Greetings from Convergence, the ABA’s international conference in Singapore, where more than 200 delegates have gathered from all Australian bars – including a very healthy contingent from the Victorian Bar, the judiciary and the wider profession.
The conference got off to a superb start yesterday with opening speeches by Jennifer Batrouney QC, President of the ABA and his Excellency Bruce Gosper, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore on Australia in the Asian Century.
Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC (High Court of Australia) and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon (Chief Justice of Singapore) then gave a joint keynote address on the conference theme of convergence - and divergence - between the legal systems of Australia and Singapore. Their Honours emphasised the already close working relationship between the judiciary and profession in our two countries, as well as the many opportunities to work together and promote the rule of law in the region.
There was an interesting plenary session yesterday on creating a win/win relationship with corporate counsel, and a thought-provoking plenary on ethics in advocacy, featuring our own Sashi Maharaj QC. After lunch, there were workshops on international commercial mediation, arbitration, IP & technology disputes and contract law – all providing valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges in the region.
There has been great camaraderie among all those present, and many opportunities to catch up with colleagues from companion bars, including at the opening drinks at the Andaz on Wednesday night, a ‘meeting the silks’ session for junior counsel today and the social event last night at the National Gallery of Singapore.
Around the time In Brief comes out, I am likely to be presenting my Hypothetical on ethical issues in domestic and international litigation, immediately following the Hon Susan Crennan AC QC, the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC, the Hon Justice Andrew Bell, and the Hon Justice Craig Colvin, who will discuss the topic: an Australian International Commercial Court: not a bad idea or what a bad idea? The conference will come to a close this evening at a black tie gala dinner at the Clifford Pier at the Fullerton Bay Hotel.
Congratulations to Jennifer Batrouney QC and the whole team at the ABA for a successful conference.
After the Gala dinner tonight I will be returning to my winter break. My usual weekly message will resume in In Brief on 2 August.