British Irish Commercial Bar Association – Annual Law Forum April 2015
The 4th annual British Irish Commercial Bar Association (“BICBA”) Law Forum was held on 23 April 2015 in the Dublin Dispute Resolution Centre in the Law Library Distillery Building. The theme of this year’s Forum was “800 Years of Magna Carta: The Commercial Rule of Law in the 21st Century”. The event was attended by over 150 Barristers, Solicitors and Judges from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. BICBA awarded a number of bursaries to students of The Law Society of Ireland and The Honorable Society of King’s Inns enabling them to attend the event.
The structure of the Forum comprised two significant plenary sessions followed by a series of speaker driven “breakout” sessions which encouraged discourse amongst delegates. The Forum was opened with a welcome address from Marcus F. Daly SC, BICBA Chairman (Ireland) who made reference to the influences of Magna Carta as an inspiration to the framers of the American Constitution and also traced its influence to a decision of the Irish Supreme Court in 1927 where it was invoked to restrain the exploitation of the rights of citizens on the navigable waterways of Ireland.to The Chairman emphasised that although Magna Carta is 800 years old, its fundamental values continue to exist and influence the modern day enforcement of the Commercial rule of law.
The welcome address was followed by the first plenary session titled “Rule of Law, Rule of Mob”. This session was chaired by Mr. Justice Brian McGovern with panel members comprising the Honourable Mr. Justice Mark Horner QC from Belfast and Stephen B. Byrne BL from Dublin. This interesting session, delivered from both a practitioner and judicial standpoint, touched upon mechanisms for striking the balance between access to justice and the fair administration of justice while upholding the rule of law where the potential intervention of mob rule exist.
After the initial plenary session delegates had the opportunity to attend one of two breakout sessions. The first of these session addressed “Issues of Justice in Insurance Law” and the panel was chaired by Robert Browne, Partner with McKeever Rowan. His panel was joined by Colin Read, Partner in Pinsent Masons in Belfast and by Ray Ryan BL, Bar of Ireland. This session combined the speakers’ experience of Insurance law across the four Jurisdictions while addressing current issues to redress the balance between Policyholders and Insurers and also proposals for legislative change in the issue of third parties rights to indemnity.
The second breakout session addressed “The Practice of Forum Shopping in Insolvency”. This panel was chaired by His Honour Judge Mark Pelling QC and comprised Mark Orr QC SC and Emma Crowley, Partner based in the Dublin Office of Ronan Daly Jermyn. Speakers discussed issues involving cross jurisdictional personal insolvency with an emphasis on the perspective from England and Wales. Delegates were also provided with an overview of mechanisms for forum shopping and the future of same.
Delegates were provided with an opportunity to network with colleagues, speakers and guests during a sit down lunch provided at Hanley at the bar Bistro within the Law Library Distillery Building and after lunch a second plenary session addressed “Champerty: Adverse Cost Insurance and its Impact on Litigation”. This was panel chaired by Gavin Woods, Partner at Arthur Cox and he was joined by Dr. Mark Friston BL of Kings Chambers in Manchester and by Rory Mulcahy SC, Bar of Ireland. This session addressed the impact of adverse cost insurance on commercial litigation and drew on the panel’s international experience for an interesting and lively debate.
Two breakout sessions then followed which addressed current commercial issues topics whilst drawing on the Magna Carta theme for the Forum. The first session was chaired by of Jacqueline O’Brien SC, Bar of Ireland with Michael Humphrey’s QC and Kelly Pennifer BL, Bar of England and Wales. The topic discussed was “The Erosion and Retrenchment of Certainty Surrounding Contract Terms”.
The final breakout session of the afternoon was chaired by Monye Anyadike–Danes QC and the panel comprised Paul Gardiner SC, Bar of Ireland, Nicola Dunleavy of Matheson and Pat McInerney of Holmes O’Malley Sexton. Speakers discussed “Enforcing Arbitral Awards under the New York Convention” with a particular emphasis on public policy Issues affecting enforcement. The speakers outlined the background to the New York Convention on the enforcement of International Arbitral awards and the impact of EU law and principles on the enforcement of such awards. The panel concluded with an engaging discussion between panellists and delegates.
The 4th annual Forum concluded with an address from the Chairman from the United Kingdom, David Casement QC followed by the Annual General Meeting of BICBA which was chaired jointly by the Chairmen.
Delegates were then invited to The Honorable Society of King’s Inns for a guided tour by Mr. Seán Aylward, the Under Treasurer at King’s Inns. Delegates were taken through the buildings on Constitution Hill and on Henrietta Street which dates from 1800 and is a fine example of Georgian Architecture in Ireland. The King’s Inns is the centre for legal education and training for barristers in Ireland. During the tour delegates had the opportunity to view restored copies of Coke’s Commentaries on Magna Carta and there was also a soft launch for an Art Exhibition entitled “Cover to Canvas” in the Benchers’ Room.
A drinks reception was sponsored at the Inns by the Commercial Litigation Association of Ireland and the evening then continued with a Gala Dinner hosted in the Dining Hall of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Delegates were address before dinner by the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Justice Sean Ryan who welcomed and introduced the keynote speaker The Right Honourable Lord John Anthony Dyson, Master of the Rolls who delivered a keynote speech on Magna Carta entitled “Liberties, Customs and the free flow of trade”.
During the second day of the Forum on Friday the 24th of April the BICBA organising Committee arranged a number of networking and social activities. Delegates and guests had the opportunity to participate in a tour of Dublin Castle and Trinity College Dublin before travelling by private coach to Glencairn, the residence of the British Ambassador to Ireland. His Excellency Dominick Chilcott who very kindly hosted a most generous reception for the Conference delegates to include Lord and Lady Dyson and a number of additional guests. Ambassador Chilcott addressed the delegates on the history of Glencairn and endorsed the fostering of links between the members of BICBA in each jurisdiction as an important part in the zeitgeist in relations between our countries where we are drawing ever closer and cooperating to our mutual benefit. The reception was then followed by a dinner at IL Posto restaurant in St. Stephen’s Green in the centre of Dublin to close the 4th annual BICBA Forum.