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Brief history: Ten years ago, a member of a far-flung Bar association would rarely speak, let alone meet and discuss ideas, with counterparts on other side of the planet. Thirty years ago, they saw little reason at all for even talking. Today, thanks in part to the reforming spirit of the IBA and the impact of globalization, which has forced lawyers from multiple jurisdictions to link hands, lawyers regularly meet up to discuss issues which may have little directly to do with them. Dianna Kempe QC was surprised during her recent visit to Pacific Islands to find 40 lawyers from across the globe discussing matters of mutual interest. The degree of interaction between lawyers across the globe could not be more different than it was on February 17 and 18, 1947, at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, when the IBA was inaugurated. Representatives from almost 30 Bar Associations, including several from eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America, were present. The IBA’s founding principle is that it is non-profitable and non-governmental organization — “it is best to be inclusive and work within rather having a political standpoint,” says one IBA spokesman. It influences decision-makers by advising Bar leaders who then state their claims to their individual governments. Only Bar Associations or law societies were allowed to join the IBA. Associations within national umbrella bodies could sit in Council meetings, but had they had no voting rights. Individuals were barred from entry until 1972 when the lawyer George Seward convinced the IBA Council to let them join. Seward, now in his 90s, who also founded the IBA’s business section, is an honorary life president of the Association. It was considered that while the IBA was set up in the spirit of the League of Nations, the real work was done by individual lawyers. Therefore, it was deemed that they should have their say. The IBA quickly broke down into smaller groups so members could feel a sense of belonging, rather than joining a large, global organization in which they felt isolated and purposeless. Within several years, the business law, general practice — and a few years later, the energy and natural resource law sections — were established. Today, almost every Bar association is represented, while the number of individual members is growing. In 1972, when individual membership was granted, there were 1,100 members, increasing to 12,000 members a decade later. Today there are 16,000 members. VOTING The Council of the IBA meet twice a year, in early spring and at the main IBA conference. Candidates for the main posts in the Council, including the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary-General, are put forward during the spring session and nominated at the main conference. The nomination can be challenged by one Bar association with support from five other associations. This year, for instance, the Treasurer candidates, Willem Calkoen of Holland and Fernando Pombo of Spain, were challenged, as neither got a majority of the vote. Their appointments will be confirmed at the conference in Amsterdam. Efforts are made to get representations from different countries. The business law, general practice, and energy and natural resource law sections each have a chair, vice chair and treasurer. Those elected often go up the ladder until they reach chair. FUNDING Most funding comes from membership fees. IBA membership costs about $87 (�60) per year, while members from developing countries and academics have reductions of 40 per cent, and young lawyers 36-40 per cent reductions. Membership per IBA section costs almost $80 (�55). Members have to pay a third fee to join committees: the business law section has 30 committees — the first committee is free, and then it costs more than $11 (�8) per committee; there are 22 legal practice committees costing about $7.25 (�5) with the first being free. Membership of the energy law section is free. A fee is also attached for membership of the IBA’s interest groups comprising a variety of forums, such as the human rights forum, and regional forums including: Asia Pacific, Arab, Eastern Europe, judges, barristers and advocates, capital markets, and women. Other funds come from revenue from conferences, and a charitable trust formed by the IBA. The U.K.’s wing of the trust is called the IBA Educational Trust, and America’s the US Foundation. Much of the money is spent on the secretariat, the IBA’s 45-strong administration department. The IBA has an executive director, currently held by Paul Hoddinott, an executive assistant, and an IBA standing committee’s administrator. As the IBA is a non-profit organization, all profits are re-invested in building up the human rights in the Bars of developing countries. This program is run by the General Professional Programme Committee. Its chair is the IBA’s vice president. CONFERENCES AND PRESIDENTS Dianna Kempe QC, the incoming president, knows probably more than any other president of the IBA about the volume of work, dedication and idealism needed to reach that lofty post. As she says, there are thousands who want the job, but there are many restrictions. Women in particular are restricted from entry because the IBA’s corridors are a male-dominated world — just 10 per cent of IBA members are female. Kempe says that she had never thought for a moment about running for president until 1991 when colleagues convinced her that she had the credentials to make it happen. She had run her own successful law firm in Bermuda and was the first woman to be appointed president of the Bermuda Bar Council. Her commitment to human rights work and keen nose for business were ideal qualities for a potential president. She will follow Dr Klaus Bohlhoff, the outgoing president, who is said to have dramatically advanced human rights during his two-year term. Paul Hoddinott, the executive director of the IBA and the former British naval attach� in Washington, who has announced his intention to resign his post in December, says Bohlhoff enabled the IBA’s Human Rights Institute to come of age during his presidency. “This has made a huge difference in terms of getting people to listen to us,” Hoddinott says. Ross Harper, president from 1994-95, started the Human Rights Inspectorate and developed crucial links with South America, reaping rich rewards — in October a major human rights conference is taking place in Peru, hosted by the Lima Bar. This confirms the strong links with South America, going back to 1947, when representatives of the Bars of Venezuela, Argentina, Equador, and Brazil were present at the IBA’s inauguration. Diplomacy is a vital skill for the IBA president, responsible as he or she is for bringing together representatives from as many countries as possible to discuss issues of vital mutual interest. Local divisions have to be smoothed over, particularly to ensure that all IBA signatories are represented at its annual conference. In 1982 the president had to negotiate hard with Mrs. Gandhi to allow South Africa to send representatives for the IBA conference in New Delhi; in 1994, the South Africans had to be negotiated into the IBA conference in Nairobi. The Indian president between 1986-88, Kumar Shunkarardass, is well remembered for his negotiations with China, resulting in their entry into the IBA at a time when the Chinese were not involved elsewhere in international arrangements. Kumar also negotiated China’s acceptance of Taiwan’s into the IBA despite the Asian power’s failure to recognize the island as a country in its own right. Globalization and the explosion in cross-border work have ensured an explosion in the extent to which lawyers cooperate from multiple jurisdictions. The IBA’s role is to capitalize on this, so that as lawyers see how colleagues operate on the opposite side of the planet, they are more willing to assist each other. Paul Hoddinott explains: “Usually countries operate in isolation with their problems, but by bringing them together they can find solutions. They can think more broadly about international standards which helps them put into context the problems they face.” Guiseppe Bisconti, the Rome lawyer who was IBA’s president from 1990-92, pushed forward the links with the developing world’s Bars. Recalls Hoddinott: “On a recent visit to Ghana, speaking at a conference was a senior member of the Sierre Leone. He kept us spellbound with his wonderful oratories about the horrendous circumstances of lawyers in his home country.” This year’s conference is expected to be one of the biggest. The IBA conference in Vancouver is particularly memorable as it was the first to attract large numbers and featured interesting programs. “The conference began to establish itself with truly international dimensions,” says an IBA spokesman. The Berlin conference in 1996 also stands out because it was the first to attract large numbers — about 4,000 people. About 3,000 people are due in Amsterdam this year. Full IBA conferences involving sessions in the three sections take place every other year. The next IBA conference is in Mexico, followed in turn by San Francisco, Durban, and Auckland.

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