We have differences, but share professional commitments, Dean tells WBC

14 Apr


The Dean of Faculty, James Wolffe, QC, has spoken of differences in bars from around the world, but stressed the vital role they all share in underwriting the rule of law.

In welcoming remarks at the World Bar Conference 2016, hosted by the Faculty in Edinburgh, Mr Wolffe said the member bars of the International Council of Advocates and Barristers (ICAB) came from four continents.

“We come from jurisdictions in the common law tradition and from jurisdictions, like my own, with a Civilian legal heritage. We vary in our institutional and regulatory arrangements as well as in our size. And we come from societies which differ greatly in their economic situation and in their constitutional structures,” he stated.

 “Despite these differences, we are bound together by shared professional commitments – to the administration of justice and the rule of law, to independence, to professional excellence and professional integrity, and to the promotion of access to justice for all in our diverse societies.

“And we are also bound together by a shared tradition, which affirms the role of the skilled and independent advocate in securing justice, in underpinning the constitutional function of the judiciary, and in promoting the rights and freedoms under the law of all those who need that protection.”

Mr Wolffe said there had been challenges from various quarters, such as technological development and economic pressures, since the first ICAB conference in Edinburgh in 2002, and those would be examined during this year’s event.

He continued: “But we will also look forward, and I believe firmly that we should do so, confident in the importance of the work that we do, both as individual practitioners and collectively, and confident also in the enduring necessity of the professional commitments which we share.

“For those commitments underwrite the rule of law – which is both the framework for economic wellbeing and a necessary condition of a just society.”

The Conference website is at http://wbc.advocates.org.uk