Sydney Hosted Global Lawyers IBA Conference 2017

"Nepali Lawyer urged Global Lawyers Network for Rule of Law"
-- नेपाली टाइम्स अस्ट्रेलिया / प्रकाशित मिति : शनिबार, कार्तिक १८, २०७४

Constituion of Nepal 2015 sets its uniqueness in world’s constitutional history and Nepali lawyers demonstrated historic roles, says Nepali Lawyer in global lawyer’s mela of IBA Conference 2017 hosted by Sydney for the first time in 70 Years history of IBA.

Recently, biggest mela of global lawyers in the Annual Conference of International Bar Association (IBA) has been commenced on 13th October at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney.  IBA’s Annual Conference is the premier conference for legal professionals worldwide to meet, share knowledge, network, build contacts and develop business. It serves to advance the development of international law and its role in business and society and to provide members with world-class professional development opportunities to enable them to deliver outstanding legal services.

The IBA’s first Annual Conference was held in 1947 and it has grown to become the world’s largest and most prestigious leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations, law firms and law societies that influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of more than 80,000 individual lawyers and more than 190 bar associations and law societies spanning over 170 countries.

The IBA’s principle objectives are to exchange information among professionals around the globe, to support for constitutional development and dialogue and independence of judiciary and right of lawyers, to support for human rights for lawyers around the world, to work for the development of international law and to work for harmonisation of international law.

The Six days conference was inaugurated on October 8 at the Convention Centre of ICC Sydney. The President of IBA Martin Šolc in his opening statement stated that long-held cherished societal and legal values are being challenged in today’s difficult times. He pointed to the French example, where anti-terrorist laws that would give police sweeping powers to arrest and detain without due process are compromising the rule of law. He therefore called upon delegates to speak openly and all legal practitioners to remember their hallowed responsibilities.

Rule of Law, Order and Sovereignty: Islamic terrorism, renegade nations who challenge allegiance to global order, and rising aggressive populism.

The Chief Justice of Australia, Susan Kiefel addressed the issue of independence of lawyers, and declared that those practicing must be able “to exercise independent judgment and the ability to act free from external pressures.

The Attorney General of Australia, Senator George Brandis, spoke on the need to uphold the current global order. He pointed out that the institution of nation states is under peril, as the global order faces its existential threats. He identified three trends that threaten the Rule of Law, Order and Sovereignty: Islamic terrorism, renegade nations who challenge allegiance to global order, and rising aggressive populism. Lawyers have a role to play, to ensure that those trends do not derail the rule of law. They must recognize their obligations to defending the pillars on which society itself is built, beyond their mere obligations to their clients.  “Upholding the rule of law may involve …controversy, it may extend to the powerful, or to those thinking above the law, the marginalized or the despised. Lawyers, who do so, serve the finest traditions of our profession.”

IBA Annual conference was also attended by Nepali delegates including President and Secretary General of Nepal Bar Association Sher Bahadur Kc and Khamma Bahadur Khati respectively. Probably, for the first time from Nepali lawyers, IBA invited as Guest Speaker Advocate Saroj Krishna Ghimire, a Constitutional and Commercial lawyer of Nepal, to speak on the lawyers’ role in constitutional development in one of IBA’s session. Mr Ghimire in his presentation recalled all Nepali lawyers who always stood to defy any actions against constitutional movement, independence of judiciary, human rights, democratic values and freedom in the past. He expressed that Nepal Bar was always leading civil society in all democratic movements and in Constitutional development of Nepal and Nepal Bar has been playing is best as watch dog of civilization and democracy.

Mr Ghimire also mentioned that Nepal Bar Association got constitutional uniqueness and Nepali lawyers have taken the monopoly in legal profession to support judiciary in implementing and interpreting constitution. He recalled the historic roles Nepali lawyers played to guarantee Rule of Law and civil rights in the Constitution 2015.

Mr Ghimire in his deliberation highlighted in brief about the constitutional history of Nepal where Nepali people witnessed seven constitutions in seventy years including peaceful conclusion of Maoist armed conflict, abolition of monarch and promulgation of a constitution by the constitutional assembly declaring Nepal a federal republic and secular country. Mr. Ghimire also highlighted about the independency of judiciary guaranteed by the Constitution 2015 and briefed about the objective of establishing Nepal Bar Association to ensure an independent and responsible judiciary, to promote the Rule of Law, democracy and human rights and to promote and protect professional interest of the lawyers. He also pointed about the recent constitutional challenges arises due to conflict among executive, judiciary and legislatures including the impeachment against Chief Justice. He appreciated the role of the Nepal Bar Association for its contribution in upholding rule of law constitutional values, democracy and human rights and expressed that Nepali lawyers have played as catalysts for democratic movement and constitutional reforms of the nation and have been a force for all movements.

Similar challenges are at the Bar that lacks constitutional law practitioners and polarisation of Nepali lawyers due to political affiliations in developing their professional thoughts and opinions.

He also highlighted the importance of global lawyers networking that gives opportunity to global lawyers to share their constitutional development and educate and share via networking to contribute towards the development of constitution to build a society that ensures rules of Rule of Law, democracy, independence of judiciary and human right.

In his conclusive observation Mr Ghimire expressed that the Constitution 2015 also contains various ambiguities and vagueness and lacks craftsmanship of drafting the constitution. Hence, there is potentiality of various constitutional litigations however the reality is that the Supreme Court contains minimal numbers of constitutional expert justices despite the provision of the constitutional setup of the Constitutional Bench to be presided by 5 senior justices of Supreme Court. Similar challenges are at the Bar that lacks constitutional law practitioners and polarisation of Nepali lawyers due to political affiliations in developing their professional thoughts and opinions.  Mr Ghimire also mentioned the role Nepali lawyers have played and the roles that requires to be played by the lawyers around the world and the outstanding role Nepali lawyers played by demonstrating their solidarity against any suppression by the executives  or legislatures around the world. Various dignitaries from different jurisdiction including Ukraine Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko, Scotland’s Advocate-General, Lord Richard Keen, QC, and UK House of Lords member Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC. Eminent Australian speakers include former prime minister John Howard, former High Court judges Mary Gaudron and Michael Kirby, former governor-general Quentin Bryce, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop,, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman and new Australian Human Rights Commission president Ros Croucher. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange expressed their views and interact with global lawyers too. The conference was concluded on October 13 .