ABA Convergence Conference Update
Several members of the Queensland Bar recently attended the Australian Bar Association’s international conference in Singapore on 11 and 12 July.
The program consisted of both plenary sessions and smaller streams exploring a diverse range of issues from consideration of the need for an international commercial court for Australia to cross-border insolvency and third-party litigation funding.
The conference was opened by a joint address by the Honourable Chief Justice Kiefel AC of the High Court of Australia and the Honourable Chief Justice Menon of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Their Honours spoke about the common legal heritage of Australia and Singapore as well as the developing institutional bonds between the courts and legal professions of both countries. Engagement by the Bar as a whole with the broader profession and in the region was a focus of the conference. Sessions including a panel of senior in-house counsel, issues in international arbitration and the report prepared by the Honourable Roger Gyles AO QC on opportunities for Australian barristers in international arbitration. There was a strong feeling among presenters that Australian counsel were under-represented in international arbitration work compared to other overseas lawyers, and particularly members of the London bar.
Practical skills and practice development were also covered across the conference, including sessions on ‘the seven deadly sins of oral advocacy’, digital practice management and expert evidence. Junior members of the bar were particularly appreciative of the opportunity to sit down with senior counsel from around the country at a ‘meet the silks’ session.
Contributions by Queenslanders to the program were well received, with presentations by Peter Dunning QC (anti-suit injunctions), Cate Heyworth-Smith QC (a comparative discussion of ethics in advocacy) and Kathryn McMillan QC (expert evidence - 21st century challenges).
Convergence 2019 concluded with a black tie dinner (with big band) at the magnificent Clifford Pier, capping off a lively program of social events which also included arrival rooftop drinks and a welcome event at the National Gallery of Singapore.
Conference chair Dominique Hogan-Doran SC and her team deserve congratulations for putting together an engaging and comprehensive program. From Singapore, the ABA National Conference returns home, being co-hosted by the Queensland Bar in combination with our annual conference.
Save the date: 2020 BAQ ABA Conference, 5-7 March 2020, W Hotel Brisbane
Jules Moxon, Barrister