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.
Lawyers positive towards the future, but are set to do more
06 December 2018
Lawyers seem to be positive towards the future, but cite resistance to innovation, rise of alternative providers of legal services and commoditisation as the biggest challenges to the future of their profession.
From September to October 2018, AIJA in collaboration with the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe surveyed lawyers between 25 and 45 years old across 48 countries. The purpose of the survey was to measure the evolution of lawyers’ perceptions towards the challenges affecting the future of the profession since a similar survey was undertaken in 2016.
These are the top biggest threats to the future of the legal profession, as nominated by the respondents of the survey.
1. Resistance to innovation
Close to 47% of lawyers have rated resistance to innovation the first biggest threat to the profession. The outlook for the future is nevertheless positive, as this marks a decrease of nearly 24% from two years ago.
2. The rise of alternative providers of legal services
86% of lawyers believe that law firms are likely to employ non-lawyers (e.g. project managers, legal technicians) to provide services to their clients in the future. This marks an increase of 10% from 2016.
Pressure to increase cost-effective competency and processes as well as leverage new technologies could be some of the drivers towards outsourcing many legal services to alternative providers. The complexity of services and tasks performed by lawyers will only continue to rise. Consequently, alternative providers of legal services will continue to rise as well, as more areas of specialisation may come forth.
3. Commoditisation of legal services
The commoditisation of legal services is rated the third biggest threat (30%). Not surprisingly, this is already challenging the law firms’ traditional business models. Law firms will need to keep on adapting their business to the commoditisation.
The latest survey findings also reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers seem to be doing more bespoke work (increase of 8%) and less routine tasks (decrease of 18.54%).
4. Privatisation of justice
The privatisation of justice is rated the fourth biggest challenge (23%). Lawyers foresee a growing trend on the “privatisation” of justice through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (“ADR”) like conciliation, mediation, and counselling. While ADR in some cases may help to provide a quicker access to justice to parties who otherwise may face overworked traditional courts, lawyers seem concerned about the guarantees, lack of transparency and overall quality provided by ADR.
5. Use of new technologies.
Compared to 2016 (28% vs 16% in 2018), lawyers seem to be less fearful of technology replacing them in the future (decrease of 43%). While this marks a more positive attitude towards technology, lawyers are yet lagging in the adoption of new technologies in their law firms.
Tech adoption in law firms (2018 results):
To overcome the challenges to the future of the legal profession, law firms are taking some measures. 42% of respondents are confident that their law firms are taking the necessary steps to introduce new tools or ways of working: from developing marketing or AI tools, using cloud and online databases, automatisation, to legal project management, developing internal knowledge and establishing multi-disciplinary partnerships.
Prepare for the future.
Business acumen (customer-centric approach), solid digital proficiency, good management skills and openness towards innovation are mentioned as essential skills for the legal profession. With the rise of new technologies, being simply a knowledgeable lawyer is no longer enough. However, only 3% agree that the training of lawyers is sufficiently adapting to the changing landscape of the legal market. More legal training seems required to adapt accordingly and ensure that lawyers remain indispensable in the era of AI technology.
Skills for lawyers in the future (2018 results):
'Human beings have a natural tendency to resist change. Lawyers are no different. The decision to evolve and adapt to an increasingly changing legal landscape is simply good business and lawyers should seek to ensure a sustainable business model for their law firms in the long term', says Xavier Costa, AIJA President.
‘The rapid changes in technology represent an opportunity for lawyers and their business. We should embrace these advances and make good use of new technologies to provide better services to the society and our clients. Quicker, more transparent and efficient legal services will result in increased trust from clients and, thus, in more business for lawyers.
'Lawyers must work closely with the industries leading the digital revolution to ensure that the legal principles that had guaranteed decades of stability, peace and economic growth remain adequately implemented in a digital world’, he concludes.
The findings of the survey were presented by AIJA at the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE) conference ‘Artificial Intelligence and Human Justice’ held on 30 November, in Lille; as well as at the LEGAL ®EVOLUTION Expo & Congress held on 4 December in Frankfurt.
To view the full results, please download this summary.
General terms and conditions: when are they effective in contracts concluded by email?
23 May 2018
by Alessandro Paci, LS LexJus Sinacta, Bologna, Italy
Under Italian law, general conditions prepared by one of the parties are effective as to the other, if at the time of formation of the contract the latter knew of them or should have known of them by using ordinary diligence. Businesses usually conclude agreements by exchange of emails and in the purchase order or the order confirmation each party refers to its general conditions of sale or purchase. Under Italian law when are such standard conditions effectively known by the other party?
Recently, the Italian Supreme Court, in decision no. 21622 of 19 September 2017, offered an interesting point of view on this matter.
An Italian company brought an action against a German company before the Tribunal of Milan seeking damages as a result of failure to comply with an agreement concluded between the parties by email. The German defendant contended that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction and that the Tribunal of Berlin had jurisdiction under a jurisdiction clause included in its general conditions of contract. These conditions were expressly referred to in the order issued by the Italian company and were available on a website indicated in the order. The Italian company claimed, among other things, that the jurisdiction clause was invalid since the parties did not agree on it and it did not comply with the requirements provided in the Regulation CE no. 44/2001 (now replaced by Regulation (UE) no. 1215/2012) on jurisdiction in civil matters.
The Italian Supreme Court stated that the jurisdiction clause was valid pursuant to Regulation no. 44/2001 as it constituted a communication by electronic means which provides a durable record of the jurisdiction agreement. The decision by the Italian Supreme Court confirmed what was stated by the European Court of Justice in a recent judgement (Judgment of 21 May 2015 – C-322/14). The Court stated that a jurisdiction agreement included in general terms and conditions accepted by “click-wrapping”, constituted a communication by electronic means which provide a durable record of the agreement where that method makes it possible to print and save the text of those terms and conditions before the conclusion of the contract.
The Italian Supreme Court also pointed out that the general conditions, in which the jurisdiction agreement was included, were also accepted because the purchase order referred to them, and as a result became an integral part of the agreement. According to the Italian Supreme Court, knowledgeability was not precluded by the fact that the company’s website indicated in the purchase order was not a hyperlink, but the buyer had to copy and paste it.
The Court ruled that the exclusive jurisdiction clause was valid and therefore the Italian Courts lacked jurisdiction.
The decision is relevant because it confirmed the Court of Justice case-law on the prorogation of jurisdiction. More interestingly, it poses new questions on when general conditions are deemed knowledgeable under Italian law. According to the Italian Supreme Court, this requirement is fulfilled when they are available on the seller’s website, and the website is indicated in the purchase order issued by the buyer by email.
As a result, to make sure that a commercial partner may know the terms and conditions, a company should include a copy of them on the company’s website so that they are easily accessible, and always refer to them in the purchase order or the order confirmation.
New provision for international authority
23 May 2018
By Hendrikje Herrmann, Ahlers & Vogel, Germany
The validity and effect of an authority are not subject to the law of the contract concluded by the authorised person but to be determined autonomously in case a dispute arises out of a transaction in which an agent was involved. This generally results in uncertainties for those who conclude contracts with an authorised person e.g. a commercial agent and respectively those who authorise an agent to conclude contracts. The autonomous determination of the authority thus constitutes a risk for the international trade. Therefore, the German legislator found it necessary to codify the existing case law and principles as established by the scholars in terms of the law applicable to international authorities.
On 17th June 2017 the “Statute for the Amendment of Provisions in the Field of International Private Law und Civil Procedure” has come into force in Germany. By way of this statute i.a. a new Art. 8 was added to the Introductory Act to the Civil Code (IACC). This Article determines for the first time which law applies to an authority when the agent acts abroad on behalf of the person granting the authorisation.
In summary, the authority is to be determined – subject to a choice of law – in accordance with the law of the state in which the agent or the principal has his regular place of residence or usually makes use of the authority. The new provision of Art. 8 IACC thus establishes clear rules for the determination of the law applicable to an international authority and enables the parties to consider the scope of the authority. Nevertheless, for parties involved in international trade it is in the interest of legal certainty still favourable if principals choose a law that shall be applicable to the authority and inform the agent as well as the third party of this choice.
The provision of Art. 8 IACC can be summarised as follows:
Choice of law
As per Art. 8 para. 1 IACC the principal’s choice of law has priority provided that this choice of law was known to the agent as well as to the third party. However, the parties are free to choose a law that is applicable to the authority by way of a tripartite agreement. Such a tripartite agreement can be concluded at any time and without observing any form requirements. A general choice of law clause in a contract (f.e. the one concluded between the agent and the third party) will not automatically determine the law applicable to the authority. The law applicable to the authority is to be determined autonomously. An explicit choice of the law applicable to the international authority is thus desirable.
1. In the absence of a choice of law
In case such a choice of law is missing and the agent is acting as an entrepreneur Art. 8 para. 2 IACC provides that the law of the state in which the agent has his regular place of residence shall be applicable. For example, A is permanently located in Germany and was authorised by the Dutch company B to distribute B’s products as their commercial agent. As per Art. 8 para. 2 IACC German law would be applicable to the authority.
If the agent is an employee of the principal, Art. 8 para. 3 IACC provides that the law of the principal’s regular seat is applicable. Thus, assuming that the employee of a Dutch company purchases office supplies for and on behalf of his employer in a German store, Dutch law will be applicable to the employee’s authority.
The determination of the applicable law as per Art. 8 para. 1-3 IACC always requires that the third party towards whom the authority is exercised is aware of the choice of law or the regular place of residence.
3. Art. 8 para. 4 IACC
Provided the authority was granted for a long-term period and there does not exist a choice of law and the agent neither acted as an entrepreneur nor as an employee of the principal (thus as a private person), the law of the state in which the agent usually makes use of the authority is applicable. This also requires that the third party is aware of the place of regular use of the authority.
Art. 8 para. 5 IACC contains a “fall-back” regulation for cases in which the applicable law cannot be determined according to Art. 8 paras. 1-4 IACC. In this case the provisions of the state in which the agent makes use of the authorisation shall be applicable. If the third party and the agent were aware of a limitation of the authority according to which the authority was only to be used in a specific state then the law of this state is applicable. Should the place of use of the authority be unknown to the third party, the statutory provisions of the state in which the principal has his regular place of residence shall be applied.
However, this new provision solely determines the law applicable to the agent’s authority in the relation to third parties and has no effect on the internal relationship (usually mandate) between the principal and the agent or the law applicable to the transaction concluded by the agent. The provisions stipulated in Art. 8 IACC are limited to the authority granted by legal transactions and have thus no effect on authorities granted by statute.
The German legislator codified in the new provision of Art. 8 IACC which law applies to an international authority. If there is no choice of law the authority is to be determined in accordance with the law of the state in which the agent or the principal has his regular place of residence/seat or usually makes use of the authority.
The new provision of Art. 8 IACC thus provides legal certainty for parties contracting with an authorised person. Nevertheless, for parties involved in international trade it is still favourable if principals choose a law that shall be applicable to the authority and inform the agent as well as the third party of this choice.
Redesigning distribution by terminating distributor agreements: Can dealers claim delivery anyway?
23 May 2018
By Dr. Benedikt Rohrβen, Salary Partner, Taylor Wessing, Munich
In principle, manufacturers can freely design and develop their distribution system according to their marketing strategy and any changing needs. Likewise, they are in principle free to choose the number and name of their sales intermediaries (distributors/dealers, franchisees, agents, etc.). They are in principle also free to switch to selective distribution, with the aim of aligning the distribution of their products with certain criteria (in particular: regarding the quality of distribution), thus possibly also reducing the number of distributors. However, as an exception, distributors may force the manufacturer to supply them anyway – namely if the manufacturer has a significant market power. In such a case, an obligation to contract with a distributor, resulting in an obligation to deliver may follow from the prohibition of discrimination (laid down in sec. 19 para. 1, 2 no. 1, 20 German Act against Restraints of Competition).
This issue becomes especially practically relevant if a manufacturer redesigns its distribution network – just like a well-known German manufacturer of high quality branded cases does now. The manufacturer switched to selective distribution in 2011/2012 (for the advantages of selective distribution and possible restrictions of distribution, see the article here). To redesign its distribution network, the manufacturer terminated the former distributor agreements and offered to conclude new ones – according to which the distributors newly committed themselves to present the goods in a certain way and buy and use the manufacturer’s shop-in-shop system. According to the manufacturer, the appearance of a former distributor did not correspond to the new business concept and the new marketing strategy, which is why the parties could not agree on concluding a new agreement. Thereupon, the distributor filed an action, aiming at the conclusion of a new dealer contract and thus delivery of his shops.
The District Court of Munich denied the claim (decision of 09.09.2014, ref. no. 1 HKO 7249/13), the Higher Regional Court of Munich, however, affirmed such claim (decision of 17.09.2015, ref. no. U 3886/14 Kart) – arguing that the manufacturer had a leading position in the relevant "market for high-priced and high-quality suitcases" or, conversely, that the distributor had a dependency if and because the manufacturer’s suitcases could not be replaced by equivalent others. Such dependency would in particular be indicated through a high distribution rate (i.e. the manufacturer supplied a large number of comparable distributors) as well as the unique design and the associated high recognition value. Now, the Federal Court of Justice overturned the judgment and remanded for a new trial (decision of 12.12.2017, ref. no. KZR 50/15). Reason: the distributor’s assortment-related dependency (“Spitzenstellungsabhängigkeit” as special case of “Sortimentsbedingte Abhängigkeit”) on the the manufacturer was not sufficiently proven. Although a high distribution rate was regularly decisive, it might be less meaningful in qualitative selective distribution systems as the present one. Decisive for redesigning distribution systems:
"If a supplier chooses to switch to a qualitative selective distribution system at a certain point in time, an assortment-related dependency is regularly indicated by a high distribution rate in the period before." (Para. 19)
The manufacturer can especially bring forward two arguments against such alleged assortment-related dependency, namely that
(i) the number of distributors the manufacturer himself supplied with his products is much lower than the total number of distributors that offered his products (i.e. including those buying the products from other sources), and that
(ii) the distribution rate is to be determined on the basis of those distributors who are comparable to the distributor demanding access to the distribution system and delivery (para. 27) – as the German Federal Court previously stated in terms of designer upholstery (decision of 09.05.2000, ref. no. KZR 28/98, p. 12 et seq.).
1. “There is nothing more constant than change”: When redesigning the distribution system, carefully consider if you want / need transitional arrangements – or better leave them out. One very good reason to leave them out: they might make it more difficult to exclude unwanted distributors. Thus, in the above-mentioned case, the Higher Regional Court Munich rejected the manufacturer’s objection that the distributor’s business model "aimed at bargain hunters" – arguing that the manufacturer gave other distributors time of "12 months after conclusion of the agreement" to fulfil the new qualitative criteria.
2. For qualitative criteria (also: requirements / specifications) in Internet sales, please see the other articles on Legalmondo, especially on platform bans and price comparison bans.
And The AIJA 2018 Annual Congress Host City Is…?
30 November 2017
With memories of the Tokyo Annual Congress still as fresh as sushi, our thoughts now turn to the host city for the 2018 Congress. And here’s a culinary clue: this time it has more of a ‘Moules et Frites’ flavour. That’s right, it’s Brussels, in Belgium.
Given its central location at the heart of both Europe and the EU seats of power, Brussels is also where AIJA is headquartered.
“The International Young Lawyers’ Congress will reflect the spirit of Brussels”, explains Marie Brasseur, Vice President AIJA Corporate and M&A Commission. “Brussels inhabitants are easy-going people who like to meet with friends and enjoy a good meal. Without changing the fundamentals of an AIJA Congress, our goal is to render the scientific program more attractive for all participants during the whole Congress and to have as much time as possible for participants to interact during the social events.”
Attendees will experience life in the very centre of Brussels with plenty of time to interact with peers in a whole series of settings, including working sessions, the café culture, in the Grand-Place, or one of the city’s many famous public parks.
While the 2018 Congress sees AIJA coming home, the focus of the programme will remain very global in outlook. In fact, the topic of ‘globalisation’ will run throughout the seminar programme.
Given the recent rise of populist, anti-establishment politics in various countries, the entire structure of free trade, free movement and globalisation is being called into question. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law appear to be under threat in many places around the world.
With all these topics in mind, the AIJA Annual Congress 2018 will seek to develop a scientific programme that examines these emerging trends and discusses where we are heading: is it towards greater integration, international co-operation and cross border trade, or in the opposite direction?
“These topics are of crucial importance to young, career building lawyers from around the world”, says Brasseur. “We think that Brussels, as the de facto capital of the EU and a truly international city, is the perfect place to address them.”
The attendees of the Brussels Congress will therefore “have a great opportunity to learn and discuss the challenges we may face in our professional lives in the coming years”, says Grégoire Ryelandt, member of the AIJA Antitrust Commission. “The focus will be on cutting edge international legal developments, with great networking opportunities.”
Keep up to date at http://brussels.aija.org.
Career Barriers for Women Highlighted in Tokyo
27 October 2017
For many who attended the Tokyo conference, the prestigious Voice of the Profession session on Women in Law & Innovation was a stand-out event.
The impact of innovation on the future of the legal profession and gender equality in leadership positions is a topic of crucial importance to young lawyers who are building careers and families simultaneously. With many firms experiencing intake rates of 50% women or more, limiting their career advancement would cause a distinct competitive disadvantage.
The keynote speaker Tsukiko Tsukahara, vice-president of Catalyst Japan, a leading global non-profit organisation accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion, covered everything from how the gender landscape differs in the US versus Japanese Law firms to how inclusion predicts rates of innovation (clue: there is a strong link). She also provided her top takeaways for audience members to advance their career, including “be an inclusive leader, challenge stereotypes in yourself and others”, and “make this everyone’s problem to solve.” Additionally, Tsukiko pointed out that “gender diversity is not only women’s issue but an issue for creating innovation.” Regarding how inclusive leadership behaviours could result in innovation, she believes “inclusive leadership behaviours realize psychological safety in people’s minds that enable people, team, citizenship and individual innovation. Everyone, not only the people at the very top of the organisation, can role model as an inclusive leader, yet you can start with EACH behavior to influence people and create an inclusive workplace.”
In the following interactive debate that was moderated by Orsolya Görgényi, Immediate Past President of AIJA, Partner at Szecskay in Budapest, some strong views exchanged regarding gender inequality. Sara Sandford, Immediate Past Chair of International Law and Owner Garvey Schubert Barer, US, commented on her previous experiences of working in Japan: “When I first worked in Japan, I definitely experienced different treatment than men. In fact, I was told they wanted to hire me but needed to get permission from others to hire a woman, because they had recently hired two other women and maybe the partners didn’t want so many women.”
While being clear that women are no more or less innovative than men, “I absolutely believe that adding diversity increases the quality of what we do because more people with varied perspectives bring varied ideas”, said Sara. “Also, diversity of our firm’s lawyers and staff allows our firm to relate to different clients, bringing greater understanding of a clients’ goals and objectives.” During the debate Hilarie Bass, President of the American Bar Association, Partner of Greenberg Traurig in Miami spoke on the unconscious bias and the ABA's initiatives in gender issues.
The second keynote speaker of the night, Dana Denis-Smith, added: "in the US and the UK, countries with a longer history of women being allowed to practise law, the challenge is one of leadership... Leading by example and getting women involved with the regulators, in the international debate and generally with policy making is important in order to shape the future landscape of the profession.”
Taking inspiration from the surroundings, Dana believed that maintaining equality and diversity is akin to tending a formal Japanese garden: “equality can easily fall out of shape at the drop of a stone. So we must continue to pursue equality but recognising its fragility."
AIJA Supports Syrian Lawyers with English Courses
27 October 2017
For the past two years, AIJA has proudly sponsored English classes for Syrian refugees from the legal profession. The classes in Turkey are organised by ILAC, an association co-founded also by AIJA, aiming to empower lawyers, judges other legal professionals who had to flee their country because of the war.
“After the circumstances that took place in Syria, many lawyers and judges left Syria because of many tough reasons”, explains Mazin Al-Balkhi, ILAC Syria Team Leader. “The idea was to start an English language course that to help many Syrian lawyers and judges to cope with the difficult circumstances, find new jobs in their fields, and ultimately contribute to rebuilding the legal system in Syria.”
The location of the school - Gaziantep in Turkey – was chosen because of its high concentration of lawyers and judges. The participants were nominated by ILAC according to their legal qualifications in the field and a recruitment process for teaching which saw Ammar Abu Hemeda successfully apply.
“The results are good and we have achieved positive progress”, informs Abu Hemeda.“The number of students is increasing and we have had strong numbers until now. The goal is to reach an intermediate level by September 2017 so that we can begin with a new more advanced level providing advanced grammar and texts to achieve the mission of the program successfully.”
The participants, aged between 20 and 49, and a mix of both men and women, are all lawyers, judges and legal activists. The course is divided into two main parts: general and academic English, and legal texts.
“The course helps the participants in improving their jobs and communicating and reading legal texts in English as much as they can”, says Abu Hemeda.“The course also helps them in keeping them up to date with the latest news in English language. The participants are keen to learn English in order to read more about European law hoping that they can participate in hammering out new laws in the future.”
Amongst the many inspirational stories, the most remarkable one is Mr. Al Hassan’s story, says Al-Balkhi. “Mr. Nasser Al Hassan is a judge from Homs, Syria, and he is 49 years old. He attended the classes regularly and showed great commitment to learn the language, although he has not dealt with it for 25 years! Amazingly he coped with the difficulties and achieved great success. He got a new and appropriate job in the legal field”. He made it, he says, thanks to AIJA.
Girona is open for registrations
19 September 2017
Have you heard that the Girona November Conference is now open for registrations? Make sure you register soon to take advantage of early rates!
It promises to be another AIJA great event.
A big party for AIJA!
26 July 2017
AIJA is still recovering from its 55th birthday party in Amsterdam! The sold-out event saw attendees enjoy insightful presentations, meet up with old friends, and enjoy a gala dinner and a cocktail party (with an unexpected musical finale). An alumni event was also launched for members to maintain their network after turning 45.
“The combination of old friends and new faces is so typical for AIJA events”, explains Martine Hoogendoorn, member of the party organising committee. “It was the perfect occasion to launch the alumni programme”.
The presentations to kick off the event focussed on digital transformation in the profession. “The main takeaway was that intelligent software might be an infant industry but it is growing at a fast pace and can also conquer the legal market”, informs Hoogendoorn. “This forces us to rethink tasks we can and must do as lawyers. Legal tech companies are reshaping the market, whether this is by simplifying contract drafting, submitting a claim, predicting the possible outcome of a matter with an algorithm or providing clients with an overview of the lawyer’s fee.”
“The main question on everyone’s mind was: what is the risk of being replaced by intelligent software or a machine?”, adds Rachid Aoladsi, also of the organising committee. “The best answer - in my opinion - was given by one of our speakers, Sonia Gumpert Melgosa, AIJA Alumni and current Dean of the Bar of Madrid, who quoted one of the founders of a large Spanish law firm: while we are discussing the ethics of cloning, they are cloning as we speak… we should try to keep up by constantly re-evaluating our profession.”
The interactive sessions received glowing feedback from the attendees, with speakers able to provide up-to-date insights around the impact of digital transformation on law firms, including the opportunities as well as the risks.
But this was, after all, a birthday party - and AIJA only celebrates this every five years. So the cocktail party and gala dinner proved memorable for all those there. “The atmosphere started out bubbly, the sun came out and spending time and chatting on the terrace at the Vondelpark was already pretty special”, says Hoogendoorn. “A surprise brass band really added both the element of fun and it became apparent that all were in a festive mood.” The dinner even culminated in a Village People tribute act, performed by long-standing members of AIJA. It was one of the highlights of the celebrations which ran well into the early hours.
Letter to the Polish President
20 July 2017
On behalf of AIJA – International Young Lawyers Association – I would like to express our great concern with recent legislative changes of the judicial system in Poland, passed by the Polish Parliament on July 12, 2017, i.e. the act on the National Council of the Judiciary and the act on Organization of Common Courts. This concern also extends to the legislative plans concerning composition of the Polish Supreme Court.
Independent judicial system is a foundation of rule of law. Only independent courts may provide effective protection to basic human
rights, including right to fair trial. The system, which apparently has been created by recent legislative changes, and those only contemplated, in which the legislative (parliament) and executive power (Ministry of Justice) shall have direct influence over appointment of judges, is a denial of independence. In fact, the system so created will be entirely depended from the executive power. If these laws enter into force, it means that individuals in Poland will no longer have access to independent courts within the meaning of Article 6.1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which reads:
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public
hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
AIJA, as a global organization gathering young lowers from all over the world, is committed to defend and take active part in promoting core legal principles, such as the rule of law and human rights. In this capacity, we urge the President of Republic of Poland, to use all powers vested to you by Polish Constitution, including the veto right, to provide effective protection of basic human rights in Poland and prevent entry into force of the legislative changes which will deny the protection of human rights.
David Frølich, President of AIJA
Scholar’s Takeaways from AIJA’s Double Seminar in Lausanne
11 May 2017
The newly established Public Law Commission recently held its very first AIJA seminar together with the Sports Law Commission, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Covering governance of world sports, including world championships and Olympic Games, and the elections held within sports federations, sports lawyers have an increasingly complex task to offer legal protection for all stakeholders involved.
Attending the recent seminar in Lausanne was Sabina Markič, Associate at Lidija Kobe law office and PhD student at University of Ljubljana, who won an AIJA scholarship covering all her registration, travel and accommodation expenses.
The AIJA Scholarship Programme, “enables young lawyers to attend AIJA’s events or events co-organized by AIJA”, explains Markič. “I applied for the AIJA Double Seminar titled Olympic Games, Corruption and Sport Arbitration & Government contracts - Public Procurement Law and Contract Law. My scholarship included free participation at the seminar, free accommodation and all travel costs.”
She found it to be, “a really fantastic and unforgettable opportunity to learn from experienced experts in this particular area. The lectures, which were at a very high level, were extremely instructive and interesting and have contributed a lot to my doctoral research.”
As a domicile of the IOC and CAS, Lausanne is the heart of sports law, and was a fitting place for the seminar to be held. Aside from the formal programme, Markič also enjoyed the peer-to-peer networking. “I was surrounded by very friendly people who were happy to share their knowledge and experiences with colleagues”, she said. “I met colleagues from different countries engaged with sports law. This is the field of law that I am extremely interested in. To a doctoral student and young lawyer at the beginning of a career, such as myself, having the opportunity to exchange views on certain issues with colleagues from other countries means a lot”.
Following her experiences on the scholarship, she now recommends AIJA to all her peers: “From my point of view it is very important for young lawyers to get acquainted with colleagues experiences not only in the domestic environment but also internationally - this is a great organisation, which really opens up opportunities to young lawyers and students for networking and gaining additional knowledge at the international level.”
Markič found out about the scholarship via the AIJA website, and chose to apply. She encourages others to do the same. “If you have a desire for international networking and participation in very interesting seminars, do not hesitate and apply”, she says.
If you are interested in finding out more about AIJA Scholarships, click HERE
Artificial Intelligence: One Overarching Theme for AIJA’s Tokyo Congress 2017
21 March 2017
Artificial Intelligence: One Overarching Theme for AIJA’s Tokyo Congress 2017
So, how will the single theme format for this year’s annual Congress work exactly? How will the programme differ from previous years? Work Coordinators responsible for arranging the Tokyo Congress, Alex Fox, Stefanie Tack, and Takahiko Itoh, are happy to bring us up to speed: “Day 1 will be focused very much on creating the foundations of knowledge with regard to AI, including top industry speakers and interactive sessions. Day 2 will focus more on commercial/M&A issues and Day 3 on contentious matters. Throughout Days 2 and 3, there will also be specialised sessions on your dedicated legal disciplines and how AI can best interact. Therefore, if you want to understand how e-money works, why robots are environmentally well disposed off or how technology is going to impact at the point of death, etc., there will be something for all of you.”
As this is the first AIJA Congress that will have an over-arching theme running through out all the sessions, incorporating AI into the overall program has been a challenge for the conference organisers, but one that has been embraced by all. “As with all changes, it has taken sometime to communicate the changes and implement them in a structured manner,” said Stefanie Tack of the organising committee. “It is very interesting that some representatives have been demanding ‘where are the rules?’ While others have come up with more elaborate ideas to present as the August Congress approaches. All these ideas have been incorporated as far as is practicable.”
The single theme format is not the only change to the Congress this year. The keynote external industry speakers will also be much more involved and the workshop formula is set to establish an interactive “community” to this Congress from the start.
“As we come towards Tokyo, prepare for the unexpected,” advises Alex Fox. “We are here to learn techniques and concepts that will be unfamiliar to you, but ones on which you will be able to apply both within your law firm, but also with your clients as their business grows alongside and with the benefit of AI. Tokyo is the place for technology and AIJA is the place to find out more with regard to working with AI.”
If you are not already part of the Tokyo Congress Whatsapp Group (mobile number +447779232234), please ask and you will be put on to the community which is already discussing AI developments and how this may be articulated at the Congress and beyond. Interesting articles are periodically posted, as are discussions and questions. Get involved, and get prepared for the most technological advanced Congress to date! Visit http://tokyo.aija.org/.
Surveying the Impact of AI on Today’s Young Lawyers
21 March 2017
Surveying the Impact of AI on Today’s Young Lawyers
Are you afraid of robots taking your job? With the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) providing the central theme for this year’s Annual Congress in Tokyo, AIJA thought it would conduct a survey to ask what the main AI concerns – and perceived opportunities – are amongst members.
Aurélie Conrad Hari, President of the AIJA Litigation Commission and Partner at Bär & Karrer Ltd, who led the survey together with Eleni Polycarpou, Special Counsel and Co-Head of Arbitration at Withers LLP, explained: “When AI was given as the topic for the Tokyo congress, all the commissions were very enthusiastic because AI is such a hot topic at the moment across the board in various industries. And yet, whilst being aware of the existence of AI, most lawyers probably still think they will not be so easily replaceable by robots. But the world is changing and lawyers, like everyone else, are surrounded by expanding volumes of data.”
Having a single theme running through all subject areas and commissions at the AIJA Congress has never been done before. However, when the scientific programme for Tokyo was being put together, it quickly became clear that a common theme was emerging, said Hari, including: “The liability for the robots or self-driven cars, e-disclosure, AI assistance in sorting out documents or information.” So we wanted to start to raise awareness of AI among the legal community and find out what was happening on the ground, and what members wanted to know more about. This was the purpose of the survey.”
In-keeping with the interactive approach taken by the Congress organisers, the AIJA survey reached out to members and find out more about AI in their various jurisdictions and practice specialisms. The answers will then be used to feed into each of the practice areas at the Congress. The initial findings, informed Eleni Polycarpou, who will present the results of the survey at the Congress, show that, “some firms are much more advanced in their use of AI than anticipated, and have formed special groups which are currently piloting fascinating AI technologies such as ROSS and other AI machine learning technologies such as Neota Logic and RAVN. We look forward to hearing from the lawyers at those firms at the Tokyo Congress about the practical experience in this new world.”
Be part of AIJA’s upcoming Tokyo Congress 2017 and learn more about how AI is impacting the legal environment. Visit http://tokyo.aija.org/.
AIJA attracts new in-house counsel members
13 December 2016
AIJA members are lawyers who work for law firms, right? Not necessarily. In fact, we have plenty of members who work as in-house counsels too. And rubbing shoulders together under one membership association brings great benefits to both parties.
The Corporate Counsel Commission of AIJA was specifically created as the place for in-house counsels to meet. Vice-President at AIJA Corporate Counsel Commission, Atty. Elina Girne, explains “Our commission is a safe passage for in-house counsels to get to know AIJA, to understand it and get involved. Their input in AIJA supports diversity of opinions and approaches in interpreting the legal world.”
AIJA are keen to attract more in-house counsels to the Association. External lawyers who choose to go in-house may not realise that AIJA remains highly relevant to their career path, and all Corporate Counsel Commission officers are keen to change those perceptions.
“At the moment, Corporate Counsel Commission is collecting information from AIJA members on those people who used to be members of the association but have decreased their involvement or ceased it completely when they went in-house. Investigation on their motives to leave AIJA and likewise potentially triggering aspects for them to re-join is our most important task now,” says Girne.
“We plan to work on potential motivators for in-house lawyers to find scientifically interesting and also practically applicable knowledge from AIJA events. In-house counsels have admitted that networking may be not the most important reason why they would choose to come to an AIJA event. The stress is more on scientific topics and skills development. In-house counsels seek tips and tricks on how to run management of a legal team, coordinate work, and assess risks. These aspects would be definitely also useful for external lawyers, and joint trainings of in-house and external lawyers therefore could be a win/win approach.”
The Corporate Counsel Commission is “investing all our energy” in creating platforms that offer the best of both worlds.
To become an individual member of AIJA, a lawyer must be under the age of 45 and enrolled on the official register of fully qualified lawyers (or to belong to a similar official institution in countries where there is no official lawyers’ register) or to hold the university diploma in law required for accession to a bar and act as a corporate counsel. Member benefits of interest to in-house counsels include access to the member directory of AIJA, a useful tool to find legal assistance all over the world; access to 20 AIJA commissions, where initiatives and projects can include writing national reports and being a speaker/panellist on scientific sessions; access to scientific content available on AIJA website; and use of its business referral dashboard.
AIJA’s Corporate Counsel Commission is confident that the more in-house counsels there are, the better they can provide even more diverse platforms for legal discussion and development.
AIJA Multi-track Seminar in Lille
13 December 2016
The first ever triple seminar organised by AIJA was held in Lille in October, offering three high quality scientific programs.
Three separate legal programs covered the seminar on Flex Work, International Litigation and Assets Transactions. The Employment Commission seminar covered global variations on traditional employment relationship models, including the Uber shared economy and flexible work in the gig economy. The Litigation and Commercial Fraud seminar focussed on the key issues that international litigators face today such as cross-border disputes, including key note speakers from the English Commercial Court, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, 3 Verulam Buildings and Grant Thornton. And the third seminar, run by The M&A Academy, explored the complex issue of Asset Sale Transactions, not only on corporate-legal aspects, but also related aspects such as employment, real estate, IP and tax.
Only 80 minutes from London, 1 hour from Paris and 35 minutes from Brussels, Lille proved the perfect setting to host such a mixed program with broad appeal. As well as tackling the complex legal issues thrown up by the program, the event included practical tips from seasoned litigators and a forum for everyone attending to hold lively and interactive discussions.
According to Caroline Barbe, of the AIJA Event Organising Committee, the innovative three-pronged format went down well with delegates: “We received excellent feedback on the topics and the format itself, which allows for more networking and creates opportunities to see old friends and make new friends from the other commissions.”
Each seminar had around 50 participants, which allowed nearly 150 people to connect and network during the breaks and social program.
“The most appreciated part of the seminars were the moments of experience-sharing and debates among members,” said Caroline Barbe. “The size of the groups, the very good attendance (even on Saturday morning!) as well as the topics themselves, allowed people to discuss and exchange views on the best practices and innovation.”
The social side was well organised too. Participants were welcomed in the Courthouse on Thursday night with a cocktail reception. Friday night saw a dinner in a unique restaurant located in one of the castellated turrets of the city wall, followed by drinks and dancing. And after the final seminars had finished at noon on Saturday, the afternoon involved a scavenger hunt with beer tasting in the city. “The weather was absolutely great and we learned a lot about brewery and the history of the city of Lille,” enthused Mrs Barbe. “We had excellent feedback – even from people who did not drink beer!”
AIJA goes to Tokyo for the 55th International Young Lawyer’s Congress 2017
24 October 2016
The host city for the 2017 International Young Lawyers’ Congress could hardly be more exciting: Tokyo. It is arguably the most advanced and enticing city in the world, with an effortless blend of ancient culture and high modernity.
Kenji Hirooka, Chair of the Organising Committee, can barely wait for August 28th, when the 55th International Congress opens. “We are sure that the International Young Lawyers’ Congress in Tokyo, the first AIJA Congress in Eastern Asia region in its 55 years’ history, will be an unforgettable experience for lawyers to get new insights, new connections and wonderful memories of Japan’s vibrant culture, impeccable hospitality, and traditions,” he says. “At the Congress, delegates will meet many Japanese attorneys and attorneys from Asian countries, in-house counsels and business leaders, and have the opportunity to learn directly about the challenges and opportunities of doing business and law in Japan and across Asia, which is the engine room of global growth.”
Given that Tokyo is one of the world’s most dynamic technological centres, theCongress will also have a special focus on AI (Artificial Intelligence), a technology which is “rapidly changing the business and legal landscape in which young lawyers work, impacting legal professions whatever practice areas they are in,” explains Hirooka.
AI is no longer simply science fiction. It is increasingly entering the universe of clients and their law firms of choice. AIJA Tokyo 2017 will, over five days of entertaining and engaging seminars and networking opportunities, enhance your understanding of this shifting environment - how you, as lawyers, can understand and embrace the emergence of AI, and the rapidly changing technology market.
The Congress venue - Hilton Tokyo - is located in Shinjuku, the heart of Tokyo’s business, shopping and entertainment district, and is an ideal place to experience modern Japan, and has a good connection to major parts of the city of Tokyo. A complimentary shuttle also operates between the hotel and Shinjuku station and the Tokyo Metro subway is connected to the hotel. The Congress promises to be one of the most exciting – and adventurous – to date. Delegates will also have the chance to attend optional programs to learn Japanese cultures outside the Congress.
“Please let our AIJA Japanese members be your guide to Japan.” - Kenji Hirooka
Another AIJA story, François Barre - the new National Representative of France for AIJA
24 October 2016
His compatriot Edith Piaf may have famously sang “Je ne regrette rien”, but François Barre, the new AIJA National Representative of France, does have one regret, he says: “It’s not joining AIJA earlier in my career.”
“AIJA is a long-term gold mine,” he enthuses. “When I attended my first conference in Barcelona, it was very impressive. Everybody seemed to know everyone, talking on a first name basis, laughing and hugging. When I asked some of them ‘how long have you been here’ and they answered ‘I started a couple of years ago’, it blew me away! I couldn’t believe you could connect so quickly and easily with other lawyers. AIJA makes it easy.”
Barre was appointed along with other incoming National Representatives at this year’s AIJA General Assembly (all the national appointments can be found here. Having previously worked in the UK for several years, Barre has long known the value of international connections. “An international network is mandatory if you want to help a client throughout his business,” he says. “Whilst checking out the international associations available in France, AIJA was always my preference as it was focused on ‘young’ lawyers.” Now an Attorney at Azamdarley Associes in Paris, he is a regular face at AIJA events. “Behind every drink, every social event, every glittery gala, hides an inexhaustible source of knowledge, held by smart, brilliant, proactive lawyers from around the world,” he says. “AIJA makes you smarter. You start thinking globally, you exchange on various topics and realise how little you know regarding your fields of intervention, you draft a map of international issues in your core specialty – whilst having fun and developing a precious international network of top quality professionals.”
However, he also believes that “you can’t limit AIJA to just a networking organisation. It goes much deeper. This experience is always hard to describe to newcomers, family, or even to your firm! People welcome you with open arms. You travel the world to meet young friends, sharing privileged moments.”
As France’s National Representative, François’ role is to recruit new members, be the liaison with local and national Bars, and be an ambassador of AIJA. All of which clearly comes naturally to him. His message to potential new members is simple: “Join us. NOW! You’ll travel, you’ll learn, you’ll have fun, you’ll meet tons of interesting people, discuss mind-blowing topics, establish durable contacts and start doing serious business.” And you’ll regret it if you don’t.
A success story: AIJA in Oslo
24 October 2016
Oslo’s prestigious City Hall is reserved for high profile occasions such as the Nobel Prize ceremony. So it was therefore a fitting venue for AIJA this past September. A special two-day seminar ‘Into the Bright Blue Yonder – Current Challenges in Ship and Aviation Financing’ covered a variety of maritime topics including registration, restructuring, arrests and forced sales, alternative financing structures, insolvencies, and work outs.
“Asset financing has seen resurgence in recent months and years so this seminar was very timely, exploring current issues and challenges facing those involved in ship and aviation financing all over the world,” said Atty. Anita Gerdin, Senior Lawyer at Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS, and Organising Committee Member at the Oslo Seminar.
Other members of the Organising Committee were Niels Jørn Friborg, Hafnia Law Firm, Sarah Wolf, Dabelstein & Passehl, Bethan Waters, Farrer & Co, Marisa Hernandez, Isolas, F. Javier Zabala, Meana Green Maura & Co., Irena Gogl-Hassanin, Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner, and Niels Schindler, DGE Avocats. The team put together an attractive and highly scientific program led by skilled and experienced speakers. Highlights included an overview and comparison of shipping and aviation financing, and a particularly lively panel discussion on the current challenges in shipping and aviation and how to be creative when things go wrong (including tactics for debtors and creditors facing difficult times), which featured amongst others Yiannis G. Timagenis of Timagenis Law Firm, Piraeus, Greece, and Dennis Højslet, a lawyer from LETT law firm, Copenhagen, Denmark.
“We had more than 80 delegates attending from Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and USA, who all had a lot of questions after the presentations and contributed to the very active panel discussion. I think the delegates found the sharing of ideas and creative solutions in a challenging time for the business especially useful, giving them clear and practical takeaways to bring back to their firms at home,” said Gerdin. Fringed with an outstanding natural canvas of forest, hills and lakes, Oslo was also the perfect host city. “The Town Hall provided us with a thoroughly elegant and intoxicating welcome reception in which to embrace the AIJA spirit and digest the scientific programme. The seminar was opened by the Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen, who acknowledged the work AIJA does for human rights during her speech, and took the time to talk to the guests afterwards. A trip to the Norwegian Maritime Museum was also particularly pertinent, as delegates got to try out the new interactive simulators. The thriving café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and a vibrant nightlife was also a good way to keep the networking going through the night! I have received a lot of e-mails from delegates with great feedback, and there has been lots of interest in AIJA from the Norwegian lawyers following the seminar too,” Gerdin detailed.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the latest seminars and conferences at AIJA, visit www.aija.org.
AIJA Elects New President
30 September 2016
Danish Corporate Lawyer David Frølich was elected President of The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) in August, at the Annual Congress in Munich.
After a long career within AIJA, which has included being the National Representative for Denmark, Member of the Executive Committee and Co-chair of the Membership Forum, David will now lead AIJA for the coming year.
David is a partner at Lund Elmer Sandager LLP, an independent Danish law firm located in Copenhagen. He advises both Danish and multinational clients in connection with M&A deals and the legal aspects of doing business in Denmark.
Upon being elected AIJA President, David outlined his vision and priorities for the year: “AIJA is a unique organisation for young lawyers. Its core DNA, networking and providing the highest levels of scientific content for young lawyers in early stages of their career, is unmatched and not found anywhere else. This is what I want to develop further in the association, to not only reach more young lawyers on the global legal scene but also provide even more opportunities for young lawyers.”
In particular, this will include “More take-aways, more seminars and even more attractive content: These are essential for promoting legal cultures and for enhancing cooperation and friendship among lawyers from all over the world and this is needed not only for the benefit of each lawyer but also for the benefit of legal systems and justices all over the world. Bringing more and more members together is key to the success of not only AIJA but for the members themselves. It is all about the members.”
AIJA is currently a global community of 4,000 young career building legal professionals aged 45 and under. At the 54th International Young Lawyers’ Congress held in Munich this August, more than 650 young lawyers attended from 55 different countries. “The success of this meeting confirms the willingness of the young international legal community to have their event, where they can meet, create connections, build their careers and find new business opportunities,” said the new President. “When embracing the world and stretching out the AIJA spirit, taking AIJA to Tokyo next year for the 55th annual congress is a natural step.”
Attending the Munich congress offered delegates more than 50 hours of legal education and workshops as well as special social events held over 5 days at the most prestigious locations. The bar has been set high, but next year in Tokyo promises to be even better.
Mediation Wins Best Programme Session at the International Young Lawyers Congress
30 September 2016
Every year, the people in charge of the scientific programme of the AIJA Congress give an award to the best session. At this year’s 54th Congress in Munich, the judges voted for the Working Session on Mediation, presented by Eleni Polycarpou, Michael Pauli and Rim Ben Ammar, for their engaging and challenging presentation on litigation and international arbitration mock case.
Delegates were presented with a complicated mediation scenario: a wealthy Indian art collector buys a painting through an art dealer in Geneva for $30m. After owning it for a number of years, the painting is put up for auction, now expecting to attract up to $150m. However, an English aristocrat recognises the painting as one stolen from their family home in the 1960s, and demands its return. So begins a three-way mediation between the two parties claiming ownership, and the art dealer who was supposed to assure its provenance.
“I deal a lot with art law related disputes in England,” explains Eleni Polycarpou, Special Counsel, Head of International Arbitration, at Withers LLP, and one of the moderators of the winning session. “I have had two cases recently where stolen artworks went up for auction and were identified by the original owners in the auction house catalogue. The mock case scenario was based largely on one of my cases, although I changed it sufficiently for it to not be recognisable.”
Delegates received useful and surprising tips regarding cultural differences: “some were obvious, such as don't be late for your mediation if it is against a northern European or US opponent,” says Polycarpou. “And some were less obvious, for example don't try small talk about the weather if your opponent is Japanese – in fact you must go directly to the point and the heart of your arguments immediately.”
However, the application of mediation goes far wider than simply smoothing over cultural misunderstandings. Mediation is an increasingly popular method of resolving disputes in the US and in the UK, and is growing in other countries too. “It is important for young lawyers to understand that some disputes are more suited to this method and to be able to offer it to their clients as an alternative to going to court or to arbitration,” argues Polycarpou.
The session, which used lawyer members of AIJA from different countries as the actors to enact the mock mediation, proved popular amongst delegates believes Polycarpou because, “All lawyers have to enter into negotiation in their day to day lives. Also, the best way to become an expert on negotiation is to take part in one or to see one take place. It was a successful way to demonstrate what mediation is, and what to do and not to do in a negotiation.”
Opportunities on Being an AIJA Scholar
30 September 2016
[caption id="attachment_7658" align="alignleft" width="165"] Tatiana Abarca[/caption]
Did you know that AIJA sponsors international scholarships? The AIJA scholarship programme allows young lawyers with limited financial resources to attend the annual congress and other events free of charge. In order to be considered for the AIJA scholarship, applicants need to submit an application which demonstrates how attending the AIJA events will benefit them, the absence of alternative financial means, and how their participation would serve the overall objectives and goals of AIJA.
In 2016, scholarships were awarded to Tatiana Abarca of Costa Rica, and Brenda Mwango Kemunto from Kenya.
Tatiana Abarca worked in corporate and labour law in Costa Rica before retraining in environmental law, completing a two-year Masters degree at the Australian National University (ANU) on an Australian Awards scholarship. Currently undertaking a legal internship at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, she describes her experience as an AIJA scholar as “an enormous privilege”. “Upon arriving to the Annual Congress in Munich, I felt immensely grateful – the opportunity to network with over 500 lawyers was invaluable not only from a career perspective, but to also understand some of the latest initiatives and advancements that are being made in my field,”
Brenda Mwango, a State Counsel at the Kenyan Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice attached to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, is currently undertaking a Master of Laws in International Trade and Investment Law at The University of Nairobi, Kenya. “Being a scholar was a rewarding experience,” she said. “I met inspirational people, people of different cultures and traditions from all over the world, I was offered great hospitality, and had stimulating discussions on European Law.”
For both young lawyers, the scholarship offered invaluable international experience. Brenda described it as an “educational adventure”: “AIJA gave me the opportunity to visit Switzerland and Germany for the first time – it has given me a perspective on the advanced infrastructure especially in the transport sector (road, air and rail), compared to what is available in Kenya.”
[caption id="attachment_7657" align="alignright" width="235"] Brenda Mwango Kemunto[/caption]
Tatiana believes that, “as globalisation intensifies, the reliance on expertise from different jurisdictions is becoming a fundamental component of work in the legal space, especially in environmental and maritime law. I have maintained contact with many of those I was lucky enough to meet and hope to collaborate further in the future.”
“For me, President Gorgenyi's opening speech was the highlight of the event. Her words about the work AIJA is doing to help young professionals in more disadvantaged societies were incredibly uplifting and reinforced the power the legal community has through associations like AIJA,” she said.
For more information on the scholarship programme and how to apply, please visit: /scholarships
AIJA goes to Verona, Italy
30 September 2016
For this year’s 2016 Half Year Conference, AIJA is exploring its romantic side. Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, is playing host. And it promises to be a truly spectacular location.
A Roman colony in the first century BC., it remains a well preserved Roman town - including the Arena, one of the most famous Roman amphitheatres that is still in use today. Visitors can also take a walk through the Medieval city, with the beautiful Basilica of San Zeno (one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture in Italy) and Piazza dei Signori, leading to the elegant Venetian-era palaces Palazzo Canossa and Palazzo Maffei.
Awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, Verona was an easy choice of venue, explains Atty. Roberto Luzi Crivellini, Partner at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi, and Chair of the Organising Committee at the Conference: “following the success of the AIJA Half Year Conference in Parma in 2010, we wanted our AIJA friends to have a chance to discover another little Italian jewel,” he says. “We could not find a better candidate, as Verona is located in a strategic position, its airport is well connected with the main European hubs. It is also close to Milano and Venice, which can be reached with a 1-hour fast train ride.”
Participants will be immersed in a truly Italian experience. The conference venue - Hotel Due Torri at Piazza Sant’anastasia – is in the heart of the old city, surrounded by masterpieces of Roman, medieval and Venetian heritage, all within walking distance. AIJA dinners will be hosted in some of the most prestigious 17th century buildings, including one with a special theme. “The theme for the gala dinner on Saturday is ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ”explains Atty. Giuseppe Cristiano, also a member to the OC, partner at De Berti Jacchia . ”Verona is the city of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, and this is a fun opportunity to meet other lawyers and experience the best traditions of AIJA.”
For those more interested in Italian fashion, there are also seminars on the industry during the conference. “Italy is worldwide known for its fashion industry, but must compete in times of globalisation,” explains Manuela Cavallo, Partner at Portolano, Cavallo. “This seminar programme focuses on the different aspects and trends in the sector, with some important in-house counsels who shall share their insights”. Legal issues range from protecting IP in fashion contracts, to arbitration clauses and awards.
The second seminar running during the conference will be on enabling and securing international business: “we will offer a complete overview on the topic of secured transactions in the international commercial arena. In house counsels and international attorneys will discuss about the different types of securities, liens and priorities rights in a cross border context”, says Giuseppe Scotti, counsel at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi.
So whether you’re into Roman architecture, Venetian palaces, Shakespearean romance, stiletto heels – or simply want an ‘Overview on conflict of laws regarding international securities’ (Thursday, 11.30am) – then the AIJA 2016 Half Year Conference in Verona is the perfect place for you.
For more information and a full conference programme, please download the conference programme HERE
Lawyering for change, 30.11 - 01.12.2016
08 September 2016
According to a United Nations estimate, four billion people do not have access to justice. In both the northern and southern hemispheres, legal assistance and representation of people with social or economic problems in accessing courts and tribunals play a key role in having their rights respected. As well as defending individual interests, the collective action of lawyers and other key players in the access to justice, such as social workers, legal experts working in the voluntary sector or community stakeholders, can also foster sustainable change within societies. Indeed, stakeholders in the access to justice are crucial in strengthening the rule of law and developing the power to act of people seeking justice. This is a key issue at a time when questions are being asked of sustainable development and the future of legal aid for vulnerable people. ASF is working in around ten fragile countries, where justice and the effectiveness of the rule of law have proved to be key elements in the social and economic development of populations, as well as crucial in preventing conflicts. Founded by ASF, the "Lawyering for Change" conference offers people the opportunity to discuss and focus on practices which foster sustainable change. Lawyers, legal experts and social stakeholders from Central Africa, South East Asia, North Africa, America and Europe will share their experiences of the work carried out in their respective countries. This experience will then be placed in the context of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which advocate the promotion of the rule of law and the guarantee of access to justice for all. Although the "Lawyering for Change" conference is being held to discuss the projects and studies which ASF has been carrying out for a number of years on the link between the access to justice and sustainable development, the event aims above all to tackle the realities of the situations on the ground. DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME
AIJA partners with Boston University, School of Law
31 August 2016
BU Law’s Executive LLM in International Business Law (ELLM) is proud to work with the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) to advance the educational opportunities of its members.
The ELLM is a 20-credit graduate program that provides exposure to the core topics of international business practice. The curriculum is customized for experienced legal practitioners and includes courses on topics such as: international arbitration, risk management and compliance, international business transactions, transnational legal practice, and international mergers and acquisitions. The ELLM’s faculty consists of internationally renowned legal academics and practitioners. Learn more about the ELLM.
AIJA Member Benefits
- $7,500 per scholarship available to AIJA members
The ELLM has restricted a pool of scholarship money exclusively for AIJA members. A limited number of scholarships up to $7,500 each are available to qualified applicants. Applicants who wish to be considered for the AIJA scholarship benefit should make reference to their AIJA membership and their candidacy for the scholarship benefit in their personal statement. Please visit the ELLM application page for more information on the application process.
Discounted Professional Education
- 50% discount (USD $150) for AIJA members
In collaboration with the online learning platform called edX, which was founded by MIT and Harvard, BU Law and the ELLM developed the self-paced online course: Legal Risk Management Strategies for Multinational Enterprises. The course examines the issues that multinational companies face in adhering to the numerous laws and regulations that govern their operations. Students will be introduced to new tools for managing risk in the global marketplace and learn how to identify, analyze, and control compliance risks in various commercial and financial contexts. Topics such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Sarbanes Oxley, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies, and ethics programs will be covered from a compliance and risk management perspective.
AIJA members who wish to claim this discount should email email@example.com and reference their AIJA membership.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact the ELLM at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Does the Future Hold for Today’s Young Lawyers?
19 August 2016
Ask anyone these days, they will commonly say the same thing: the pace of change now is greater than ever before. But what does that mean for the legal profession? What are the changes coming around the corner that young lawyers need to understand and prepare for? This will be the main focus for the 54th International Young Lawyer’s Congress in Munich on 23-27 August 2016. Dr. Julia Blind, Attorney at KLEINER Rechtsanwälte and Co-Chair of the Congress Organising Committee, shares her insights on the current trends young lawyers need to know about. First, there’s the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), says Dr. Blind: “Besides the intended increase of trade between the European member states and the USA, it will bring new challenges for consumer protection. If TTIP implements an investment arbitration, which is currently a controversial discussion, big law firms will very likely re-emphasis their expertise in the field of international arbitration or even built up new practice groups.” Don’t expect the ongoing refugee crisis to die down any time soon, either. Even if migration flows were to slow down or even stop, the issues surrounding settlement of existing refugees will keep lawyers busy for some time to come. “The refugees who arrived in Europe have very much changed the tasks of lawyers, especially in Germany,” says Dr. Blind. “Lawyers assist them regarding their asylum procedures, while support measures like housing, supplies and services are a challenge for the public authorities regarding the compliance with national and EU law on procuring services.” The technology revolution and the coming of automation – known as Industry 4.0, or ‘robots taking our jobs!’ – will bring “challenges in data protection and data security, liability in the connected supply chain, IP issues, and employment law requirements,” she advises. And, although most of us may want to, we can’t forget Brexit. “Besides the economic impact for the United Kingdom and the EU member states,” says Dr. Blind, “there are many legal hot topics linked with the Brexit, including tax issues, work permits and immigration issues, the implementation of the Unitary Patent, and consequences for the European Community trademark or European Community design when the UK leaves the EU.” All this comes with an ever-increasing requirement for lawyers to have in-depth and up-to-date knowledge not only in their main field of business, but also a basic knowledge of associated legal areas and economics. The 54th International Young Lawyer’s Congress (Munich, 23-27 August 2016) will be an invaluable way to keep abreast of the issues, with working sessions, workshops, interactive sessions and high-profile speakers. Plus, on the Friday evening, the famous Hofbräuhaus offers a taste of the Munich Oktoberfest – the perfect place to socialise, make contacts, and enjoy the local traditions!
Kuwaiti Legal Intern Wins 2016 Best International Future Lawyer Award
19 August 2016
Kuwait’s Sharefah A. Almuhana has won the prestigious AIJA Best International Future Lawyer Award 2016. A former Legal Researcher at the Ministry of Public Works of Kuwait, Almuhana holds LLB and LLM from Kuwait University School of Law. Having graduated with a Doctoral Degree in Law from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, USA, in May this year, she is currently a Legal Intern at US Immigration Law firm in Laramie, Wyoming, covering humanitarian cases including refugees and asylum. Her winning essay “Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area” was adapted from her doctoral thesis on the subject. A Jury of three AIJA Executive Committee Members assessed entries based on the quality of research and analysis, novelty, profundity and overall contribution to legal knowledge. They were unanimous in choosing Almuhana’s paper for this year’s award. Her research examines the legal framework and strategy for distributing the potential outcomes from exploiting the natural resources in the common International Seabed Area (the Area). Located beyond the limits of national jurisdictions and rich in valuable mineral deposits such as nickel, copper, cobalt, iron, and manganese, the deposits are estimated to satisfy global demand for centuries. “I noticed that the legal regime of the Area needs some improvements,” she explained, when asked why she chose the topic. “However, I was not sure where the defects were in the system. I decided to uncover the weakness of the Area system not only as a legal system but also as a system that involves many social and economic issues.” “Through my research, I wanted the legal community and policy makers to be aware that even institutions with sound legal frameworks are vulnerable to failure when these legal frameworks are structured in a way that undermines the economic or the social interests of some members of a community,” informed Almuhana. “The Law of the Sea introduces many unanswered questions, providing new prospects for research into these areas of the oceans that cover most of our planet.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recently announced its intention to extend ‘World Heritage’ recognition and protection to areas of the sea. “Winning the AIJA competition means a lot for me,” said Almuhana. “It means that my research is recognized internationally. It is also a reminder for me to keep writing and researching. Furthermore, it is a message to the youth and women from the developing countries to keep doing what they think they can do regardless of the barriers they might face.” Her prize includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the AIJA International Young Lawyers Congress, a temporary waiver of the AIJA membership fee, and publication and distribution of her paper. In-keeping with the “AIJA spirit”, the award is intended to help young lawyers build confidence in their academic skills and produce scientific work on international legal issues.
Sharefah Almuhana is the Best International Future Lawyer 2016
05 August 2016
With her essay on "Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area", Sharefah Almuhana won the Best International Future Lawyer Award 2016.
The Jury, composed of three AIJA Executive Committee Members, considered unanimously this paper the best one for this year's award.
Sharefah's research attempts to establish a strategy to distribute the potential outcomes from exploiting the natural resources existing in common and global property areas, namely, the International Seabed Area (the Area), which is located beyond the limits of national jurisdictions and is rich in valuable mineral deposits such as nickel, copper, cobalt, iron, and manganese. The huge deposits found beneath the oceans are commercially sound and estimated to satisfy the energy needs of the world for centuries.
Sharefah Almuhana graduated in May 2016 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH, U.S.A, with S.J.D – Doctoral Degree in Law. Sharefah also holds LLB and LLM both are from Kuwait University School of Law. Before going to the U.S. Sharefah served in the Kuwaiti Government as a “Legal Researcher” at the Ministry of Public Works of Kuwait. She is currently “Legal Intern” in a U.S. Immigration Law firm in Laramie, WY, U.S.A where she is learning about the U.S. Immigration Law and exposing to humanitarian cases regarding refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking. Sharefah scholarly and researching interests include all aspects of the public and international law.
The Award consists of:
- Free AIJA membership until December 2019
- Publication of the Essay on AIJA’s various communication channels.
- Complimentary invitation to attend the full 54th International Young Lawyers' Congress.
Egypt: Freedom of the Legal Profession in Danger
10 June 2016
Malek Adly, a prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer and keynote speaker at AIJA’s 2015 annual conference in London, has been arrested, beaten by security forces and detained for 30 days pending investigation. One of over 90 arrests following the April 25 planned “Egypt is not for sale” day of demonstrations, Mr. Adly’s detention is seen as symptomatic of the human rights abuses and repression of free speech under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
An arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Adly on April 23, 2016 in connection with a call to protest against President el-Sisi’s decision to hand over two Red Sea islands administered by Egypt to Saudi Arabia and for the regime’s ongoing human rights abuses. The allegations against Mr. Adly include attempting to overthrow the ruling regime, affiliation to a banned organisation and broadcasting false news, all of which he denied during questioning.
“There can be no question that freedom of the legal profession is under threat in Egypt,” commented Ms. Anna Birtwistle, Partner of CM MURRAY LLP, and co-chair of the AIJA Human Rights Committee. “We are extremely concerned that Mr. Adly is reported to have suffered physical harm, torture and solitary treatment whilst in custody and was prohibited from being visited by his wife, family and lawyers for the first 11 days of his detention.”
An open letter signed by 16 Egyptian civil rights groups has described how security forces have been given free rein to use excessive force, including live ammunition, against demonstrators. Both the Public Prosecution and judges use prolonged pre-trial detention as a punitive measure and turn a blind eye to torture and killings by security forces, according to the signatories, while the prisons are filled with dissidents, journalists and human rights defenders, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
AIJA and Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) have called upon the Egyptian authorities to unconditionally respect the Egyptian Constitution and its international obligations – including fundamental rights like freedom of expression and the right to freely exercise the legal profession.
“When a country who is party to the UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, like Egypt, does not uphold the right to freedom of expression and a young lawyer is affected in practicing his profession, AIJA is duty bound to speak out,” said Ms Birtwistle. “In the case of Malek Adly, that imperative is only strengthened by the personal connection AIJA members were lucky enough to establish through Mr. Adly’s contribution to our Annual Congress last year.”
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Adly was due to write an article updating AIJA members on the situation regarding freedom of expression in Egypt.
As an association, AIJA is committed to promoting and upholding the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers which enshrines the principle that lawyers should be free to practice without intimidation or harassment and like all citizens, should enjoy the right to freedom of expression.
Best International Future Lawyer Award - Apply by 1 July!
10 June 2016
Applications are open for the very first ‘Best International Future Lawyer’ award. Entrants must submit a written essay on any topic of their choosing, as long as it’s related to international law. The winner will receive free AIJA membership for three years, a free all-expenses paid trip to the AIJA Annual Congress in Munich this August, and the chance to present their paper at the Congress itself.
You don’t even need to be an AIJA member – all young law students who are still enrolled at a university, and aged under 45, can apply – but be quick, the deadline day is 1st of July.
This is a prestigious opportunity to show off your potential to future colleagues and employers. Maximilano D’Auro, a member of AIJA’s Membership Forum, which is the body responsible for organizing the award, explains that the award specifically targets current law students because “although many of them may not have had the chance to practice yet, we have no doubt that they are in a good position to produce high-quality work – they are still immersed in the unique academic environment provided by law schools and very close to the systemic study of the legal subjects, something you very often miss when you start practising.”
In-keeping with the “AIJA spirit”, the award is one of many ways that we help young lawyers build confidence in their discursive and academic skills. “Unlike other organizations, AIJA makes it very easy for newcomers to become quickly involved in the work of our scientific commissions, to present national reports on their fields of interest and to be speakers in our working sessions in seminars, conferences or congresses we organize,” says D’Auro. “This award is a further step in the same direction.”
Essays will be judged on the quality of research and analysis, novelty, profundity and overall contribution to legal knowledge. You can even use a revised version of a previous essay or graduate thesis you’ve written while at University.
Eligible candidates can only submit one individual or joint essay. For more information on how to apply, check out the awards page on the website: http://awards.aija.org/. So get writing and editing to submit the perfect paper! The winner will get a unique opportunity to present their work on an international stage – it’s the ideal way to start an influential legal career.
Summer School in Transnational Commercial Agreements, Litigation and Arbitration
11 May 2016
The Department of Law of the University of Verona, Italy and the Center for International Legal Education (CILE) of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – in cooperation with Polo Scientifico Didattico “Studi sull’impresa” dell’Università di Verona - sede di Vicenza; Fondazione Studi Universitari di Vicenza; Ordine degli Avvocati di Vicenza; International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA); Unione Triveneta dei Consigli dell’Ordine degli Avvocati; Associazione Italiana Giovani Avvocati (AIGA); Camera di Commercio di Vicenza - Organismo di mediazione – invite you to attend the Summer School in Transnational Commercial Agreements, Litigation and Arbitration, which will take place on May 23-27, 2016 in Vicenza, Italy.
The Summer School aims at providing participants with an in-depth understanding of international commercial contracts and the applicable of dispute resolution methods.
Egypt: concerns about the detention of human rights lawyer Malek Adly
10 May 2016
Egypt: concerns about the detention of human rights lawyer Malek Adly
Brussels, 10 May 2016 – The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) are deeply concerned about the detention of human rights lawyer Malek Adly in Cairo, since his arrest last week. Both organisations call for the respect of the freedom of the legal profession in Egypt.
Mr. Adly is a prominent human rights lawyer and director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). He also co-founded the Front for Defending Egypt's Protesters, a group comprising of 34 human rights organisations and several lawyers, which documents illegal practices carried out by state police forces against peaceful protesters.
An arrest warrant was issued against Mr Adly on 23 April 2016 in connection with a call to protest against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi's decision to hand over two Red Sea islands administered by Egypt to Saudi Arabia and human rights abuses committed by the Egyptian security forces. Mr. Adly’s arrest follows a wave of arrests in Egypt reported to reach over 1,200 following protests against the President’s decision in connection with the islands.
Mr Adly’s defence team alleges that he was severely beaten by security personnel upon his arrest on 5 May 2016 and has filed claims to several authorities regarding violations against Mr Adley in respect of his arrest and investigation.
The human rights lawyer will be held in custody for 15 days, pending investigation into a list of allegations, including attempting to overthrow the ruling regime, affiliation to a banned organisation and broadcasting false news, all of which he denied during questioning.
AIJA and ASF call upon the Egyptian authorities to unconditionally respect the Egyptian Constitution and its international obligations, and respect of fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and the right to freely exercise the profession of lawyer.
As international NGO specialised on access to justice, ASF implements a regional program to promote and expand the scope of freedom of expression in the MENA region. The current crackdown on lawyers as Malek Adly, Ahmed Abdallah, the Head of the Board of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) arrested on April 25th, and many other human rights defenders constitutes a serious threat to freedom of expression in Egypt.
Together with ASF, Mr. Adly contributed to AIJA’s 2015 annual conference in London by sharing the challenges of working as human rights lawyer in the context of national uprising and transition to democracy in Egypt. His keynote speech on the role of the lawyer in defending Freedom of Expression had been an eye-opener for many European young lawyers.
AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers, is the only global association devoted to lawyers and in-house counsel aged 45 and under. AIJA provides outstanding international opportunities for young lawyers to network, learn and develop. AIJA supports initiatives to protect the right of every lawyer to practice his or her profession freely and the entitlement of every individual to legal representation and a fair trial and the protection of the rule of law.
Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) is a Belgian-based INGO whose mission is to contribute to the establishment of institutions and mechanisms that allow for access to independent and impartial justice, and which are capable of guaranteeing the protection of fundamental rights, including the right to a fair trial. For almost 20 years, ASF has been implementing programs with the aim to facilitating access to justice for the most vulnerable population in fragile states or transition contexts, including in Africa, Asia and the MENA region.
For ASF: Chantal van Cutsem, Strategy and Development Coordinator, email@example.com; Tel.: 02/223.36.54
AIJA launches the Best International Future Lawyer Award
14 April 2016
The Best International Future Lawyer Award is granted by AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers, for the best written Essay submitted on any topic in the field of internationally related law. This is a prestigious opportunity to show law students’ potential to their future colleagues and employers. The Award is open to any law students who are aged 45 and under and are still enrolled at any university worldwide at the time the Paper is submitted. Participating is very easy and can make you fly very high! Go to the Award website
Innovative Legal Services Forum 2016
16 March 2016
Economia a.s. media house organizes an exclusive and unique CEE event to discuss opportunities and innovation in business development, business leadership, marketing and trends in legal services. The conference will cover the future of European law firms, big In-house teams and innovative approaches to talent management, client service and communication with media. This one-day event will bring together leading speakers from Europe, senior and managing partners from a wide variety of CEE law firms, strategic advisers on governance and development, heads of the law departments from largest companies and others to discuss most recent topics.
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION AVAILABLE UNTIL 31. 3. 2016
The organisers are pleased to offer an additional 25% discount to all foreign participants. For booking, please, contact directly Mrs. Lukavska –firstname.lastname@example.org
AIJA partners with Barbri International
15 March 2016
Breaking news! AIJA partners with Barbri International: become a U.S. lawyer and increase your marketability. Special rates available for AIJA members only.
New York State Bar Association, Section of International Law - Spring meeting
14 March 2016
AIJA is pleased to inform about a great event taking place in Krakow in a month. Our partners of the New York State Bar Association, Section of International Law, meet on 6-9 April in beautiful Krakow for their Spring Meeting. Check it out!
AIJA calls for action
27 January 2016
The global migration is in place. Lots of people migrating to Europe are facing hard conditions on their way there but also after they manage to arrive on European territory. Basic human rights, such as equal access to justice of migrants are often not respected even in developed democratic countries nowadays.
Without any ambition to address the issue from the political point of view, AIJA notices with unease the signs of possible erosion of basic democratic principles and rule of law. At the same time, it is up to the lawyers to be the guardians of rule of law and equal access to justice. If we lawyers give up on this role or if we do not act now, the role of law and access to justice will be seriously endangered for everyone.
As stressed already by Declaration on Migration of CCBE from 26 June 2015, regardless of the present difficulties undoubtedly faced by many states, it is important to reiterate certain fundamental principles, such as defence of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms including the right of access to justice and protection of the client and the protection of the democratic values inextricably associated with such rights. These fundamental principles of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights must always prevail over any political, economic or security consideration.
AIJA identifies fully with the CCBE declaration and feels a duty to support this initiative, especially in the light of the recently adopted resolution of the United Nations on Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, setting 17 goals to fulfil. AIJA would like to specifically stress sub-goal 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
Therefore, in order to prevent erosion of the above mentioned fundamental principles, AIJA would like to invite each lawyer, and especially young ones, to make personal efforts to start fulfilling goal 16.3 already today. Specifically, AIJA would like to encourage lawyers to:
- read the mentioned CCBE declaration and UN resolution;
- accept pro bono cases of refugees who may be in need of legal aid, especially those in detention or other hard conditions;
- offer services to local or international NGO´s dealing with pro bono legal aid or with defence of rule of law or equal access to justice;
- spread the information on the above-mentioned CCBE declaration and UN resolution among all lawyers.
- contact the local bar associations to spread a similar call to this one.
Brussels, 27 January 2016  Conseil des barreaux européens / Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, published, The second declaration on migration, 26/06/2015  United Nations Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015
Human rights DO count for Young Lawyers
08 December 2015
Human rights DO count for Young Lawyers
[caption id="attachment_6901" align="alignright" width="300"] AIJA Human Rights Committee Co-Chairs with ILAC and Syrian judges[/caption]
From November 18 until 21, a hundred international lawyers visited the beautiful city of Istanbul and participated in the AIJA Half Year Conference 2015. The Human Rights Committee of AIJA organised two sessions to discuss how to preserve the rule of law during a conflict and the refugees’ rights and the current situation in Europe.
The first session was jointly organised with the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC). We had the honour to have with us Mr. Mikael Ekman, Legal Adviser and Programme Manager at ILAC in Stockholm and three distinguished Syrian judges from the Free Independent Judicial Council (FIJC). AIJA is contributing to the ILAC Syria program by providing targeted English courses to defected judges from the FIJC to help building the capacity and independence of Syrian legal civil society in Turkey. AIJA has developed the curricula and, provides funds out of SOS Avocats to pay for teacher and learning materials.
The panel discussion was focused on the current situation of Syria and the access to justice and basic state functions in areas outside regime control. Mr. Ekman presented ILAC Syria program and its work together with the FIJC to re-establish civil documentation services wherever these have collapsed, mainly to document birth and death and support on other basic needs. The discussion then moved on to the situation for legal professionals and human rights activists in Syria at large. The judges shared with the participants of the conference their first-hand experience of being ordered by the executive to apply terrorism legislation and death penalty to ordinary protesters at the start of the demonstrations in Syria and how their refusal to do so forced them and many of their colleagues to leave the country into exile. A presentation on the legislative framework for the anti-terror laws in Syria and their consequences for human rights was made by one of the distinguished guest judges.
The second session focussed on the protection of the human rights of refugees and the current situation in Europe. We had the honour to have on stage a number of highly respected NGO’s: Refugee Rights Turkey, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, The Human Resource Development Foundation, The Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants, The Small Projects İstanbul and the Durde Platform. Representatives of these NGOs elaborated on their initiatives to protect the human rights of refugees.
These initiatives covered a broad range of activities: (i) to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, (ii) to provide legal information and assistance services to seek asylum; (iii) to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country; (iv) to develop solutions to the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers encounter in Turkey and to support them in meeting their basic and social needs.
The Refugee Rights Turkey also organises trainings and reference materials for lawyers to strengthen the availability and quality of legal information and representation for persons in need of international protection and works to nurture public ownership and positive attitudes towards asylum seekers.
In the end, both sessions resulted in an extraordinary examination of the current situation in Syria through the eyes of defected Syrian judges and their first-hand testimonials as well as the great work done by the not-for profit organisations to protect the human rights of Syrian refugees.
More information: Rosa Isabel Peña Sastre, Co-chair AIJA Human Rights Committee, email@example.com
Bearer Shares Limitations
29 April 2015
In a move designed to further discourage the use of bearer shares in the Republic of Panama, the Panamanian Superintendency of Banks issued, on December 2, 2014, the General Resolution of the Board of Directors SBP-GJD-0009-2014 in which they established measures for the identification of the real owners or final beneficiaries of Panamanian corporations.
This latest resolution sets out a list of requirements that all Panamanian banks must comply with in a period of twelve months counted from the issuance of the resolution, for clients whose corporations allow the issuance of bearer shares.
As a first option, the bank must request the client to modify the articles of incorporation of its company in order to specifically state that it can only issue nominal shares or altogether ban the issuance of bearer shares, whichever the client prefers. It is important to note that even before the promulgation of this resolution, this suggestion has been applied regularly in the past few years by local banks.
The second scenario is when the client has a corporation and the shares have been issued to the bearer. The bank can maintain the client in this scenario as long as: i) the bearer shares are kept in custody by the bank or by an authorized custodian, and ii) a sworn statement is delivered to the bank detailing the information of the real owner or final beneficiary. If the information contained in the sworn statement varies in any form, the client must update the information within thirty days after the fact; otherwise, the bank can proceed with the closure of the account.
Finally, these recent changes made by the Superintendency are just another way to enforce the use of nominal shares in Panamanian corporations. They also strengthen the custodian regimen applicable to bearer shares, as stated in Law No. 47 of August 6, 2013.
Article by Beatriz del C. Cabal Chen, Panama
Dispute Settlement Mechanism under SAFTA Agreement: A Tiger without Teeth
29 April 2015
The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia materialized in 1985 after the adoption of Charter establishing the organization of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). In order to promote trade and economic growth among SAARC Member States, Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) was signed on January 6, 2004 and it entered into force on January 1, 2006.
Dispute settlement mechanism of any trade agreement remains as a crucial part of such agreement. SAFTA has also provided for a dispute settlement mechanism that involves bilateral consultations, recommendations of Committee of Experts (COE) and review by the SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC). Article 10 of the SAFTA Agreement has placed the SMC as the highest decision making body of SAFTA and has also entrusted the responsibility for the administration and implementation of the Agreement and all decisions and arrangements made within its legal framework. Similarly, the COE has been designated to monitor, review and facilitate implementation of the provisions of the Agreement and undertake any task assigned to it by the SMC. COE also serves as a Dispute Settlement Body under the Agreement.
Article 20 of the SAFTA Agreement has enshrined provisions related to the dispute settlement mechanism. Even though the Agreement has made a trivial attempt for dispute resolution, there are several lacunae in the mechanism. To begin with, any dispute arising among the Contracting States should be tried to settle amicably through the bilateral consultations but the Agreement does not shed much light on what kind of disputes could be referred for the resolution. Besides, success of consultation between the parties to the dispute with a view to find a mutually satisfactory solution is largely contingent upon the bilateral relation of such parties.
Upon failure of dispute resolution through consultation, dispute can then be referred to the COE. COE after investigating into the matter can make recommendations to the disputing parties. Such recommendations not being binding to the parties can create a room for non-compliance. Similarly, the Agreement is silent on procedures for the operation of the COE as well as on the qualification of its members. It further creates ambiguity in dispute settlement process. Additionally, the appellate review process is also deficient. Any Contracting State, which is a party to the dispute, may appeal the recommendations of the COE to the SMC. Lack of clarity on the scope of review and basis for upholding, modifying or reversing the recommendations of the COE undoubtedly generates reluctance on the parties to make an appeal.
Where the COE or SMC concludes that the measure subject to dispute is inconsistent with any of the provisions of SAFTA Agreement, it can recommend the concerned Contracting State to bring the measure into conformity with SAFTA Agreement. In addition to its recommendations, the COE or SMC may suggest ways in which the concerned Contracting State could implement the recommendations. As the SAFTA Agreement is not comprehensive in terms of dispute settlement process, such provision allows discretion to the COE or SMC to devise any procedure it deems fit for investigating or reviewing the dispute and making recommendations. Such open-ended discretion may at times raise question on credibility of remedy provided.
In order to strengthen the existing dispute settlement mechanism under the SAFTA Agreement, the mechanism should be reviewed clarifying nature and types of dispute. Composition of COE and qualification of COE members; detailed working procedure of COE and SMC; and scope of appeal review should be clearly prescribed.
Article by Rojina Thapa, Nepal
Winter Seminar in Kitzbuehel – A comprehensive view on M&A and the Austrian Alps.
29 April 2015
At the end of January there are not many better places to discuss an M&A process than at the foot of the Kitzbuehel mountains. Around 100 participants from all around the world with a mix of geographical and professional backgrounds enjoyed the sophisticated level of discussions and the perfect slopes of the Austrian alps.
The seminar started Wednesday night with a short introduction of the OC Kistian Ford, Lucas Hänni and Rainer Kaspar and a gathering at the Hotel zur Tenne, one of the oldest and most typical hotels in the centre of Kitzbuehel.
The Thursday morning session focused on the auction process, the interdependencies of in-house counsels and corporate lawyers and intellectual property rights in M&A transactions. The afternoon break was put to good use with AIJA’s first ski race, a fierce battle of more or less proficient skiers with winners from Austria (female) and Greece (male). In the afternoon session, maybe the most factor of M&A transaction, tax, was discussed. The session took place at the top of the Hahnenkammbahn, which is also the start of the famous downhill ski race, currently starring in movie theatres as “one hell of a ride”.
On Friday morning, panelists and the audience discussed due diligence, followed by recent issues of transaction agreements and merger control clearance topics. The afternoon session was held in form of a case study: a cross boarder M&A deal including the purchase of affiliated companies in different countries was reviewed under selected national laws.
Topics of the final day were the director’s liability, crowdfunding as a form of alternative financing and the role of employees in a transfer of undertaking. The official part of the AIJA seminar ended with a presentation of the key note speaker Rob Weber, an Associated Professor at Georgia State University, who presented several cases dealing with advisor firms’ liability in case of representing/advising several parties and “ignoring” the occurring conflicts of interests.
Not having had enough of the challenging academic and social events of the preceding days, many of the seminar participants attended the optional sledging at night which turned out to be not as easy as one might have thought.
It was another great AIJA event, inside and outside the conference room. The combination of business and fun is what made this skiing event so successful. We are now already looking forward to next year’s winter seminar in the Dolomites!
Article by Wolfgang Guggenberger and Rainer Kaspar, Austria Pictures from the seminar available here
Discovering AIJA in Santiago de Chile
29 April 2015
As a lawyer member of the Costa Rican Bar, specialized in Civil and Commercial Law; and also as a Law Lecturer, I am always looking forward to attending different seminars and congresses as I have the clear understanding that Law Sciences are progressive, and change in a very fast basis.
Approximately in Mid - September 2014, I received an email from a colleague of mine sent originally by the Costa Rican Lawyer´s Bar stating that there was going to be an AIJA conference related to Mercosur Disputes to take place in Santiago, Chile, in November 2014. That e-mail caused a powerful interest on me, and something told me from my personal interior that I had to mandatorily apply. Even though I did not have the economical resources to afford its price, the e-mail stated that there was a scholarship available. A lot of people told me that I was going to lose my time by applying for the scholarship as a lot of people were going to apply, but in despite of that something told me that I had to do it, so I finally did; --even though I was not sure about what AIJA was, as that organization is not very well - known in Costa Rica, and most of the people and Lawyers do not even know what that is, or where it is located, or what do they do.
Some months later, I got the good news that the decision of applying for the scholarship had been one of the wisest decisions I´d ever taken. I received the great news, --sent by Mr. Marletta--, that AIJA had approved my scholarship. I could not believe that, as many organizations in Costa Rica would not have the sufficient funds to give those sorts of scholarships, and I had never been related to a foreign organization. However, I gave all the necessary information to Mrs. Masure, who was extremely helpful at arranging my itinerary.
At last, when time had come to board the plane that would take me to Chile, making a stop in Panama, a great feeling of excitement had taken place inside of me. A lot of friends, --many lawyers-- were clearly regretted for having recommended me not to apply for the scholarship, so it made me feel even happier. I definitely knew that the trip was going to be an awesome opportunity for me not only to know more about Commerce Law, but also to meet people, and learn more about cultures. Many other reasons made me have a great expectative of the whole trip. In fact, more than seven hours flying, did not feel at all, as I was thinking the whole trip not only about the great opportunity that AIJA was giving me, but also about the great opportunities that I guess they have given to many lawyers in the past. I was also very excited that I was going to be in Chile, which I do not know why, but I had always had great interest to be there.
Finally I arrived, --now a little tired in physical terms--, but still very happy and excited for my trip. I landed in Santiago and took a taxi to the hotel which I must say at this point that I did not expect AIJA to arrange my nights at a fancy hotel as the Intercontinental, but they did; and that grew up the anxiety that I had by then to know more about AIJA. Well, I finally made the check –in, and immediately went over for dinner, as I was starving. I definitely had time during that night to think a lot about many things, and those things then began changing my points of view from life in general; not only about myself, but also about the world and the people, specifically the way I used to appreciate it. Feelings were also combined with Christmas winds, joined also with the spirit of that fresh and cool Santiago night!. I got back to the hotel that night with a mood of melancholy and happiness at the meantime.
The next day, I took breakfast and showed up at the event on time, as I was very excited to be part of this congress. When I was giving my name to the sweet lady that was checking it with the list; I saw that a woman who was working around heard my name, and suddenly came to introduce herself to me, and my surprise was that this charming lady was Mrs. Masure and I was very happy as I knew that I had certainly met the first person during my trip! I then checked myself to assist to the seminary related to Mercosur Disputes, and focused my attention on this. What an interest subject is this! I had no idea about the millions of dollars that involve this matter, and every second that passed by made me submerge more into the deeps of that complex topics related to commercial law, which is the area of law that I most love.
Some hours later we made a quick break to drink coffee, and then I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Marletta, after I recognized his face since I had looked at his linked – In profile days before. That was the second person that I got to know by then, and I was even more excited!
Words might barely explain what I lived during the following days in Santiago. I exchanged business cards with lawyers raised all around the world, I assisted to the wonderful lunches and dinners that AIJA had perfectly set up for us both inside and outside the hotel, I went over to the lovely vineyard named Santa Rita where AIJA´s organization took us. I can say without a doubt that I learned during those days a lot about specific law topics, but that was nothing compared to the magic of the whole event that I lived in Santiago. I definitely knew what being alive is, and combined that with making friends all over the world, including the honor of meeting Mr. Dirk, --AIJA´s President--. What a charismatic person! I will not ever forget neither the wonderful dinner that AIJA had set up for us in Santiago downtown at that fancy and prestigious club!
I was impressed on how AIJA had taken care of every single detail during the trip for all of us, and had taken that to perfection. Finally, the congress got to its end, and everything seemed to pass in one second! I got back to my country with more general knowledge in certain specific law areas, but I brought with me the precious moments that I lived there. I brought with me dozens of business cards, and friends too. I came back with more energy to face my job, and more ideas to combine it with. I came back looking forward to get a computer in order to become an AIJA member, and also with the great intention in the soon future to represent AIJA in Costa Rica, as many members suggested that to me during the stay in Santiago. I finally brought back more inspiration, more experiences, vibrations, and many more reasons to appreciate the exquisite beauty of life. In few words, the trip met even more than all of the expectatives that I had from it.
Now I am part of the great association of AIJA, and am waiting to receive orders from them. I have offered my help for anything they consider I might be helpful at. I close down this letter, by stating and replying once more, my appreciation with this organization, and specially with their bright members, organizers, and staff in general that I got to meet in Santiago.
Sincerely yours, and from a Sunny Costa Rican Day,
Article by Juan José Acuña Leandro, Costa Rica
AIJA Scholarship, Santiago de Chile 2014
LL.M. in Transnational Commercial Practice - Reduced rates for AIJA members
29 April 2015
The Center for International Legal Studies will continue to offer members of AIJA 50% tuition scholarships for the LL.M. in Transnational Commercial Practice in 2016.
Two-week sessions are held in April and June in Budapest. The degree is granted by Lazarski University, one of Poland’s top-ranked law schools, and the program is conducted in cooperation with Eötvös Loránd University and Boston University School of Law. The degree can be completed with two-week sessions in April and/or June over two or three years. Sixteen lawyers from 11 countries participated in the spring 2015 session. The standard tuition has been fixed at US $3400 for April 2016 and $3800 for June 2016. AIJA members interested in the AIJA LL.M. scholarships should advise the AIJA office and the CILS office.
Anita Gerdin, Norwegian National Representative, talks about AIJA
18 December 2014
In its world expansion, AIJA doesn't forget to consolidate its Northern network. You can read here a nice article (in Norwegian) about AIJA published today in the Norwegian Bar Association Magazine. Go AIJA go!
AIJA Congress on German legal press
02 December 2014
The Deutscher Anwaltverein, German Bar Association, has published an interesting article about AIJA and the last Annual Congress, held in Prague in August 2014. Vielen Dank to our German colleagues and in particular to Julia Blind, German National Representative of AIJA! Read here the article
My Name is Bond. Argentina Bond
24 October 2014
AIJA on Swedish press
07 October 2014
Click here to read an interview to Johan Myrén, AIJA National Representative in Sweden.
Be fast and save €50.000 for your clients through investing into Hungarian EU residency permit in 2014
30 September 2014
Hungary issued the Hungarian Residency Bonds with a face value of €250,000 and a maturity of 5 years under legislation approved in 2012. The Hungarian Residency Bond system is considered as one of the best residency programs in the world, as other countries offering Residency Investment Programs either require a substantial real estate purchase or a much higher financial contribution.
By investing into Hungarian Residency Bonds, a foreign national - individual or via his/her majority-owned company - can obtain a Hungarian EU residency permit. As a result, the resident and his/her family can travel, work and live visa free in the Schengen area: he/she can stay freely in any Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days from any 180 days. On the other hand, having such a residency permit does not oblige the investor to spend any time in Hungary, if he/she does not wish to do so.
After 6 months of having the initial residency permit, the Hungarian residence permit can be converted into a permanent residence permit which is valid for life. On the other hand, after 5 years when the bond is paid back, the applicant is still qualified for permanent residency, i.e. can keep the permit. This way obtaining the residency permit is rather to be considered as an investment.
The process of obtaining the Hungarian EU residency is simple and very fast. If all the paperwork is in order, the residency permit is issued in 8 days, exceptionally fast within the EU.
By the end of August 2014 the Hungarian Government Debt Management Agency sold 1102 residency bonds. The popularity of the program allowed the government to recently submit a bill to the Parliament that would raise the face value of the residency bonds to €300,000 as of January 1st 2015.
By the end of 2014 the applicants can still buy their Hungarian EU residency permit for €250,000, which is €50,000 less as if they would by it in 2015.
For more information please contact:
Dr. Anna Ranky LL.M, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranky Law Firm, www.rankyugyved.hu
Let the data earn, but safely!
30 September 2014
Technology, software and internet-based programs now allow companies to sort and share their data in a sophisticated way in order to increase profits, gain new clients and create more opportunities. But new technologies also come with risks in the area of data storage, especially sensitive data.
We see potential risks in: (i) the possibility of unauthorized access to data saved in the cloud; and (ii) access to data within the company using “big data” technologies.
Liability of statutory body
Such unauthorized access to data may cause damage to the company. The responsibility for making decisions about using new data storage technologies, whether in fact provided by an IT specialist or CIO, always lies with the statutory body of the company.
Why should the statutory body always pay attention? In the case of insufficient data security the statutory body risks a breach of professional care.
It is very probable that the courts will apply their previous decisions regarding the breach of professional care and the duty of the statutory body relating to the security of data storage in the company. If the statutory body is aware of specific cyber threats or, even worse, if the company has already experienced an unauthorized intrusion, it is necessary to act quickly and reduce the risks of the possible liability of the statutory body. It is possible to ensure the company avoids damages while still being able to use the technology.
Issues to be considered in your company
Company using technology for storage sensitive data in the cloud or using “big data” technology needs to consider following issues and implement them within the company:
- Consider what can be done to reduce the risk related to security of company data storage;
- Identify measures that had been previously performed in improving the security of data storage and preventing possible breaches. If the measures have not been implemented, they should be implemented as soon as possible. If they have already been implemented, they should be restored or improved;
- Contractually regulate the liability of providers of cloud storage so that it is safe enough for the company regarding all the risks;
- Negotiate or increase the limit of insurance of data security protection that the company manages or handles.
Rentsch Legal Prague, Czech Republic email@example.com
Force majeure" contractual protection in Israel?
30 September 2014
A brief insight pursuant to Operation "Protective Edge" 2014
Adv. Benjamin Leventhal
Litigation Partner at Gideon Fisher & Co. Tel Aviv Israel
The doctrine of force majeure, meaning a contractual protection/disclaimer for non-performance of a contractual obligation due to unexpected occurrences, usually applies also to instances of acts of war; military acts; hostilities; terrorist activities and more, and in many cases a party invoking said argument (assuming fulfillment of common conditions), will indeed be entitled to protection from breach of contractual obligations.
In Israel, however, while based on the similar principals of law (a rather interesting combination of common law and civil code), the doctrine applies rather differently, and is very limited in providing force majeure protection in cases of acts of war, terrorism, militant hostilities etc., if at all.
Contracting parties regarding an Israeli related matter or party, would NOT be able in many cases to use the argument of force majeure based on act of war or terrorist activity (such as the 2014 "Protective Edge" operation) to justify noncompliance or nonperformance of a contractual obligation – this is because in Israel, the courts perceive the foreseeability of acts of war as something a contracting party must or should take into consideration when doing Israeli related business.
This approach originated in the 1970's, where the courts held that until Israel reaches the peace longed for with its neighbors, the risk of war at any designated time, close or remote, always exist, and the unpredictability of peace and war is actually the predictable for any Israeli (that should always predict a possible state of war).
There seems to be a slight movement in the case law toward applying a more somewhat liberal approach applying the force majeure doctrine.
Thus, in Israel, it is extremely important to be aware of the somewhat different status of the "force majeure" doctrine and the following:
- Control the unknown rather than have the unknown control you.
- In case of failure of any kind to perform contract, due to the military operation "protective Edge", or such militant occurrences - breaching party may be prevented to raise the "force majeure" defense, and perhaps remedy is in place.
- For a breaching party it is important to align the "force majeure" argument with the case law in order to achieve protection from claims of remedy etc.
For the full article please visit the website www.fisher-lawfirm.com
3D Printing and Intellectual Property
28 March 2014
1. Introduction: What is 3D Printing?
Although 3D printing has become much more widely known, it is still a concept that is unfamiliar to many, and more have never seen the technology in action. A 3D printer is a machine that builds objects, by adding very tiny layers of material on top of each other - effectively, it “prints” in three dimensions.
The cheapest 3D printers are now available for less than $1,000, and they can be used to print objects as varied as coat hangers, teacups, cufflinks, toy cars, and Christmas decorations, all at a negligible cost. These 3D printers can, however, also build prototype models of new product designs; something which typically costs many hundreds or thousands of dollars to have made. Importantly, 3D printer technology is booming and evolving fast.
The potential impact of the 3D printer on society at large has been compared to that of the PC – arguably, it may be bigger. Imagine a company’s products no longer being manufactured in China but around the corner in a “print-shop”. Once such manufacturing becomes widespread, it might be possible to scrap half the world’s shipping fleet and reduce the ecological impact of any such production significantly. Because 3D printing is what is called “additive” manufacturing, it produces significantly less waste than traditional manufacturing, which still uses the “carving out and throwing the waste away” approach. Moreover, 3D printing already uses many materials such as plastics, metals, ceramics, bio-materials (including both foodstuffs and elements of human tissue such as cartilage, or a lower jaw, or the carrying structure of organs such as kidneys, with items as varied as drugs (DNA-based 3D printing) and guns just around the corner.
2. Technological and Market Evolution
3D printing has evolved quite fast, particularly at the low-end, customer-facing side of the technology. While companies such as Materialise and 3D Systems have grown significantly by providing better and cheaper products at the high-end (allowing much cheaper and complex prototype development), there has been a boom in businesses offering DIY (indeed) 3D printers, from companies such as Ultimaker, Makerbot, RepRap, and PP3DP. These printers have become faster and more reliable, and smaller and more sophisticated. This has allowed the scope of items that can be produced with a 3D printer to expand greatly.
While such hardware advances are impressive, the real fast growth in respect of 3D printing is, as always, in software. Designs of printable objects have increased significantly spectacularly thanks to websites such as Fabber, Shapeways, Ponoko and Thingiverse. One of the more interesting designs seen recently is the 3D printing of vinyl records – with the music on it! While the technology is not quite yet at the desired level, it gives an idea of things to come. Does that mean that consumers will be able to physically copy their old vinyl record collections soon?
3. Intellectual Property Developments.
The world of intellectual property, not surprisingly, has taken notice of 3D printing and a number of trends are, consequently, starting to emerge.
First, patent trolls have attempted to try and cash in on 3D printing. In true patent troll spirit, former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures filed a patent on a system of digital rights management (“DRM”) control of 3D printing. Such a system would mean that anyone who wants to 3D print certain files, would have to pay a license fee. It is not quite clear who to, or why, but it looks like Intellectual Ventures wants to be able to collect significant amounts of money based on the innovation and creativity of others. In a similar vein, 3D Systems, an established 3D printing business, has filed a lawsuit against Kickstarter, the online crowdsourcing funding platform for creative projects. In the lawsuit, 3D Systems has asked the courts to block funding for a project 3D Systems alleges would infringe some of its intellectual property rights. This is an interesting case, since 3D Systems seems to assume that because they own certain rights, they would have a right to stop Kickstarter from allowing fundraising for a potential competitor who might, possibly, be in breach of those rights. We therefore appear to be seeing the first signs of intellectual property rights holders trying to levy their usual tax on innovation into a new field.
Secondly, and more interestingly, a pushback has occurred within parts of the 3D printing community. Unlike when the first PCs were introduced and the concept of open source was not around, a lot of 3D printing technology, both hardware and software, is open source. This has spurred the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) into trying to crowdsource efforts to prevent the potential damage to innovation done by patents such as the ones filed by Intellectual Ventures. While this points to obvious serious flaws in the patent system, which, certainly in the US, continues to lay monopolistic claims to existing technology, or on the basis of mere ideas, it is interesting that crowdsourcing of information is being used to try to remedy this. One could opine that establishing prior art is really the job of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but that would require a far more detailed analysis of the political debate concerning intellectual property rights.
Thirdly, the question of DRM-protection of printable files seems awkwardly timed, now that most DRM for either music or ebooks can be easily circumvented or lifted. Similarly, Apple has lifted DRM protection for iTunes music files, and, at the same time, anyone who really wants to, is capable of technically circumventing most DRM protections currently used. This all leads to the question: what would be the business value of patent on a control system that is full of holes?
4. Conclusion: Foreseeable Trends
While it is of course very dangerous to try to predict the future, there are certain trends in respect of 3D printing that we can start to discern.
On the technology side, it looks like the development of 3D printing technology is both speeding up and spreading out. More applications, more advancement, and more innovation is likely to take place. When people have already receive body-implants for a lower jaw printed by 3D printing in 2012, who knows where the limits of the technology are. Also, since 3D printing is spreading through communities of “makers”, the innovative advantages of an open source approach will probably lead to ever faster incremental improvements.
However, the intellectual property aspects of 3D printing look like they will be more complex and problematic. The key issue with patents is that they remain very hard to enforce in an open environment – when even at the level of the mobile phone market, for example, patent litigation is clearly not cost-effective, and destroys a lot of shareholder value. Given the myriad of developers and makers that may become involved in the 3D printing sector, such enforcement will only become more difficult.
Design rights also remain problematic; indeed, it is hard to see how design rights or design patents will be useful in blocking access to the market of competitive designs or products. Along with the issue of the cost-effectiveness of litigating to prevent products that can be produced at much lower price, such efforts will also meet with both practical and political problems.
Finally, there is the issue of copyright and the files containing the information allowing an object to be printed. If I design a chair, or a tower for my toy castle that fits neatly with a Game of Thrones-branded game, I do actually own the copyright in the digital file of such tower I designed myself, even if that resembles or fits well with a design from someone else. It is not clear how the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act would apply to such a file, unless copyright as it applies to such files were fundamentally changed – right now, copyright only applies to the code, not what the code does. BitTorrent sites and other peer-to-peer technologies are already developing rapidly growing forums where people can share their files to be printed. It will be a lot less clear how right holders for different products will be able to claim that they have rights in a file in the popular 3D printing “.stl” format developed by someone else that allows for the printing of a product that looks like, but is not quite, their original product. It is therefore likely that the near future will see a battle between those who want more control over the Internet (the right holders), and those who want to use it for the purpose of sharing and innovating (the 3D-printing communities).
Access to the Profession: Spain v. USA
28 March 2014
A Bit about Us…
We met in Barcelona, Spain at the 50th Annual AIJA Congress and have since kept in touch. Melanie works in Texas, USA and Montse in Barcelona, Spain (Catalonia). Although at first glance young lawyers around the world have differences, we live within similar realities. Through our similarities and differences, we have developed a strong friendship, out of which this article developed.
The current state of the legal profession for all lawyers – not just recent graduates and junior lawyers – is difficult. We are a global bar of competent, skilled individuals. But as AIJA Immediate Past President Thierry Aballéa recently acknowledged during a panel on professional organizations (Spring 2013 Meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) – Section of International Law), securing employment within the legal profession is a real issue affecting junior and senior lawyers alike.
For young lawyers, however, gaining access to the legal profession is especially challenging because we are still growing in our knowledge and skills. We have demonstrated our abilities to learn the law, but we desperately seek the opportunities to apply this knowledge. And because of our enthusiasm to relate, grow, and help, the profession needs us now more than ever to continue changing and improving. But how, given the current limited access to the profession? The answer is to start building genuine relationships – based on the foundation of acquired legal knowledge and skills – as soon as possible.
Law school . . .
Access to the profession should begin in those three years of law school. Here, law students can take on leadership and volunteer roles to increase visibility among professors, peers, and experienced lawyers in their communities. Involvement does not have to be exclusively local. Law students can take advantage of discounted rates to become student members of professional legal and other community organizations. Law students can seek out scholarships to help finance trips to networking and leadership events. However, signing up for an opportunity should reflect a genuine interest to become involved in a cause or subject matter. Asking law professors for help connecting to those they may know in a particular area of interest and being willing to help when a need arises are good ways to stand out. Even dedicating a small portion of time may help a law student get attention early on that can help to keep a law student top-of-mind for a more experienced lawyer later on.
. . . and beyond
Internships and clerkships within the US and abroad are important stepping stones from studies to practice for law students and recent graduates. These websites can help connect law students and young lawyers to internship opportunities. Search functions allow for locating an ideal place to obtain experience depending on size, location, practice areas, language, etc.
In the US, several law graduates struggle with access to the profession especially while waiting for bar exam results. Some good ways to get started in the profession post-bar exam are by attending continuing legal education events, local or state bar association gatherings or conferences, and other legal and community organizations’ events.
For junior lawyers, opportunities continue to abound. Ideas include seeking out volunteer opportunities (i.e. seasonal or annual meetings) or leadership positions within the ABA (i.e. the ABA’s leadership portal), local and state bar associations (i.e. Texas Young Lawyers Association), and other community-based organizations (i.e. Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce, etc.). Opportunities to increase visibility for young lawyers include organizing and presenting on panels, assisting a senior lawyer with a law-review article or other research, volunteering at a local legal clinic, etc.
In the US, access to the profession should start early and be genuine. In-person interactions are best to foster meaningful relationships with new colleagues, but having a professional online presence is important, too. For example, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile . . . And 18 Mistakes to Avoid (available on Amazon.com) is an easy-to-follow guide for anyone looking to quickly enhance his or her online readiness to compete for employment in the legal profession.
The issue of access to the profession for young and recently graduated lawyers in Spain is also experiencing a critical moment. So many new graduates in Spain cannot find a way to begin to practice law in professional firms earning a fixed salary. Some decide to start working on their own; some begin gaining experience as interns; and others choose to study for public exams to work as civil servants, etc.
In Spain, a law degree requires about four years of studying (five years at some universities), and most universities teach law in a very theoretical way. Because of this, after finishing legal studies, graduates may choose to study at the School of Legal Practice (La Escuela de Práctica Jurídica), where they can complete a Master’s degree with the aim of preparing recent graduates for the practice of law.
Practical Skills Training
The Spanish Law of Access to the Legal Profession (Ley 34/2006 sobre el acceso a las profesiones de Abogado y Procurador de los Tribunales) set out the content and regulations of this Master’s degree focused on obtaining practical skills for the legal profession.
The Law, which came into force on October 31, 2011, states that to obtain the professional title of lawyer, a person must complete the following requirements:
- Have the degree or graduate degree in law;
- Prove successful completion of a specialized training course;
- Overcome an aptitude test.
The Master’s degree also consists of supervised external practices, which represent approximately 30 additional credits. Future lawyers may obtain experience by practicing in courts as prosecutors or working in professional offices, prisons, or in the health or social-services sectors.
My own experience was with the Bar Association in Terrassa (Barcelona), where the classes were theoretical and practical. My classes included trial preparation and simulation as well as other collateral disciplines such as ethics, psychology, mediation, and arbitration. These skills-based courses helped to prepare me to be practice-ready after finishing.
Social Activities and Networking
For young lawyers in Spain, access to the profession also requires more than just acquiring legal education and skills. It is also very important to develop a good social network – not only of potential clients but also of other colleagues. In each Bar Association in Spain there exists a Young Lawyers Group. These Groups focus on providing young-lawyer participants with relevant courses, interactive meetings, and social dinners to promote positive relationships among young lawyers just beginning to practice law.
For those interested in learning more about professional networking for young lawyers in Spain, these websites may be of interest:
In conclusion, both in the USA and Spain, young people reaching the end of law school must deal with the uncertainty of the current legal market with a serious attitude toward personal and professional development. Now is the moment to start building genuine relationships as soon as possible to take advantage of our unique generation of new technologies that allow us to create better, wider networks. During law school and beyond is the time to continue working to improve our skills and learning each day with optimism, effort, and passion to create more productive and fruitful relationships with our colleagues and potential clients. We are the future of the legal profession, and we need to recognize our critical position and opportunity to contribute our talents in the forms of knowledge, skills, and relationships like never before.
Written by Montse Pujol & Melanie Glover
New anti-corruption laws in Brazil
28 March 2014
Law 12.846/13, known as the Anticorruption Law, came into force recently, and will have repercussions on companies all over the country.
None of the rules in force up till now in Brazil have affected businesses in the same way as Law 12.846. The main differential of the new punitive measures in relation to the already existing laws in Brazil, which only managed to punish directly individual persons, is that, under the new law, legal entities can now be held liable, following the example of the U.S. and British legislation (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act respectively).
Under the new law, even if the company involved alleges that there was no fault or fraud, it will be held liable (strict liability). Accordingly, even if an employee or collaborator commits an act of corruption without the agreement or knowledge of the company, and such act causes loss to the national or a foreign government, the company will be held liable for such conduct.
Note also that the liability of the company does not exclude the individual liability of its directors or managers or of any person who committed or participated in the illegal act, although the law warrants that “the directors or administrators shall only be held liable for illegal acts to the extent of their culpability”.
The punishments that companies may receive, if they act in an illegal manner, are very severe. The law stipulates fines in the administrative area which may attain 20% of the company’s gross sales for the financial year prior to the opening of the administrative procedure, and if it is not possible to apply the criterion of annual sales, the fine will vary between R$ 6.000 and R$ 60 million, provided that it may not be less than the advantage gained from the act of corruption. Another measure to punish legal entities is to include the company in the National Registry of Companies Punished (CNEP), in which case it is prevented from participating in public bids or competitions.
The anticorruption law also affects those who use intermediaries in order to benefit in some way civil servants and also prohibits a number of acts that compromise the competitive nature of public bids or the equilibrium of administrative contracts.
Another novelty relates to cases of mergers or acquisitions, where the new owner may be held liable for an act of corruption committed by the company acquired, even if the act occurred prior to the purchase.
Although there are many uncertainties as to how the authorities will apply the new legislation, and the law itself generates doubts in many aspects, giving rise to differing interpretations, the fact is that its entry into force will have a serious impact on the way in which companies will henceforth conduct their business.
And, if the U.S. legislation (FCPA), which serves to a large extent as a model for the Brazilian law, is an indication of what is to come, companies have every reason to be concerned as to the manner in which they conduct their businesses, in view of the billion-dollar fines applied by the U.S. authorities, which are becoming more and more common, not to mention the depreciation that the company may suffer as a result of loss of reputation and discredit in the marketplace.
On the other hand, if there exist motives for concern, at least the law contains a clue as to the best means of protection against possible punishment, by stipulating that “the existence of internal mechanisms and procedures of integrity, auditing and incentives to denounce irregularities and the effective application of codes of ethics and conduct within the ambit of the legal entity will be taken into consideration on the imposition of the sanctions”.
As in the case of the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act, the Brazilian law provides for the possibility of internal control mechanisms for the purpose at least of attenuating the situation of companies in the event of punishment.
Hence the importance of developing effective and well-structured compliance programmes, which should contain, for example, a mapping and monitoring of risks, the preparation of internal rules and procedures, the creation of codes of conduct, the holding of training sessions, the creation of channels for submitting accusations, among other measures that allow the control and correction of possible illegal practices, all with a view to avoiding punishment for the company and its members, or at least limiting their liabilities.
These programmes, much more than a passing whim, are mechanisms that will prove to be more and more essential in the structure of companies, and particularly multinationals, which may also be subject to foreign laws on the same matter.
However, it is not sufficient to use the compliance programmes of the parent company. It is necessary to adapt them to the Brazilian reality and also to ensure that they will be strictly enforced, by means of continuous monitoring. Note that the obligation also extends to intermediaries, independent contractors, facilitating agents, suppliers and any other partners and/or collaborators who may interact in any way with public departments or civil servants.
In any case, there is no single formula. The fact is that the law is there, and, if its application comes anywhere near to what has been seen in the United States and Great Britain, with the constantly increasing number of enormous fines, companies have every reason to be concerned as to the adoption of immediate effective preventive measures to avoid problems under the new legislation.
Written by Stüssi-Neves Advogados
Antitrust 2.0 – Competition Law and Technology
28 March 2014
Bruges 06 – 08 February 2014
Discussing the fast evolving high-tech industries and the applicability of traditional concepts of competition in the setting of the historic medieval Bruges – not a contradiction at all! As the city where the first commodity exchange was set up in the 14th century and where fantastic frites, waffles and beer contribute to the well-being of seminar attendants, of course, Bruges was the perfect location for a seminar dealing with a topic that has come more and more to the focus of competition regulators in recent years.
The Antitrust 2.0 Seminar in Bruges was perfectly organized by the Antitrust Commission and attracted not only 70 participants of more than 15 different jurisdictions, but also allowed an interesting exchange with professors and students from the College of Europe in Bruges joining the Seminar.
The presentations covered a broad range of hot topics, starting with an update on the new TTBER and an overview on how these new rules will affect practice. Further the topic that market power triggers great responsibility and the problem that high market shares as well as possession of standard essential patents are likely to be put on a level with the abuse of a dominant position was addressed. Moreover, a very recent topical issue was discussed: the regulation of internet services, covering new developments on travel markets from a competition law perspective, the EU Google investigation and an insight to German antitrust cases in the internet economy. The Seminar continued in the light of patent litigation and settlements, also dealing with the limits of settlements as well as pay-for-delay and antitrust boundaries when it comes to patent strategies and potential abuse of dominance followed by presentations on interoperability.
As always, the AIJA Seminar was a perfect occasion to meet old friends and make new acquaintances in a relaxed atmosphere and at wonderful dinners in the unique setting of Bruges. And of course, the guided tour in the only family brewery in the centre of Bruges that is still active was a perfect conclusion of the Seminar.
Last but not least I would like to thank the organizers for their great efforts in making the Antitrust 2.0 Seminar in Bruges to such an unforgettable event.
The German Bar Association talks about AIJA
04 December 2013
German speakers will definitely be glad to read this article about AIJA appeared on the official publication of DAV, German Bar Association, International Section. Not a surprise that our dear Julia Blind won the award as AIJA Best National Representative this year. Danke schön Julia! Click here to read the article
AIJA President, Thierry Aballéa, writes to President Obama
17 July 2013
Due to recent developments in Guantanamo, AIJA President, Thierry Aballéa, writes to President Obama to invite him to close the place once and for all.
Considering the historic contribution of the USA to the respect of the Rule of Law, Thierry writes “We ask you to devote your energy to getting rid of this blot on American democracy that Guantanamo represents, that time may help to erase quicker on condition that you act immediately”.
AIJA has few resources, no networks, no budget, no constraints…. yet youth has the gift of always believing in a better future.
Hope is sometimes very powerful as we have seen in many countries over the last two years and it is with a great deal of hope that AIJA sends that letter.
AIJA meets the CESA in São Paulo, Brazil
27 June 2013
On 25 June AIJA Members Renata Antiquera and Felipe Faltay Katz de Castro visited CESA (Law Firms’ Studies Centre) in São Paulo (Brazil), the strongest association of law firms in Brazil. An interesting meeting with over 70 lawyers to talk about AIJA and its outstanding network of 4000 members.
Participants of the meeting were especially intrigued by the 51st Annual Congress which will take place in Buenos Aires in September. We are sure to see lots of them attending!
AIJA Members awarded at the Europe Women in Business Law 2013
25 June 2013
- Pauliina Tenhunen, Castrén & Snellman, Managing Director et trésorière honoraire de l'AIJA , a encore une fois reçu le Meilleur Prix d'Excellence en gouvernance d'entreprise à l'occasion de l'enquête annuelle menée auprès les femmes européennes spécialisées en droit des affaires et réalisée par Euromoney LMG, qui distingue les femmes avocates exerçant dans les différents domaines du droit. Pauliina a été choisi comme lauréat parmi six autres candidates issues des différents cabinets d'avocats européens.
- Le Cabinet Portolano Cavallo a été récompensé par les femmes européennes en droit des affaires de l' Awards 2012 pour l'Italie. Manuela Cavallo, l'une des membres fondatrices et membre du Bureau élargi de l'AIJA, a déclaré:«cette reconnaissance européenne reconnaît une façon de penser qui a façonné notre cabinet d'avocats dès son début et continue de le faire encore aujourd'hui: avec comme objectif de créer un environnement de travail favorisant l'égalité des chances pour tous nos professionnels et personnels. Aujourd'hui, c'est avec une grande satisfaction,que je peux dire que nos chiffres le confirment: 40% de nos partenaires sont des femmes et 47% des professionnels sont des femmes ".