LAWASIA Golden Jubilee Conference to host high profile speakers

Monday, 1 August 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

LAWASIA, the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, will celebrate its Golden Jubilee at its 29th conference, to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, hosted and organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka from 12-15 August 2016.

The annual LAWASIA conference is an occasion where judges, lawyers and others from the world’s legal community gather to discuss a wide range of issues related to legal practice, developments in the law, human rights and other topics of interest both to legal professionals and the wider community.

The speakers for this conference will be drawn from more than twenty jurisdictions in Asia, the Pacific and beyond, ensuring a lively and wide-ranging approach to material.

The Head of the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific,  Joao Ribeiro is among the high profile speakers who will share expertise with conference delegates.   Ribeiro will address a plenary session on the topic of the Role of UNCITRAL in trade and economic development.  In addition to his UNCITRAL expertise, Ribeiro’s experience is drawn from other roles he has held, including as Head of International Affairs of the Ministry of Justice of Portugal, Deputy Secretary General of the Conferences of Ministers of Justice, of the Iberian-American countries and of the Portuguese speaking countries, member of the Portuguese National Commission for Human Rights and member of the Portuguese Permanent Bilateral Cooperation Commissions with the USA and Macau.

A further plenary session will be addressed by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the fifth President of the Republic of Sri Lanka.  Kumaratunga’s  views on the topic of Reconciliation will be of undoubted interest to local and international delegates alike.

The conference work program comprises 25 streamed work sessions to augment the plenary offerings with a range of topical themes promoting regional discourse on current matters of legal interest.

Of particular relevance to the region’s legal community will be a session on alternative dispute resolution, which will focus not only on the more traditional area of arbitration, but will also include an examination of the growth and efficacy of community mediation in Sri Lanka. 

An environmental law session will bring a focus to air pollution in Asian cities, and will be addressed by the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales in Australia, Justice Brian Preston SC.  He will be joined on this panel by eminent judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Justice ShiraneeTilakawardane, well known in Sri Lankan legal circles as a pioneering woman lawyer and judge. Amy Rose, Head of Strategic Litigation at ClientEarth, an NGO devoted to using the law and legal tools to contribute to environmental campaigns and  Shyam Divan, eminent Indian advocate in environmental matters will complete the panel.

A session that will provide perspectives on the topic of judicial review of executive decision and legislative action boasts three very eminent speakers.  Joining the President of the Malaysian Bar, Steven Thiruneelakandan, will be Sri Lankan MP, Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne and Additional Solicitor General for India, Dr Pinky Anand, to examine this topic from the differing experiences in their own jurisdictions.

The LAWASIA Human Rights Section has arranged a session that will look into the reaction of the legal community to the current and unprecedented refugee crises experienced throughout the world as a result of violence, conflict and economic privation.  Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer (German Federal Bar) Vice President Dr Martin Abend, will speak about European experiences in this context, with  Mark Daly, a Hong Kong expert and  GS Lakshan JS Dias of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network sharing Asia Pacific views.

An ongoing interest amongst lawyers in the role that they play in ensuring that business investment is informed by consideration of its impact on human rights is the subject matter for further human rights-based discussion.  Chaired by Professor Yasushi Higazhizawa an expert from Japan in this area, the session will see speakers from Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia share views on the levels at which lawyers as business advisors are able to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Commercial lawyers are well catered to in the conference program, with several sessions bringing regional perspectives to the effects of approaches such as the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBPR)and to current thinking about how to foster economic integration between Europe and Asia in trade and investments.

Similarly, sessions on intellectual property, media law, IT law, banking, finance and taxation will all provide regional coverage of latest developments to enhance the knowledge of business lawyers. The LAWASIA Judicial Section, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of New South Wales in Australia,  TF Bathurst, is mounting a plenary session to be addressed by Justice Virginia Bell AC of Australia’s High Court, and Justice Steven Chong, from Singapore’s Supreme Court and a former Singapore Attorney General.

A further judicial session will address case management though court annexed mediation, and other developments, with speakers including Judge Clifford Wallace, Senior Judge and Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States Court of Appeals, Justice Madan Lokur from the Supreme Court of India, Justice Deepthi Amaratunga, Puisne Judge of the High Court of Fiji and Justice Julie Ward from the New South Wales Court of Appeal in Australia.

A high point of every annual LAWASIA conference is the GL Sanghi Memorial Lecture, delivered to honour the memory of a former LAWASIA president and eminent member of the Indian legal profession.  

The 2016 lecture will be delivered by Dr Gordon Hughes, who addition to being a prominent Australian and international expert in IT and intellectual property law, has presided over LAWASIA, the Law Council of Australia and the Law Institute of Victoria.  Dr Hughes will focus his remarks on the role played by the legal profession and its representative bodies in protecting human rights and public interest.