Friday, October 06, 2017

KEEN TO TALK: Advocate General with criminal conviction for firearms offence promotes ‘UK Legal Services are best’ campaign in Singapore - in effort to attract Asian customers to Brexit-hit UK legal market

Lord Keen of Elie in Singapore. A GOVERNMENT minister with a conviction for a firearms offence is currently in Singapore on a taxpayer funded bash - promoting a UK Legal Services are great campaign in the hope of attracting Asian customers to the UK’s dwindling legal services sector and courts.

Lord Keen – real name Richard Sanderson Keen - who joined the Lords on 8 June 2015 and was appointed Advocate General for Scotland – has flown to Singapore to promote the UK legal industry in a social media & twitter #LegalServicesAreGREAT campaign to promote the UK as a hub of legal excellence.

However, the same Lord Keen was convicted of a firearms related offence in March 2017.

The campaign, hosted at the UK High Commission and other venues in Singapore - brings together lobby groups such as the Law Society of England & Wales, the Law Society of Scotland, a host of legal firms, and so-called ‘independent’ legal regulators – the Legal Ombudsman, Bar Council and others.

Asian customers attending the Singapore conference are invited to “Discover what makes UK legal services great - The UK's legal system has inspired and influenced similar legal systems worldwide. Every year, we attract many international businesses who want to take advantage of the UK’s globally respected legal services.”

Attendees to the conference have listened to Lord Keen promoting UK legal services and the so-called world respected UK legal profession & industry.

However, in March 2017, Lord Keen – who also once held the post of Dean of the Faculty of Advocates - was fined £1,000 after admitting a firearms offence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Earlier this year, Advocate General for Scotland Richard Keen QC pleaded guilty – by letter - to breaching section two of the Firearms Act 1968 by ‘failing to secure a shotgun’.

Police investigating a ‘break-in’ at one of Mr Keen’s properties – a house in Edinburgh - found that the weapon had been left outside a secure cabinet.

The weapon, a Stephen Grant 12 Gauge shotgun - was outside its required storage area and was in a position to have been made use of, should the need have arisen – observed one firearms expert.

The incident & related court hearings,-  which sources claim contained “incredulous assertions” prompted a media investigation revealing the extent of firearms ownership by top lawyers & judges, reported here:  SILENCERS IN COURT: ‘Guns & Ammo’ rife in Scotland’s legal elite - Police Scotland disclose firearms ownership of judges, sheriffs, lawyers, advocates, QCs & Crown Office prosecutors

The new Legal Services Are Great campaign, staged by the UK Government and funded by taxpayers cash – in which Lord Keen plays a role - comes amid fears Brexit could turn to Lexit – where legal firms & litigants may chose to conduct arbitration & court business in other jurisdictions.

A post by the Ministry of Justice on titled “Why UK legal services are GREAT”  claims: The UK is home to the best legal services in the world. That is the message of our new global campaign to promote the UK’s legal services. With over 200 international law firms, the UK is a global hub of legal expertise

From nearly four decades in the legal profession and as a UK Government minister and Advocate General for Scotland, I have seen first-hand the exceptional talent and expertise within our legal services sector across the whole of the UK.

In a global and competitive marketplace, we know what international clients want when they’re looking for legal services.

Clients want to choose a law to govern their contracts that gives them the flexibility, confidence and certainty they need. They want legal firms that have a track record in and reputation for providing expert advice. They want judges that are not only experts but also incorruptible and fair when it comes to settling disputes. They want courts that are expeditious and that harness the latest technology. These qualities are all woven into the fabric of the UK’s legal services.

The Ministry of Justice campaign goes onto claim:

Experienced judges: Our judges are renowned for their independence, rigour and commercial expertise in all aspects of the law. As a result, UK court judgments carry a guarantee of excellence which is respected internationally.

Professional expertise: The UK’s regulated barristers and solicitors represent clients worldwide. From helping you close cross-border business deals and manage financial transactions to resolving international disputes, our lawyers have the global expertise to help you build your business.

Robust contract law: English law is the most popular choice of law for commercial contracts. Valued for its clarity, it’s the world’s most enduring common law system and can provide certainty and security for your business deals.

UK: the cradle of the rule of law: The UK is the cradle of the rule of law. The roots of English law are deep; its adoption and influence is wide. It is the product of hundreds of years of evolution — of gradual refinement, development and extension, precedent after precedent.

As a result, English common law is clear, predictable and familiar. It underpins over a quarter of the world’s jurisdictions. It is the most popular choice of law in the world for commercial contracts and governs about 40% of all global corporate arbitrations.

UK: home to great law firms, expert judges and modern courts: But it is not just the pedigree of English law that makes the UK attractive. Our law firms, our judges and our courts that administer, interpret and arbitrate on the law are world-renowned.

Take UK law firms. With four of the top ten law firms in the world and with over 16,000 barristers, the UK has a wealth of talent and top legal expertise and advocacy.

Take UK Judges. They are respected internationally for their intellect, independence and commercial expertise, with many having specialist knowledge and practical understanding of commercial matters they are judging.

Take the UK’s judicial processes and courts. They do not just have hundreds of years of history behind them, they are among the best in the world in terms of being digitally-enabled.

The UK’s legal heritage, together with its expertise and innovation, makes it a popular choice for clients around the world. London brings access to the world’s biggest specialist legal centre for dispute resolution and commercial litigation.

However, the carefully worded claims make no mention of the fact parts of the UK judiciary has been engaged in a five year fight against proposals to require the judiciary to declare their vast wealth, and business interests – which have resulted in countless conflicts of interest in case after case.

And, more recently it has been uncovered the Ministry of Justice has been concealing statistics on judicial recusals in England & Wales – despite the same information being published in Scotland as paret of the Register of Judicial Recusals - now made available after the work of journalists, Judicial Complaints Reviewer Moi Ali, and members of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

The battle between members of the Judiciary of Scotland and the Scottish Parliament over a petition calling on judges to declare their interests has sparked ire among judges, amid concerns the judiciary are deliberately concealing significant conflicts of interest which has led to injustice across the spectrum of criminal, and civil cases in Scotland’s courts.

The Register of Recusals was created by Lord Brian Gill in April 2014 as a response to a probe by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee’s deliberations on Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary.

The proposal, first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

A full debate on the proposal to require judges to declare their interests was held at the Scottish Parliament on 9 October 2014 - ending in a motion calling on the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by MSPs from all political parties.

Of further note - all of the claims currently published by the Ministry of Justice in the #LegalServicesAreGREAT campaign - have been challenged by two successive Lord Justice Generals – the ranking top judge in Scotland -  where both Lord Presidents Lord Gill, and recently Lord Carloway - branding Scotland’s justice system as stuck in the “Victorian” era, and centuries behind the rest of the world.

Further studies by the EU have ranked Scotland’s justice system as one of the slowest, and most expensive in the world – with the most highly paid judges delivering the poorest results on civil and criminal justice – reported here: Scots Legal Aid ‘a £161Million public subsidy for legal profession’ as EU report reveals judges salaries & lawyers legal aid claims come before public's access to justice

While keen to promote legal services to the world, the Ministry of Justice could not offer any further comment on the campaign or answer questions on how much public cash was allocated to the project.

The Ministry of Justice have refused to confirm claims attendees first, & business class flights & travel to the Singapore conference, hotel stays & hospitality have been paid by taxpayers.


Anonymous said...

Headline should read "in an effort to attract [corrupt] Asian market customers to UK"

hence the statement "Take UK Judges. They are respected internationally for their intellect, independence and commercial expertise, with many having specialist knowledge and practical understanding of commercial matters they are judging."

This translates to "Judges will see to your interests being well served and thanks for the bribe, shareholdings, house in Dubai or hospitality"

Have you ever been to Singapore?

Outwardly respectable but way more corrupt than other countries in the region.

Anonymous said...

Yes I saw this on your twitter before.Why did taxpayers have to fund the legal mafia's wee holiday in Singapore?

Honestly you'd have to be desperate or a crook to trust a Scottish lawyer.Perhaps this is why Keen chose to highlight Court services in England and Wales over those in Scotland.

How embarrassing for Lorna Jack

Anonymous said...

‘UK Legal Services are best’ yeah right anyone with an ounce of sense will avoid

altho put it this way if some foreign company or politician is using UK great legal services you know they are probably crooked anyway

Anonymous said...

More likely they are off to prey on the Asian market because everyone they could rip off back home they have ripped off.
#UkLegalservicesarecrap! how's that for a hashtag Lord firearms!

Anonymous said...

This made my Friday evening.

"The weapon, a Stephen Grant 12 Gauge shotgun - was outside its required storage area and was in a position to have been made use of, should the need have arisen – observed one firearms expert."

As in ready to be used and/or loaded.

You could tell from people looking at each other in court.
No one believed the statements in court.I know because I was there.

Anonymous said...

passed over for Lord Advocate at least twice and he wont forget it

Anonymous said...

The panic must have set in after realising Brexit is going to ruin the UK's financial industry and erode the legal mafia's power base.

With a poor population and little in the way of assets who will the likes of Keen and his inner circle of law firms law societies and robber regulators prey on now?

Brexit steals magic from UK law firms

Once financial institutions relocate many of their operations to the Continent, London-based lawyers fear they will have far less work.

By Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli

10/18/16, 6:14 PM CET

Updated 8/17/17, 10:54 PM CET

LONDON — For leading British law firms, the chaser for their U.K. business after the Brexit shot was thought to be a boom in new advisory work.

They face a nasty hangover instead.

If Brexit downsizes the U.K.’s vaunted financial industry, London’s so-called Magic Circle of five dominant law firms that posted a combined global revenue of £5.14 billion (€5.67 billion) in 2015, may be headed for a permanent decline. Amid the market uncertainty, the domestic businesses of Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Slaughter & May, Freshfields, and Linklaters have all slowed already in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum.

Their long-term prospects will only get even grimmer, a number of Magic Circle lawyers said, as fewer financial firms in the City of London farm out legal work and the EU withdraws practice rights for cross-border business after the U.K. leaves the bloc. Such a possibility flies in the face of many people’s expectation that guiding their clients through the legal maze of the post-Brexit world would make rich lawyers even richer.

The outlook in London is so murky that it’s prompting these elite law firms to explore ways to follow their clients should they decide to move.

For example, the number of applications to the Irish Bar from England and Wales has never been so high. According to a recent report by Legal Week, Slaughter and May is now funding an increasing number of lawyers to join the roll of solicitors in Ireland. Their colleagues at Clifford Chance and Freshfields have already done so as part of their contingency planning right after the Brexit vote. As of last month, 411 U.K. lawyers had registered in Ireland, compared to a total of 52 in 2014.

The default stance of the Magic Circle firms, however, seems to be wait-and-see, at least until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered early next year and the U.K.-EU divorce procedure formally starts.

When that happens, these law firms anticipate a temporary boom in business advising clients in financial services on how best to navigate the new landscape.

“We expect that when there is more clarity about the [Brexit] process, the wide-ranging discussions we are having with clients will turn into more specific projects,” said Richard Cranfield, a partner at Allen & Overy. “It’s difficult to know how much, but we can predict there will be a lot of work in the financial sector.”

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised they chose Singapore to launch this ludicrous campaign.

Singapore is one of those strange city states where democracy does not exist and anyone who is a whistle-blower or criticizes the government or politicians ends up in jail.

Odds are no one in Sg will see your posting as the Government regularly block any online criticism and investigate all social media users.

Do not believe online statistics studies or glossy brochures about Singapore being one of the least corrupt countries.Graft is present like everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Case in point and follow on from my comment.

Singapore teen blogger who criticised government wins asylum in US

Amos Yee left the city state with the intention of staying in US after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016

Saturday 25 March 2017 02.02 GMT
Last modified on Friday 14 July 2017 18.25 BST

A teenage blogger from Singapore whose online posts blasting his government landed in him jail has been granted asylum to remain in the United States.

Amos Yee, 18, had been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he wase taken into custody at Chicago’s O’Hare International airport.

But on Friday immigration judge Samuel Cole paved the way for his release, which attorneys said could come as early as Monday.
Singapore police arrest 17-year-old over critical Lee Kuan Yew video
Read more

“Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore,” Cole wrote in a 13-page decision more than two weeks after Yee’s closed-door hearing on the asylum application.

Yee left Singapore with the intention of seeking asylum in the US after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016. He was accused of hurting the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians; Yee is an atheist. However, many of his blog and social media posts criticized Singapore’s leaders. He created controversy in 2015 as the city-state was mourning the death of its first prime minister and he posted an expletive-laden video about prime minister Lee Kuan Yew just after his death.

Such open criticism of political leaders is discouraged in Singapore. The case, which raised questions about free speech and censorship, has been closely watched abroad.

Cole said testimony during Yee’s hearing showed that while the Singapore government’s stated reason for punishing him involved religion, “its real purpose was to stifle Yee’s political speech”. He said Yee’s prison sentence was “unusually long and harsh” especially for his age.
Saudi Arabian teen arrested for online videos with American blogger
Read more

Officials at the Singapore embassy in Washington DC have not addressed the case and messages left Friday were not immediately returned.

Yee’s attorney Sandra Grossman said her client was elated with the news.
“He’s very excited to begin new life in the United States,” Grossman said.

Yee said in a phone interview from jail this month that he feared returning to Singapore. But he said he would continue to speak out and had already planned a line of T-shirts and started writing a book about his experiences. “I have an infinite amount of ideas of what to do,” he said.

Department of Homeland Security attorneys had opposed the asylum bid, saying Yee’s case did not qualify as persecution based on political beliefs. It was unclear whether they had appealed the decision or if Yee would have to remain imprisoned if they did. Attorneys have 30 days to appeal.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said he hoped the US government would let the ruling stand, saying that Yee had been a “marked man” in Singapore since criticising the government.

“Singapore excels at creating a pressure cooker environment for dissidents and free thinkers who dare challenge the political, economic and social diktats from the ruling People’s Action Party. It’s clear the Singapore government saw Amos Yee as the proverbial nail sticking up that had to be hammered down.”

Anonymous said...

Legal Services are GREAT what a load of tripe
How come they are all sponging off taxpayers if legal services are so GREAT?
Robbers through and through!

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth their presentation is awful although the food is not too bad.I have sent pics to your blog contact button.Thanks for the more realistic insight into British law.I'll make a note and pass your blog around some friends here.

Anonymous said...

“Discover what makes UK legal services great"

"Take UK Judges"

"Take the UK’s judicial processes and courts"

In an interview with the Sunday Times The UN Observer and EU Advisor on Human Rights Dr Has Koechler succinctly described the Scottish legal system and those who practice in it - such as Richard Keen QC - when he compared it that of a "Banana Republic".

And as you correctly point out both Lord Gill and Lord Carloway have admitted Scotland’s justice system is stuck in the “Victorian” era, and studies by the EU have ranked Scotland’s justice system as one of the slowest and most expensive in the world.

But no doubt Lord Keen conveniently 'forgot' to mention in his speech in Singapore.

Perhaps a link to this site should be sent to appropriate legal authorities there?

Anonymous said...

I marvel at the way you can so easily take down these legal buffs and their guff about being so good!

Anonymous said...

Yes they have run out of people to rip off in the UK so now these sleazy lawyers are turning to foreign markets to rip them off under this guise of world respected rubbish.

The judiciary are not to be trusted we already know that now evidenced by their attitude towards the easiest of questions declaring their interests and lets face it we have all known for years lawyers are the most corrupt industry in existence.

Anonymous said...

and your blog gets a mention well done!

Anonymous said...

Ironic a criminal represents the UK's legal services market at home and abroad

Anonymous said...

Now off to Australia to persuade crooks down under to use the UK courts..

Britain, S'pore in 'premier league' of litigation and arbitration centres
Britain's Advocate-General for Scotland Richard Keen said Singapore and Britain stand to learn from each other, given their close trade links and shared perspectives. Lord Keen is here on a three-day visit.
Tan Tam Mei

Singapore and Britain are home to successful international legal centres because they have an open and liberal approach to providing legal services.

And given their close trade links and shared perspectives, both countries stand to learn from each other, said Advocate-General for Scotland Richard Keen.

Lord Keen, 63, who is also Britain's Ministry of Justice spokesman for the House of Lords, was speaking yesterday at Eden Hall, the British High Commissioner's official residence, to mark the launch of Britain's "Legal Services are Great" campaign, which aims to promote Britain's legal service expertise and expand its global reach in the sector.

Speaking to The Straits Times before the event, Lord Keen said he viewed Singapore and London as among the "premier league" of litigation and arbitration centres worldwide, with a pool of outstanding lawyers and a respected judiciary.

Earlier yesterday, he met Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Attorney-General Lucien Wong, and learnt about developments in legal services here, specifically in the area of legal technology.

He said: "The development of technology in the provision of legal services is something Singapore is leading the way in, and there have been developments in the UK as well. I think we can learn from each other."

Lord Keen also touched on the need for legal centres to be international, and provide services that reflect that. "The days where you could define jurisdictions in reference to borders are fast disappearing... We have to be capable of regulating legal services without regard simply to individual jurisdictions."

Lord Keen, who is here on a three-day visit, will be giving a keynote address today at the International Conference of Legal Regulators, which is being held in Asia for the first time.

On the Great campaign, he said: "The UK is, and will continue to be, one of the pre-eminent legal centres in the world. We will continue to be a leading player in that premier league of international legal centres."

Lord Keen will leave Singapore today and head to Sydney.

Anonymous said...

Keen on boot boys more like.

Anonymous said...

Why are we still sending criminals to Australia?? I thought that was all done and dusted years ago!lol

Anonymous said...

Lets hope they give him the bum's rush haha

Anonymous said...

To add to my comment if the following is anything to go by methinks the Australian legal fraternity are being tutored in how to steal by our Law Society of Scotland mafia -

Corrupt lawyer Alan Munt jailed for five years
The Australian
11:04AM April 9, 2015
Pia Akerman

A lawyer who stole nearly $5 million from his clients will spend at least five years in prison, with a judge delivering a blistering attack on Victoria Police for repeatedly refusing to investigate the massive fraud.

Alan John Munt, 61, was initially reported to the Law Institute of Victoria in 2009 for suspicious trust account files by a junior solicitor at his firm in the Dandenong Ranges.

An investigation was launched and Munt swiftly confessed to operating a Ponzi scheme, but police refused to act on the case, referring it to the Legal Services Board.

Munt had created false mortgage documents and forged clients’ signatures, witnessing them in his own name, to siphon $4,819,061.90 from his clients, many of whom were elderly and had limited finances.

The court heard at least one victim had lost their home as a result of the swindle.

Victorian Supreme Court judge Betty King said it was unacceptable that the victims had been forced to wait over five years for court proceedings because police had refused to investigate the case.

“It is a sad indictment on the priorities of a policing organisation that they claim they cannot conduct an investigation into large sums of money stolen by a solicitor from members of the public, due to having inadequate resources, or other problems,” she said.

“The public have been very poorly served by all of the organisations involved in this investigation, but I am particularly critical of the Victoria Police for putting resourcing issues ahead of the investigation of very serious criminal offending.

“It is patently clear that Victoria Police despite being aware that serious offences of theft and deception had occurred, and despite being asked to either take over or help the Legal Services Board investigate the prisoner, consistently refused to investigate or assist the investigation of this offending.”

Munt was not interviewed by police until December 2012, when he made full admissions, with charges not laid until March 2014.

He pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft, eight counts of obtaining property by deception and causing a deficiency in trust accounts, and two counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Justice King said Munt had not used the money to provide a “grandiose” lifestyle for himself or his family, but instead sought to prop up his law firm and keep employing staff he could not afford “to make yourself appear to be a successful solicitor.”

“Equally, you used it to prop up businesses that were beyond salvation, trying again to make yourself look like a successful businessman, a good investor,” she said.

“Your behaviour in this case was appalling — it was predatory, manipulative and scheming, being carried out upon people who knew, liked, trusted, respected and, indeed, even cared about you. “You have left in your wake pain and suffering, feelings of loss, distrust, in some cases financial deprivation and heartache.”

Munt was sentenced to eight and a half years in total, with five and a half years to serve before becoming eligible for parole.

He is an undischarged bankrupt and his victims are unlikely to ever recover their money.

Anonymous said...

One more if you don't mind..

You have to watch this video clip Peter, and your readers

also fantastic piece here on how corrupt Australia's legal system is with lawyers in charge although there are some parts in the clip where I think Mr Whitton puts a little too much faith in the European system which we now all know along with the Scottish legal system to be rotten to the core,3821

Our corrupt legal system only benefits lawyers and rich criminals
Evan Whitton 10 December 2011, 9:50am

In an Independent Australia exclusive, five time Walkley Award winning journalist Evan Whitton explains why our legal system is fabulous — for lawyers and rich criminals.

Taxpayers pay the wages of judges, police, prosecutors, legal aid lawyers etc. They are entitled to know that a truth-seeking system, as in France, would cost less and deliver more justice than the adversary system which England bequeathed to its colonies, e.g. Ireland, India, the US, Australia. Thus:

In France, trained judges question witnesses and have no incentive to prolong the process. Most trials take a day or so.

In the adversary system, lawyers question witnesses, and at $10+ a minute, have an incentive to spin the process out. Trials can take months. Untrained judges do the decent thing: they try to stay awake.

Justice Russell Fox researched the law for 11 years after he retired from the Federal Court. He concluded that justice means fairness; fairness to everyone [including victims and taxpayers] requires a search for the truth; truth means reality; and the search for truth gives a system its morality, otherwise the winner is likely to be the one with more money and cleverer lawyers.

The adversary system does not seek the truth, and hence fails all Justice Fox’s tests: it is unfair, unreal, immoral, and unjust.

In France, evidence is not concealed, and judges do not let lawyers pollute the truth with sophistry, i.e. false insinuations, false statements, false arguments etc. 95% of guilty defendants are convicted. The innocent are rarely charged.

In the adversary system, six rules which conceal significant evidence from jurors make it difficult to charge, let alone convict, serial rapists and white collar criminals, e.g. tax evaders, inside traders, price-fixers.

The rules and defence lawyers’ sophistry get more than 50% of guilty defendants off, but at least 1% of people in prison are innocent. On the civil side, negligence law is unfair to doctors and industrialists; libel law outside the US is unfair to citizens; it makes it difficult to report how they are being done down by rogues.

Judge Russell Fox says the public knows that “justice marches with the truth”. Informed taxpayers will thus support change to a truth-seeking system. Six times as many (trained) judges (and fewer lawyers) will be required, but it will still be cheaper.

Any parrot-house of sophistry deployed to resist the change can be safely ignored: lawyers are .02% of the population.

Anonymous said...

The guest list includes Julian Assange from his base in tiny Ecuador Embassy in London.Funny as I thought the legal profession would not speak with him on the same stage a la Lord Gill walkout remember?
Oct 8 2017 at 6:41 PM Updated Oct 8 2017 at 6:41 PM

IBA conference draws festival of lawyers to Sydney
by Katie Walsh

The world's biggest annual gathering of lawyers, hosted by Sydney for the first time in the event's 70-year history and drawing more than 4000 people from 128 nations, officially began on Sunday evening.

The epic week-long International Bar Association event launched with a performance by Indigenous dancers and an address by High Court chief justice Susan Kiefel. It has drawn prominent politicians, judges and lawyers from across the globe including home-grown talent lured back, such as human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson, QC.

"The city of Sydney and its diverse inhabitants represent a dynamic and forward-looking spirit that reflects the IBA's contemporary vision as we move further into the 21st century," said IBA president and leading Czech Republic lawyer Martin Šolc.

Topics from blockchain to modern slavery and anti-corruption to structuring private equity deals will feature across the 200 sessions, but Mr Šolc said one key theme revolved around artificial intelligence and whether it will open access to justice.

"Some of the results of artificial intelligence are breathtaking," he said.

Not every firm or in-house lawyer had "really thought through" the coming impact and investment needed, he said.

Among visiting dignitaries are Ukraine Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko, Scotland's Advocate-General, Lord Richard Keen, QC, and UK House of Lords member Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC. Eminent Australian speakers include former prime minister John Howard, former High Court judges Mary Gaudron and Michael Kirby, former governor-general Quentin Bryce, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, federal Attorney-General George Brandis, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman and new Australian Human Rights Commission president Ros Croucher. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appear via videolink from his Ecuadorian embassy base in London.

Anonymous said...

The article also contains an admission what these events are really all about - networking and palm pressing (brown envelopes and handshakes)

Networking over gin

Gilbert + Tobin partner John Williamson-Noble, a self-described "veteran" of IBA conferences, said the event was 25 per cent learning, 75 per cent networking.

That explains his driving a unique marketing angle: the firm's own gin, to serve with tonic, in a neat mnemonic hook for visiting lawyers.

"We're all very keen to differentiate ourselves. How can you forget 'that G&T firm'?" Mr Williamson-Noble said.

The firm launched its gin, crafted by Canberra distiller Underground Spirits, on Sunday night. More will get to taste the concoction — a mix of juniper berries, coriander, angelica root, cucumber, rose, pink grapefruit and "secret spices" — at a Tuesday night cocktail function.

Separately, it will host 40 to 50 law firms at its offices for meetings during the week.

The event is a critical opportunity for independent local firms in particular to show their wares, especially to visiting partners like those from US "white shoe" firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and UK "magic circle" firm Slaughter & May.

"You do learn something from each of the conferences because you're with partners from the best law firms around the world," he said.

"For the Australian law firms to show what they can do, it's fantastic."

Other firms have events of their own, including King & Wood Mallesons holding a cocktail function plus an international M&A dinner hosted by partners David Friedlander and Nicola Charlston in its office 61 floors high in the Governor Phillip Tower.

Barristers will hold an "open night" with 18 separate chambers inviting guests variously for tours, wine tastings, art exhibitions and panel discussions, including the uncommonly modern offices of Greenway Chambers. Courts will host tours.

The opening ceremony at the International Convention Centre on Sunday night was followed by an after party at Luna Park, where lawyers were invited to bring their cameras "for stunning sunset photos of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge".

The kick-off event also featured a performance by the Sydney Lawyers Orchestra, led by conductor Bird & Bird partner Thomas Jones.
'Centre of the legal world'

Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod, SC, said the conference provided an "unparalleled opportunity for Australian lawyers to engage with the best and brightest legal minds from across the globe".

"Australia will be centre of the legal world," she said.

Mr Williamson-Noble, who moved from now-Herbert Smith Freehills 22 years' ago to build G+T's corporate group, said the time for the firm to go "down the gin and tonic route" was long overdue.

The final drop was chosen from six different options after a unanimous decision by Mr Williamson-Noble and his two fellow panelists, corporate partners Tim Gordon and Rachael Bassil.

​"Everyone said the same thing — 'I'd go back for a few more glasses of that'," he said.

"It's smooth, it's interesting."

Mr Williamson-Noble acknowledged other benefits to creating the firm's gin, beyond impressing foreign lawyers.

"Going forward it'll be a better Christmas present than a Champagne bottle."

Anonymous said...

Mr Cherbi I read your blog and I am briefed on your latest postings.I want to tell you these people you write about in the legal world from the highest judges to the lowest on the legal ladder are nothing more than garbage.They are not worth the time of day.None of them.Trust me I have hired and fired all kinds of lawyers over my years and not one is worth an ounce of trust.They look at you with greed and will wriggle out of any adverse situation they find themselves in.Your successful writing has unmasked the judiciary as another arm of vested interests who are more eager to protect their own than the people they claim to represent in the name of justice.Your readers should fire their lawyers and live their lives.Good luck with your work.

Anonymous said...

It seems things are just as bad in 'the colonies' as they are here with the police and 'regulators' seeing and hearing no evil when lawyers are accused of wrongdoing.

A link of this blog to all the Australian journalists mention in the other comments would I am sure be received with interest - and don't forget Mr. Assange!

Great reporting.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street Mr Cherbi is The Diary has been blocked in Singapore & we all know why. It would simply not do the locals googling & finding out what is ahead of them. Lets see, plundered estates, property theft, borrowing client funds without permission & the old chestnut vested interests.

First things first though is to get the Law Society of Singapore up & running along with a Faculty of Advocates & they are all the way.

Oh & when all confidence is lost they will open up a new body called the SLCC (SINGAPORE LEGAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION) who will not uphold one complaint.

Diary of Injustice said...

@ 10 October 2017 at 22:22

Looks like the UK Law Society club have been training up other country's legal professions on how best to rip off clients and get away with it.

@ 10 October 2017 at 23:18

By the sounds of an email from Singapore this may well be the case already ... clearly some problems worth looking at in Singapore as it is a top destination for Scots lawyers and unregistered trips by the judiciary.

Anonymous said...

While Britain is sending its criminal fraternity to rip us off in Australia spare a thought for companies who employed real people instead of scumbag greedy lawyers who are doing to us and our economy as they have done to you

Anonymous said...

Great to read an honest account of the UK and Scotland's legal industry.

Our company was promised financial assistance and a factory if we moved our production from the US to Scotland.However once we were on site the plant was years out of date the workforce unskilled and during a lunch the head of my development team was introduced to one of your government team who seemed to be expecting some kind of payment.You might call it a bribe.

As discussions dragged on about the site we were warned by an attorney representing your Scottish Executive business team if we pulled out there was to be a $700,000 cancellation fee but there was never a contract.

We were bombarded by letters from Scotland including a written demand stating your Court of Session will prosecute us if we did not cough up the non existent cancellation fee.

Someone at your British Embassy claiming to work for the Scottish Government began calling our office daily with a demand we meet up and arrange payment to the "Scottish Government" for all the work it had put in on the non existent project. When we called to check no one at the British Embassy knew about it but they did know the person who called and told us to ignore them.

I did find Scotland a pleasant place during our trip,the people were great all except your politicians and their attorneys.

Facilities and hotels were terrible.Food sucks and your weather sucks.Not really a place to do business and certainly not a place to have any kind of manufacturing facility.

Maybe if you guys remove those guys creaming off the best for themselves such as the wannabe gunslinger at the podium and get your country back one day you might enter the modern era and while you are at it ditch the lawyers too.

Anonymous said...

Michael Fallon resigned tonight for touching a woman's knee so how can Richard Keen an UNELECTED Tory peer represent Scotland and the UK Government as Advocate General for Scotland with a criminal conviction for keeping a gun out of safe storage and probably ready to use!

Absolutely shocking! What else has Keen been up to? You don't get to be Dean of the Faculty of Advocates for nothing must be plenty skeletons around get digging!!