Counting down to World Bar Conference

11 Apr


Delegates from near and far are heading to Scotland for the “homecoming” of the World Bar Conference, a major event of the international legal calendar.

The conference is staged by the International Council of Advocates and Barristers (ICAB) every two years, and the inaugural event was held in Edinburgh in 2002.

The Faculty of Advocates is again hosting the 2016 Conference, which has attracted an array of prestigious speakers, including the senior judges, Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, and Lord Carloway, Lord President of the Court of Session.

James Wolffe, QC, Dean of Faculty and co-chair of ICAB, said: “I am delighted that the conference is returning to Scotland. Although we practise in different parts of the world, all members of ICAB have a common commitment to the responsibility of the independent advocate in maintaining the rule of law and promoting access to justice.

“The conference will touch on various subjects relating to the role which the bar plays in underpinning democracy – through the bar’s work in supporting the independence of the judiciary, in providing access to justice and in promoting human rights.”

Up to 200 delegates will attend the three-day conference, starting on Thursday (14 April). Most of the sessions will be in the Royal Museum of Scotland, but the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber will provide another venue. Receptions are to be held in Parliament House and Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall, while the Scottish National Gallery will host a gala dinner.

The theme of the conference is The Independent Referral Bar: Retrospective and Prospective, examining challenges faced by bars since ICAB’s foundation in 2002 and how those have been tackled, and the challenges ahead.

The subjects to be covered include the Rule of Law, confidentiality and surveillance, core professional values, technological change, and gender and diversity issues.

ICAB is the collective organisation of independent referral bars, and its members are the bars of Scotland, England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

 A Conference website is at