrarily detained lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh; to ensure their immediate and unconditional release; and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against lawyers in Iran.

The statement is available for download in English, French and Spanish.


Leaders of international lawyers’ organisations remind of the importance of self-regulation and the independence of the legal profession

02 July 2019

Self-regulation and independence of legal professionals ensure the trust and protection of citizens, and provide guarantees for the rule of law.’

The message comes from the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE) and the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) in response to the growing deregulation movement and immediate threats to lawyers’ independence. During their latest L5 meeting, they analysed the current status of the legal profession, particularly lawyers’ safety and independence and self-regulation as an essential safeguard of the rule of law. Together, they concluded that deregulation poses serious threats to public interest and democracy. Any reform leading to deregulation risks hampering the quality and integrity of the delivery of legal services and above all, citizens’ access to effective justice and legal protection.

The meeting was held in Barcelona in June and organised by AIJA. It also included contributions from two other members of the L5, namely the International Bar Association (IBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA).

 ‘“No Lawyer, No Justice”. The role of lawyers and the practice of law may be changing and adapting to the current times but deregulation and loss of independence are not the solution. Our citizens and our democracies need independent and self-regulated lawyers. Regulation should focus on fostering innovation and improving access to effective justice’, says Xavier Costa, AIJA President and Partner at Roca Junyent (Spain).

During the discussions, the leaders of the three international lawyers’ organisations also recognised the role of bar associations in steering the legal profession into the future and the importance of ensuring high professional standards in the delivery of legal services to citizens.

‘The capacity of lawyers to regulate themselves and remain independent is today at stake. The role of the bar associations will be to find new ways for lawyers to show their value and ensure that the public interest remains a priority’, adds José de Freitas, CCBE President and Partner at Cuatrecasas (Portugal).

‘Lawyers are advocates for citizens. And the purpose of regulation is to protect their fundamental and basic rights to effective justice. Without the right regulatory environment, the biggest impact would be on them and their trust in the legal services market’, concludes Issouf Baadhio, UIA President and Avocat à la Cour (Burkina Faso).

During the meeting, the three leaders also issued a common statement (in English, French and Spanish) to express their concerns about the sentencing and continuing arbitrary detention of several Iranian lawyers, including promiment Iranian and award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

About the L5

The so-called ‘L5’ is the annual meeting held by the leaders of the main international Associations of Lawyers and Bar Associations (in alphabetical order: ABA (American Bar Association), AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers), CCBE (Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe), IBA (International Bar Association) and UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats). During the meeting the leaders update each other on the main developments on the legal profession and discuss how to best ensure and promote the rule of law.

For more information, download the full statement.


Ensuring sustainability through the legal profession

31 May 2019

by Xavier Costa, AIJA President 2018/2019

Sustainability can mean many things for different people. Very often sustainability is referred to under terms such as sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, resilience, sustainable consciousness, etc. What is sure – we all want it or, at least, we all need it.

My personal favourite definition comes from the 1987 UN Brundtland Commission* and says that sustainable development is ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Generally speaking, this implies that we should care for our planet, resources and people. Sustainability goes far beyond environmental
and corporate social responsibility concerns. In business, sustainability is about better decisions, cost reduction, improving productivity, innovation, reputation, and creating a long-term positive impact on all stakeholders. Such is the case for the legal profession, too. As more and more companies consider sustainability into their business strategies, lawyers must be prepared to properly advise them. To do that, being a simply knowledgeable lawyer is no longer enough. Lawyers should be able to offer advice on legal compliance, but also strategic guidance on opportunities that sustainability can provide for companies. Whether related to environmental practices, labour standards, cybersecurity, health and safety, immigration, human rights, tax or other areas of practice – undoubtedly, every lawyer will be asked more and more by their clients to help on sustainability-related issues.

As an international association, AIJA continuously seeks to share best practices through education and training events that enable collaboration, mentorship, peer-based learning and the sharing of innovative ideas for young lawyers across the world. These events follow thematic areas that are slightly changing from one event to the other. While 2018 was all about globalisation, the main focus of 2019 is on sustainability. One of our largest events, the International Young Lawyers’ Congress will showcase in particular the ways
in which lawyers around the globe can take actions to make the business of their clients more sustainable. From 3-7 September, more than 700 international professionals from private and in-house practices, as well as government, UN experts and members of the
G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, will join us in Rome.

In 2019 as in all years, we will not rest. Our work is far from finished. Drawing on expertise available within its membership, AIJA – in cooperation with international bar associations and other business partners such as the International Bar Association, American Bar Association, Union Internationale des Avocats, Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Inter-Pacific Bar Association, LAWASIA or the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance – will continue to strengthen the sustainability profile of the legal profession and ensure that the present and future generations of lawyers are well equipped for clients’ every need. As international young lawyers, we must feel empowered and play an important role in ensuring a sustainable future for our fellow citizens and clients. We owe it to people everywhere, to our planet and to the future generations.

The article was featured in the AIJA Yearbook 2018/2019.

*Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development


The future of the legal profession - it's now

15 April 2019

by Wiebe de Vries, AIJA Immediate Past President 2018/2019

The future is now for the legal profession. With automation, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the rise of non-lawyers in the legal profession and the generational shift in the workforce, change is happening faster than in the past. While it’s not without challenges, law firms are slowly forging a path of their own in this rapidly evolving world.

Demystifying technology for lawyers

Many qualified experts feel that technology would replace most of today’s workforce, including lawyers. But none of these experts have come up with a widely accepted replacement to date. The approach to technology should however be different, more positive. Let’s not fear that technology could eventually replace us but look proactively at how we can integrate it into our business model.

As lawyers, we should be looking at how to make good use of it to improve our services and build trust with clients. Our solutions are no longer assessed based on our legal expertise only, but more broadly. Clients expect a greater understanding of their business, faster response time and efficiency. Often the legal aspects are only a part of the solution to clients while the rest doesn’t even involve legal knowledge. We are shifting from the day-to-day practice of law to a more business-oriented model where legal services are profoundly embedded in the business of clients. The good news: technology can help with this shift.

Even better: lawyers start to develop a positive attitude towards technology. But we’re in for the long haul. The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), with the help of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE), conducted a survey among international lawyers between the ages of 25 and 45 years old. The findings reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers are less fearful of technology replacing them (decrease of 43%). They also show that almost half of all respondents (42%) are confident that their firms are taking the necessary measures to integrate tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) tools, automation or the cloud into their workflow. However, implementation of technology remains still low.

So, we could say that law firms know what they need to do. And lawyers are most definitely willing to embrace technology. But again, we don’t know yet how to do it. From this perspective, technology providers could do more for the legal profession. And there are plenty of opportunities. According to the same survey, only 3% of respondents agree that the training of lawyers is sufficiently adapting to the changing landscape of the legal market. More training seems required to adapt accordingly and ensure that lawyers know how to use the latest innovations in technology to the benefit of their clients and business.  

Working with other legal service providers

As the market for technology-enabled innovations continues to grow, so does the market for non-traditional legal service providers. 86% of lawyers see this as a threat to their profession and believe that firms are more likely to employ non-lawyers to service clients in the name of cost-efficiency and making use of new technologies, according to the survey.

This can be in fact an opportunity to expand the legal service markets of our law firms. The same for interdisciplinary partnerships. There is untapped potential there. Law firms should look more at the industries that are already leading the digital revolution.

Unlocking the mystery of millennials

Another driving force of change in the legal profession is the generational shift in the workplace. Much more impatient, more demanding and keener for flexibility, millennials are here to stay. By 2025, they will account for 75% of the global workforce according to global research. Millennials will soon take over leadership positions and partnerships in law firms. But then how can law firms best manage millennials, a tech-savvy and dynamic generation?

This younger generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with digital technologies. They usually seek organisations that foster innovation, develop their skills and make a positive contribution to society. These features are generally difficult to manage in law firms which are often quite heavily driven by hierarchy.

It was a very different environment in 2005 when I started. In my early days as a lawyer, hierarchy, paperwork, and – maybe - a predominant fear for change and innovation were driving the organisational structure. A four-eyes principle meant that four eyes had to read the same piece of paper and even as a trainee, we needed to sign off on every piece of (printed) e-mail, letter and fax that crossed our desks.

Happily, times have changed. We see law firms slowly but surely adapting to the latest innovation trends in the workplace. The younger generation can be a huge opportunity in this evolution process. Millennials can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas which can have a positive impact on the business and the relationship with clients.

Senior-level lawyers are here to stay for a little while, too. This is why, firms should be looking for ways to ensure collaboration between the generations and create a space for their younger lawyers to grow. Reverse mentoring, for instance, can facilitate a better understanding between the generations. Younger lawyers and their more seasoned colleagues can teach one another about the business and practice of law. This is how law firms can predict the likes, dislikes, ways of working of the next generations and ensure a thriving work environment for all their employees, regardless of their age. However, it seems that it will take some more work for law firms to adequately equip themselves for the younger generation, through such orientation and mentoring programmes or even more flexible working conditions. But I believe that we will eventually get there.

It probably goes without saying that the traditional law firm won’t stand a chance against the numerous changes in the legal profession: boutique firms allow their employees to have access to stellar legal tech innovations on a subscription now and can compete with global firms. The need for big teams to perform a due diligence or discovery is no longer there, which still is one of the driving elements of a traditional law firm business model. What is sure, firms that take a long-term perspective and proactively seek opportunities to embrace innovation will ensure their profitability and sustainability of their business in the future, both towards their clients and their future leadership. As we are so used to solving challenges for our clients, it’s now our turn to solve our own and create a more sustainable future for our profession.


AIJA calls for release of Iranian human rights lawyer and defender

15 April 2019

Prominent human rights lawyer and defender Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes following two unfair trials. The charges against Mrs Sotoudeh stem solely from her peaceful human rights work, including defending women’s rights and her outspoken opposition to Iran’s mandatory hijab (veiling) laws.

Mrs Sotoudeh had received the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors. She had previously spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In an open letter to His Excellency Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, AIJA joins the international community in urging Iran to respect and safeguard human rights and fulfil its mission to implement the law in accordance with international legal and human rights standards, in light of the recent detention of Mrs Sotoudeh.

In many countries, human rights defenders still face continuous and systematic threats and abuses by government authorities. This is part of a worrying pattern rapidly developing worldwide, and which ultimately undermines the long-term stability and sustainable development of our society. The international community must take immediate actions against this ongoing intimidation of human rights advocates and make a stronger, more compelling case for human rights and rule of law – both in Iran and around the world.

Show your support

To join the global campaign for her release, you can sign the following petitions:

For more information, please contact AIJA's Human Rights Committee:

Source: Amnesty International, Centre for human rights in Iran


AIJA and INSOL EUROPE organise 2019 seminar on insolvency

11 April 2019

The legal sector will benefit from two industry perspectives under one roof at the AIJA – INSOL EUROPE joint insolvency seminar this year.

AIJA and INSOL EUROPE have joined forces to organise the seminar in Mallorca, from 13-15 June. The event will see lawyers and insolvency professionals offer multilateral views on the different issues lawyers, clients and insolvency experts can face during insolvency proceedings, under the theme ‘Make twilight a new dawn: defensive and offensive strategies in insolvency matters’.

Bringing AIJA together with INSOL EUROPE - which is the leading European organisation of professionals in insolvency, business reconstruction and recovery - is hopefully the start of a long-term collaboration. Through events, the two organisations can benefit from an invaluable platform where they can exchange on the complex area of cross-border insolvency together with their members who are highly knowledgeable about this area.

‘We’re very excited about the partnership between AIJA and INSOL EUROPE’s Young Members Group. It’s a natural synergy, as both organisations focus on helping young practitioners to network, learn and advance their careers. Mallorca will provide AIJA and INSOL EUROPE members with the opportunity to get to know each other better in a beautiful and relaxed setting, with plenty of occasions for discussion. Moving forward, we hope there will be other occasions where AIJA and INSOL EUROPE members can be brought together at our events’, say members of the AIJA Organising Committee Elaina Bailes (Stewarts), Armando Perna (Pozzi & Partners), and Philippe Sylvestre (Etude Max Mailliet).

On the schedule

Today’s world is a global marketplace, with international trade and foreign investments rapidly growing. This growth sees more and more companies developing global businesses with assets and capabilities in more than one country. Consequently, the insolvency and restructuring market has also become more international. In this era of globalisation, a lawyer with a multilateral approach to insolvency matters is able to offer the right advice to his clients, and turn crisis into opportunities or, at least, roll with the punches to limit the damage. Typically, national insolvency regulation also needs to be considered, as it’s generally internally oriented and can overlook what other regulations can provide, for instance in liquidation of assets. Against this backdrop, the seminar will seek to present tools for participants to set up the best strategies to approach insolvency from a different – and most importantly, international - perspective.

‘We opted for an academic programme including traditional panels and debates to encourage open discussions and an active participation of the audience. We’re confident that this format will shift the programme into a higher gear, with new and practical solutions to insolvency issues and plenty of international perspectives from our colleagues joining from all around the globe’, say INSOL EUROPE representatives Anne Bach (Görg Rechtsanwälte) and Georges-Louis Harang (Hoche Avocats).

Participants will be able to stay at the seminar venue, Blau Privilege PortoPetro Beach Resort & Spa, a seafront hotel close to the picturesque port of Porto Petro and the Mondrago Nature Reserve. The seminar will start with a welcome reception at the hotel on Thursday, 13 June. The social programme will also include a dinner at the Mhres Sea Club, a restaurant well known for its location and Mediterranean dining experience, on Friday, 14 June. An optional tour and a tapas dinner at the Winery José Luis Ferrer are foreseen for those staying until Saturday evening.

To find out more about the event and register, visit the dedicated webpage. Early bird fees are available until 30 April. See you in Mallorca! 


The curious case of lawyers - by Xavier Costa, AIJA President

25 February 2019

Human beings have a natural tendency to resist change. Lawyers are no different. Probably because we are trained to be risk-averse and more conservative than any other profession. Our day-to-day work mostly involves finding our way around difficult situations and turning these to our favour or our client’s.

Today, technology is one of the main drivers of change in the world. And it seems to be shaking up the legal market, there’s no doubt. The good news: lawyers seem to be slowly developing a positive attitude towards technology.

The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), with the help of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE), recently conducted a survey among international lawyers between the ages of 25 and 45 years old. The findings reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers are less fearful of technology replacing them (decrease of 43%). They also show that almost half of all respondents (42%) are confident that their firms are taking the necessary measures to integrate tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) tools, automation or the cloud into their workflow.

So, we already know what to do. And we are most definitely willing to embrace technology. But we don’t know yet how to do it. There are so many technology providers on the market, so many different options that choosing between these can be quite daunting. This can rightfully bring some anxiety that may prevent technology adoption from happening faster. The implementation remains low still.

One way of boosting adoption can be for law firms to involve their lawyers in the digital transformation of their law firms. Sometimes this might be done through training or active participation in implementing these tech solutions, but also encouraging them to join professional networks. It is not uncommon for law firms and lawyer associations to set up think-tank groups or committees dedicated to monitoring of the so-called new law and of the legal tech solutions available. At AIJA, for instance, we seek to shape relations between our members from the legal world and tech industries. This is one of the many ways we try to contribute to a more active involvement of lawyers in the digital change. In this regard, our annual congress in Rome this year will also be open to legal tech industries willing to showcase their products and tools in front of a crowd of international lawyers from all over the globe. We invite the industry to join us there and encourage international lawyers from all around the world to come, test and bring the knowledge back to their respective firms.

Other legal service providers – a case for competition?

As the market for digital or digitally-enabled technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain – continues to grow, so does the market for non-traditional legal service providers (ALSD). 86% of lawyers see this as a threat to their profession and believe that firms are more likely to employ non-lawyers to service clients in the name of cost-efficiency and making use of new technologies, according to the same survey.

But we should remain positive. Perhaps the rise of ALSDs comes from certain unmet client demands for more efficient, cost-effective and interdisciplinary solutions. Their growth can be in this case an opportunity to expand the legal service markets of our law firms. The same for interdisciplinary partnerships. There is untapped potential there. Law firms should look more at the industries that are already leading the digital revolution.

So, there is no case for competition there or at least, it shouldn’t be. The increased availability of different services and experts should not lead to more competition in the legal marketplace but to more strategic collaborations to better serve our clients. This type of partnerships will allow lawyers to create more complete and compressive products for their clients and, without any doubt, this is good for their business.

Law firms may have to continue to move away from the traditional model focused on the firm’s capabilities and develop a more business-oriented model where attention to the client is at the absolute centre of every step in their practice. Clients are now looking for greater understanding of their business, efficiency, faster response time and best uses of technologies. Sometimes we give overall solutions to the client and often the legal part is a part of this while the rest does not even involve legal knowledge.

The business customer-centric approach, together with some solid digital proficiency, a proper international network, good management skills and openness towards innovation are essential skills for today’s and tomorrow’s lawyers. Lead to innovate or be left behind.

Article published originally at


Become a specialist in International Family Law at University of Carlos III of Madrid

19 February 2019

AIJA is happy to support once again the Master in International Family Law, a programme by the University of Carlos III of Madrid (Spain). The course aims to provide expertise in all family law matters from an international perspective. 

The programme consists of nine modules: International marriage, International marriage crisis, Economic asset system, Sonship, International adoption, Child protection, International child abduction, Food, International sequence.

Classes are in Spanish and will begin on 22 February 2019. For more information, visit the dedicated website.


AIJA Insider: All about the real deal in M&A – Utrecht, 4-6 April

14 February 2019

From 4 to 6 April, Utrecht will host AIJA’s seminar on ‘The real deal in M&A: All about transactions involving real estate property’. To learn more, we asked our organising committee to share some highlights and tell us more about the topic of the seminar.

Q1: What should participants expect?

Sjoerd Mol (Partner, Benvalor): The seminar promises to offer a very interesting academic programme, with the latest on transaction structuring in M&A real estate deals, due diligence, tax in real estate deals and case studies from industries such as hospitality, retail and industrial. The sessions will be held in a historical place, an old cloister that dates to 1348 and now houses the five-star hotel Karel V.

The programme will kick off with a welcome reception on Thursday, 4 April in the St Michael’s chapel of the 112 meters high Dom Tower which used to be the private chapel of the bishop of Utrecht. Participants will be invited to climb all 464 stairs to the top!

Another highlight of the social programme will be the Friday night dinner and party afterwards. We are planning a four-course dinner including drinks, as well as a DJ and GT bar afterwards at The Court Hotel. Here we can party all night long, catch up with people we know and make new AIJA friends.

Saturday, 6 April (and the last day!) will offer participants a canal boat tour to enjoy Utrecht’s famous wharves and canal houses. The day will end with a dinner in an amazing restaurant located in an old water tower.

Q2: Real estate M&A will be the main topic of your discussions. In your view, what are the main challenges in this area?

Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): By nature, M&A transactions bring some challenges. One is to formulate clauses on warranty and potential guarantees in a correct manner. Careful consideration should be given especially to the characteristics that the purchased object must or must not have. Court decisions in this area are made case by case and are difficult to predict. In this case, we should also be looking at the conflicting interests of buyers and sellers.

Another challenge would be to manage the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements across different areas of public law, such as construction law, preservation orders, land use plans or land transfer law. These must be carefully considered, particularly in cases where the buyer wants to make structural changes to the property as they may act as deal breakers. Sometimes, even expert attorneys on real estate law might have to consult with their colleagues from the public law department.

To overcome these challenges, we must consider some do’s and don’ts of an acquisition in real estate:















Q3: Real estate seems to be on of the hottest sectors for M&A in the coming years. What are the main trends to follow?

Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): Investors, particularly European investors, are becoming more careful as a result of geopolitical tensions. They are seeking secure, long-term revenue. Brexit has left them quite insecure about the future.

At the same time, investments into areas which have previously been considered ‘alternative’ niches, such as co-living-Projects, student residences or data centres, have proven successful, whereas more ‘traditional’ segments such as offices are showing a certain decline.

Legal tech is already a reality, and it is disrupting the way real estate transactions are being processed. The potential applications are manifold and may greatly facilitate larger due diligences.

Register to find out more.

Early bird fees until 19 February. See you in Utrecht!


AIJA Insider: Berlin to host seminar on start-ups, smart cities, tech and work 4.0

25 January 2019

Smart mobility. IP issues for tech start-ups. Updates on the application of the GDPR. Data ownership and control. Workplace 4.0 and the future of work. Smart Up Berlin is shaping up to be a promising seminar, with a wide range of topics of interest to law practitioners as well as representatives from the start-up and smart city scene. One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, Berlin will be on this occasion the host of our discussions from 14-16 March.

Smart cities need smart laws

The academic programme will kick off on Friday, 15 March with some in-depth talks on smart mobility, particularly on the exchange and control of information and data between road users, vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure.

‘It is a very exciting time to be a lawyer working in this area. It really challenges us to think about the difference between what technology can enable and what, as a matter of privacy, it should permit’, says Sven Preiss, head of legal commercial, Scout24 Group.

‘Smart mobility changes the way that we, as lawyers, think about transportation in a number of ways. For instance, smart cars transform a product into a system that relies on the maintenance of software – and this requires a continued integration of software and hardware. In terms of public transportation, the use of smart cards and other techniques to gather data on the individual’s use of transport, as well as to aggregate data to use big data increases the importance of data and threatens to impinge on individuals’ privacy – forcing transportation and town planning to consider the GDPR and data ownership’, he adds.

These changes require lawyers to work collaboratively across different disciplines – transport, planning, technology, commercial, intellectual property (IP).

IP for start-ups

The second half of the day will be dedicated to IP and ‘Industry and Employment 4.0’.

One of the topics will address the most common IP issues for tech start-ups. Starting a business is a daunting task. Some grow and achieve great success, others fail. And sometimes failure comes right from the start, particularly when a business fails to protect one of their most valuable assets – their intellectual property.

‘There are some general rules to follow to avoid such failures. First, entering (mutual) NDAs before sharing the initial business idea and creating a paper trail of all presentations and meetings. Second, talking to the people in the company about who owns the IP and again, making sure to write this down. Thirdly, businesses should register their domain names and trademark early on’, says Sven Preiss.

Work 4.0. and Labour Law: new challenges and opportunities

Another highlight of the day will be the discussions on the future of the workplace.

Today, mobile labour has become the new normal. Home office models, co-working initiatives and mobile working technologies redefine the limits between work and personal life as the workplace becomes more and more digitalised. Thanks to modern technology employees can work anywhere and at any time. Co-working spaces are rising in popularity and often, individuals can carry most of their lives and work with them on their phones.

Opinions vary as to whether this is positive, especially in relation to the different employment and labour laws. ‘Employers and employees face huge challenges when it comes to compliance with mandatory labor law. They need to find the balance between compliance with maximum working hours, employees’ personal data protection as well as industrial and health safety provisions on the one hand and offering flexible and attractive working methods on the other hand’, says Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, attorney-at-law, KPMG Law.

‘Further to this, the new personnel structures raise questions regarding co-determination and the need to strengthen the role of the works councils. Mandatory laws have often come under serious attacks for not being timely’, she adds.

Finally, who owns the data?

On Saturday, 16 March, the day will move on to revealing the latest on the application of the GDPR and data ownership, access and control.

Compliance with the GDPR can still be challenging for some organisations. While small companies struggle with allocating the necessary resources, bigger companies have more resources and at the same time bigger amounts of data to process in a compliant manner. Consumers and employees are also becoming more aware of their rights and have started to regularly file access requests and complaints with the authorities.

‘Meanwhile, who owns the data remains a difficult legal concept in most countries. There is little law governing this. Data protection laws mainly serve to protect data subjects and not owners. Trade secret rules may provide some tools, but we should reflect on whether this is really enough’, concludes Silvia van Schaik, attorney at law, bureau Brandeis.

This is just a small sample of what participants can expect to learn during the seminar. Join us in Berlin to find out more! To register, click here.

Silvia, Sven and Sachka are part of the organising committee of the seminar and/or the Intellectual Property, Technology, Media and Telecommunications or Labour Law commission of AIJA. Meet them at the seminar from 14-16 March.


AIJA Insider: Third annual T.R.A.D.E. conference to focus on trade, distribution and e-commerce

24 January 2019

Set to take place from 11-13 April in Athens, the third annual T.R.A.D.E. conference will feature an extensive programme focused on the latest legal developments in trade, distribution and e-commerce. Sessions are expected to bring practical and diverse points of view, with key presentations and discussions by high-profile professionals from private practice and in-house.

The conference will kick off on Friday, 12 April with several sessions looking at the challenges and opportunities for brand owners, platforms and resellers in a digitalised world. The ruling in the Coty case and its impact on e-commerce and the future of selective distribution will be one of the highlights of the day. This is followed by discussions on dynamic and personalised pricing, geo-blocking and legal trade (EU Regulation 218/302). On Saturday, 13 April, sessions will focus on the impact of the GDPR on distribution and franchise networks, digital transformation leading to new forms of cooperation between brand owners and resellers, and finally, optimised general terms and conditions for cross-border e-commerce.

In addition to a rich academic programme, participants will be able to explore an ancient but vibrant metropolis, Athens. A city with many cultural and culinary highlights ready for discovery.

This is just a small sample of what participants can expect. We also asked the organising committee (OC) to share more about some of the topics covered by the conference in the context of international trade. Here are the top three insights from two members of the OC, Babak Tabeshian (partner, LFR Laukemann) and Brian van Egmond (attorney-at-law, Conway & Partners).

Q1: What are the main challenges and opportunities for brand owners, platforms and resellers in a digitalised world?

Babak Tabeshian: The growth of e-commerce in the last decade significantly increased price transparency and price competition. Alternative distribution models such as online marketplaces became very powerful and are considered as key players in the retail business. Under growing pressure of price transparency and price competition, brand owners are seeking to exert more control over their distribution networks and show more presence at the retail level.

These developments have a huge impact on the business of ‘traditional’ resellers. While selling online allows for easy, worldwide market access with low investment costs, the growing (intra-brand) competition with manufacturers at the retail level and the loss of market shares to marketplaces create new challenges.

Despite growing price competition, brand owners have a lot to gain from digital trade. E-commerce allows brand owners to reshape classical distribution networks, target consumers directly, collect data to offer best possible services to their consumers, and finally, use technologies to sell for best possible prices.

Navigating clients through these challenges requires high business and technological understanding as well as the adoption of legal strategies to adapt to a fast-changing legal environment.  

Q2: What are the potential impacts of dynamic pricing on distribution and franchise networks?

Brian van Egmond: With dynamic and personalised pricing being the latest pricing trends, we see that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more and more incorporated into trade processes. These pricing methods based on algorithms enable sellers to adjust prices automatically at any moment based on specific markers set by the retailer. Objectives for setting their markers vary from offering products at a lower price than the competition, to maintaining a certain minimum level of pricing for luxury products as well as influencing price perception. In cases of AI-based personalised pricing, a certain unit is sold to a consumer at another price than another consumer, depending on what the specific consumer is willing to pay. When used in the right manner, dynamic and personalised pricing may lead to increased revenues and growth for sellers.

These new pricing methods also bring us legal challenges as they impact distribution and franchise agreements. Especially when it comes to minimum prices and competition law. Besides this, contracts between franchisors and franchisees may need to be amended or re-drafted to incorporate a mechanism of dynamic pricing. In cases of personalised pricing, challenges regarding price discrimination can be expected. 

Q3: What does the new geo-blocking regulation mean for the future of e-commerce?

Brian van Egmond: The new geo-blocking regulation is a step in the right direction. It has the potential to open the e-commerce market even further by bringing down geographic barriers. Especially for services such as hotel accommodation, sports events, car rental, and entrance tickets for music festivals or leisure parks, the regulation provides more equality. Besides, there may be questions about the practical value of the regulation for these services. Buying tangible goods from other EU-countries may still be impractical in most common situations where a seller is not targeting markets of other EU-countries other than its own.  

For traders, this regulation will most likely result in challenges under franchise and distribution agreements, as the regulation directly impacts stipulations regarding territorial exclusivity. 

Legally, it would be interesting to look at consumer rights and see the developments there, e.g. the jurisdiction regarding consumer transactions under the Brussels I bis regulation. The future will also teach us a lot more about the enforcement of this regulation, particularly about what type of sanctions will be imposed on those violating this. Since the sanctions are left to the individual member states, a wide variety of sanctions may be the outcome of enforcement of this regulation. 

Join the conference to find out more! To register, click here.


AIJA appoints new Association Manager

23 January 2019

AIJA new Association Manager, Viktória Kéri, will officially start on 4 February, succeeding to Giuseppe Marletta, who moves into the role of Managing Director, Europe with ACC, Association of Corporate Counsel.

Viktória joined AIJA in October 2017 as Events Coordinator. Since then, she has been working with the different Commissions in the association to successfully organise more than 20 seminars.

‘I am thrilled to take on this new position and further support the growth of the association internationally. Together with the Bureau, Extended Bureau and the membership, we will ensure that AIJA remains a reputable network for knowledge sharing and professional networking for international lawyers aged 45 and under.’

Viktória brings an excellent track record of international event management, as well as significant external relations experience. She was previously Communication and Event Manager for seven years at GIRP, the European Healthcare Distribution Association. During this time, she has been leading on all their conferences, workshops, networking events and company visits. She also worked with the association and its members to implement a new corporate identity and communications strategy.

AIJA would like to thank Giuseppe for his dedication and efforts in the last six years. His professionalism and commitment have been a source of inspiration for the team and members. With this leadership change, the association hopes it gains a new partner in the future as Giuseppe will be leading the expansion of the ACC European presence across the continent. He can be contacted at this email.

To learn more about the AIJA team and membership, please go here.


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