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Introduction by the President  of the International Bar Association

David Rivkin, President IBA

I am delighted to announce that the International Bar Association 2015 Annual Conference will be in Vienna. With nearly 6,000 delegates, it is the largest gathering of international lawyers in the world.

The conference will be opened with a keynote address by José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission 2004-14). It will certainly be very interesting to hear his views on the economic situation in Europe right now.

As in previous years, this conference brings together an impressive range of sessions put on by IBA committees, providing first-hand information on legal developments in every sector of law. We have attracted outstanding speakers including Kofi Annan (Secretary-General of the United Nations 1997-2006), José María Aznar (former Prime Minister of Spain), Anders Fogh Rasmussen (former Secretary General of NATO and Prime Minister of Denmark) and Fatou Bensouda (Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, The Hague).

Some of these speakers will feature in our Showcase sessions, which focus on key issues for our profession around the world. One key Showcase that I recommend to you is ‘Combatting judicial corruption’, which will involve my Judicial Integrity Initiative. Where corrupt practices occur around the world in the justice system, members of the legal profession are involved. When independent justice is interfered with, the rule of law is violated, individual rights abused and liberties are compromised. The responsibility therefore lies with us all to look at how judicial corruption can be eliminated. In this session, we will discuss the ground breaking survey of judicial corruption that the IBA is undertaking and look at best practice examples within jurisdictions that are tackling this issue head on.

Continuing our focus on the rule of law, our annual Rule of Law Day on Friday offers a fitting and important capstone to the week’s work looking at how and where the rule of law can break down or be abused, and also a detailed look at how countries in the Middle East have developed since the Arab Spring. 2015 also marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, signed in England in 1215.

The IBA Annual Conference is always an opportunity to network and to build international contacts; year on year, the IBA membership now provides significant input to the profession through the excellent projects and legal analyses provided by our committees. It is a privilege to serve as the IBA President, and I look forward to meeting friends old and new in Vienna.

With warm regards for a wonderful week,

David W Rivkin
President, International Bar Association