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Madrid becomes, once again, the World Jurist capital

The World Jurist Association (WJA) and the World Law Foundation (WLF) will once again position Madrid as the capital of law with the celebration, during July 5 and 6, of an international meeting of jurists that will be attended by the world elite of law.

These two days are included in the Madrid-Bogotá opening session as a prelude to the celebration of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021 and as a continuation of the previous sessions that have been held since last July and that will continue to be held until the celebration of the World Congress of Law in Colombia on December 2 and 3, 2021.

The acts of the first day will count with the presence of King Felipe VI of Spain and Iván Duque, President of Colombia. During this day, the international tribute to the recently deceased Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for her commendable defense of gender equality and civil rights throughout her life are recognized.

For the World Jurist Association, Ginsburg has been a visionary and strategic leader in ensuring that equality, fairness and the rule of law are not left in the theoretical realm, but rather positively impact social institutions and the lives of people. The Judge was the first woman to receive the World Peace & Liberty Award, an award given by the WJA,  considered to be the Nobel Prize for Law. This recognition was previously received by King Felipe VI during the World Law Congress 2019, and was also awarded to Winston Churchill, René Cassin and Nelson Mandela.

As part of the tribute to the Justice, the tribute “Mother, jurist and myth: I knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg”, the round table “Equality and the Rule of Law: contributions from international tribunals”, a panel that will bring together representatives of the most important supranational courts in the world for the first time in history. Similarly, in association with Jane Ginsburg, Professor at Columbia and daughter of the honoree, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medals of Honor will be awarded to eight renowned women jurists who have promoted gender equality during their careers, this year’s winners being: Christine Lagarde, Gillian Triggs, Luz Ibáñez, Maite Oronoz, Navi Pillay, Rosario Silva Lapuerta, Sujata Manohar and Young Hye Kim.

During the second day, the International Summit on the Rule of Law will be held, which will house presidents of supreme and constitutional courts of different countries, and prominent international jurists, who will discuss current issues on various discussion panels: “COVID regulations and their effect on citizens”, “5G: privacy and cybersecurity”, “Rule of Law in the XXI century”, “Independence of the judiciary in Europe and the Americas”, “Rule of Law in Mexico  and “Fake News and the Seizure of Newspapers: El Nacional Case”.

In this framework, the World Law Congress 2021 will be officially presented, which will pave the way to Colombia as the world capital of law. In the words of Javier Cremades, president of the WJA and the WLF, “our objective is to promote awareness of the importance of the rule of law in society and that is why we will continue to hold these events, in order to transmit our premise”.

Photos from Opening Session Madrid – World Law Congress Colombia 2021

(July 5-6, 2021)


Opening Session Madrid, 5th of July

Opening Session Madrid, 6th of July

WORLD LAW CONGRESS COLOMBIA 2021

WORLD LAW CONGRESS COLOMBIA 2021
Program: Opening Session Madrid
July 5-6, 2021
Casa América – Plaza Cibeles


MAIN EVENT: WORLD LAW CONGRESS COLOMBIA 2021

Thu, Dec 2 2021, 8:00 – Fri, Dec 3 2021, 12:30 Colombian Standard Time

Puerta de Oro Caribbean Convention Center, Track 40 # 79B – 06, Barranquilla, Atlantic, Colombia

About this event

RULE OF LAW: DEVELOPMENT FOR THE NATIONS.

This congregation of the most prominent jurists in the world during the World Law Congress Colombia 2021 aims to be a recognition from the international legal community of Colombia’s unwavering commitment to the defense, strengthening and promotion of the rule of law.

Likewise, on the occasion of this international congress, we will make a special recognition of an outstanding personality or group committed to Peace through Law. In past opportunities, the WJA has awarded personalities such as Sir Winston Churchill, René Cassin, Nelson Mandela, the King of Spain Felipe VI, and Justice Ruth B. Ginsburg, a distinguished member of the Supreme Court of the United States. All of them have demonstrated their indisputable commitment to the Rule of Law and the defense of Democracy and Freedom.

On the other hand, the program will focus on promoting the Rule of Law as an Instrument for the Development of Nations, offering a comprehensive vision of the major issues that concern humanity and on which the world of Law and Justice must respond. These are themes that converge with the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and prosperity through sustainable development. The program will integrate the vision of noteworthy Colombian and international jurists, companies and institutions that support the progress of humanity, coexistence in democracy and freedom.

For Colombia, the Congress will be a source of great pride and significance, as well as a unique opportunity to support the stability of its democracy and promote Peace through Law.

Sign the WJA Declaration on the Venezuelan Elections

The World Jurist Association presented an expert declaration written by more than 1,000 legal professionals from different countries denouncing that the December 6, 2020 parliamentary elections in Venezuela lack the necessary guarantees to be considered valid elections under the international law . According to this legal analysis, the elections, which have not been recognized by either the European Union or the Organization of American States, will be null and void.

(You may sign the Declaration HERE )

With this initiative, the WJA seeks to warn the world’s public opinion about Nicolas Maduro’s attempts to elect a new National Assembly through a call that does not meet the minimum democratic requirements. Today, after five years of disregard for the Assembly by an illegitimate executive, the elections convened will be held amidst evident signs of lack of transparency, and harassment towards the few unwelcomed candidates for the government. The signatories call attention to the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice, in contravention of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, appointed the five directors of the National Electoral Council, thereby permitting them to modify the electoral laws at their discretion.

The accusation raised by the WJA bears the support of jurists of outstanding prestige and international recognition such as Álvaro Rodríguez Bereijo, President Emeritus of the Spanish Constitutional Court, and writer of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; Marie-Aimeé Peyron, President of the Paris Bar Association (2017-2019); Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice (2010-2014); Peter N. C. Umeadi, Professor and Justice Emeritus of the Anambra State Court, Nigeria; David Mills, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School; Augusto Trujillo, President of the Colombian Academy of Jurisprudence; and Katharina Miller, President of the European European Women Lawyers Association, among others. 

In like manner, Johann Kriegler, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa until 2002, is a signatory to the document. Justice Kriegler was appointed in 1993 as Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first post-apartheid elections with real universal suffrage in his country. Nelson Mandela’s collaborator has stated, on the current Venezuelan process, that having seen how a dictatorship evolves towards democracy, today we are witnessing the steps taken by an old democracy towards the strengthening of a dictatorship. Kriegler is considered the world’s leading authority on electoral processes.

On the basis of the verified data and in the absence, in the upcoming Venezuelan elections, of the political and legal guarantees already outlined, which are necessary for an election to be regarded as free and democratic, the signatories of the Declaration hold that such elections are invalid and reject their celebration. Consequently, they hold that in order to guarantee the protection of human rights in the country, the legitimacy of the current Venezuelan National Assembly must be preserved until genuine free, inclusive and democratic elections are convened.

This declaration will be presented at the United Nations, the European Parliament and other International Institutions and Courts over the world to continue condemning this electoral fraud in Venezuela. Jurists from around the world are called to support the restoration of the Rule of Law in Venezuela. You may sign the Declaration HERE

READ THE WJA DECLARATION ON THE VENEZUELA ELECTIONS

To sign and support this Declaration CLICK HERE

LEA LA DECLARACIÓN DE LA WJA SOBRE LAS ELECCIONES VENEZUELA

Para firmar la Declaración CLIC HERE

Telework at the WLC Opening Session London

Inaugurated by the WJA President for UK, Christina Blacklaws, and Diego Solana, Coordinator of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, the fifth Opening Session, celebrated from London on December 14, brought together Íñigo Sagardoy, Michael Burd, Renate Hornung-Draus, Daniel Funes de Rioja and Mbhazima Shilowa to discuss about teleworking.

Under the name “New ways of working and the future of work“, this new panel of dicussion focused on how current work trends should be regulated, the key factors for their transformation and the role each stakeholder should play in this field.

“In terms of work, this pandemic has changed everything, everywhere,” said Christina Blacklaws, President of WJA UK, immediate past President of the Law Society of England & Wales and President of Lawtech UK, who recognized that “we are now at the best possible moment to develop technological innovations that will change the way we deliver our services”. Blacklaws also shared data from a British study that “shows that the Covid-19 has accelerated the digital transformation by 5.3 years,” so that “we all know more about technology now than we did eight months ago”.

We are at the best time to learn technological innovations that will change the way we work

The debate began with the moderation of Iñigo Sagardoy, co-organizer of the event, president of Sagardoy Abogados and professor of labor law at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, who introduced the speakers after analyzing that “coronavirus has accelerated the transformation of organizations and we are at a turning point from which there will be significant regulatory changes in the ways in which companies are organized.

This scenario is confirmed by Renate Hornung-Draus, regional vice-president of the International Organization of Employers for Europe and Central Asia, who assured that “although the measures taken in most western countries to contain the pandemic have accelerated the digital transformation, they have also shown some deficits in the digital infrastructure, as well as its limits”. She advocates for a hybrid model of work with physical presence in the offices, in order to create corporate culture, but always respecting individual freedom. In this matter, she pointed out the difference between teleworking and mobile working, assuring that Germany has legislation on the former: “teleworking refers to a person working from home, it is at a distance, but in a fixed workplace; and it implies that there has to be an agreement between employee and employer by which the rules are respected”.

Michael Burd, head of the employment division at Lewis Silkim (London) and an expert in telework regulation, examined how labor regulation has evolved over the years: “what we see is that legislation and regulation are lagging behind the reality of work”, and acknowledged that “the feeling I have is that it has only increased with the evolution of technology, which is increasingly rapid, and has become more intense with the changes in work practices that have forced us all to change our way of working”. For this reason, and in the event that a worker remotely provides services from another country different from that of the company, he called for “legislation that contemplates key points, such as where to pay taxes, health insurance conditions, social security…” and concluded by recognizing “that local labor legislation in some cases complicates solving the global nature of this type of work”.

With regard to the regulation and negotiation of conditions, Daniel Funes de Rioja, vice president of the International Labor Organization and president of the Argentine Business Confederation, said that “unions must adapt to new realities and contemplate the changes from the perspective of the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise, if they continue thinking in terms of the second or third, technology will evolve without them and a gap will emerge”.

On this matter, Mbhazima Shilowa, former Secretary General of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and former Prime Minister of the South African province of Gauteng, set the current situation as a starting point “to find in the upcoming years better ways to combine different aspects such as, for example, the penetration of the Internet in all places”.

Social distance and flexibility are required, but this will not be possible without quickly resolving the social difference“.

Among the changes brought about by Covid-19, there is a debate about the vaccine and how it can affect workers’ relationship with their company. Michael Burd highlighted whether employers can demand their employees to be vaccinated or terminate them for not doing so.

Medical data is considered sensitive information and this will lead to searching for a balance between privacy and security for everyone… This is about protecting health at a collective level“.

The Opening Session London was the fifth preliminary session to the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Colombian constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Ivan Duque, has committed to “continue promoting the strengthening of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow growth and welfare, development and freedom of citizens”.

FULL SESSION: https://youtu.be/Y8xKC8Xd4X4

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/naGKYUREj_k

The WJA at the UN conference of the states parties to the un convention against corruption

The World Jurist Association made a presentation at the United Nations Vienna, during the plenary session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on September 2-4, 2020. The conference was chaired by the Attorney General of the United Arab Emirates, Harib Saeed Al Amimi, and Gabriel Fernández Rojas, WJA Representative to the UN Vienna and Financial Coordinator of the World Law Congress, participated on behalf of the World Jurist Association.

During his speech, Mr. Fernández Rojas mentioned the commitment of WJA in the fight against corruption and assured that the rule of law is incompatible with corruption. He stressed that a rule of law capable of preventing corruption is needed, in order to guarantee human rights and freedom, as well as to promote cohesion between societies. Additionally, he pointed out that the balance of power must be optimized, ensuring the efficiency and neutrality of public administrations, as well as improving citizens’ trust in institutions. In conclusion, he recognized that in a global context, open to new challenges and opportunities, the fight against corruption is one of the most urgent ways to defend the rule of law and remarked that this will only be possible with a strong commitment from society.

On the occasion of this meeting, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) also met, and as NGO with special consultative status before this institution, the World Jurist Association participated in it.

In the framework of the different events in Vienna, the WJA future activities were promoted in one to one meetings, increasing its network within this key forum.

The most important meeting was limited to UN State Parties and accredited NGOs. During that event, participants shared the progress made by their country in the fight against corruption, in light of the upcoming General Assembly against Corruption (UNGAS) to be celebrated in June 2021. One of the issues that caught greatest attention was the initiative presented in 2019, coincidentally, by the Government of Colombia at the UN New York. Colombia proposed the creation of an international court specialized in fighting against corruption and transnational corruption, in order to overcome limitations such as those that became visible with the Odebrecht case, the existence of blatant money laundering issues from the highest governmental levels in some countries, and the impossibility of making justice owing lack of judicial independence.

COP25 in Madrid: Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency

Law as a tool for citizens to fight against climate change

The World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation organized the ‘Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency’ on the occasion of the 25º UN Climate Summit. On December 4 & 5, 2019, experts in environmental and energy law analyzed how law can serve society in its fight against climate change.

The first meeting was held at the Green Zone of the UN Climate Summit COP25 in IFEMA. It was led by Javier Cremades, president of the organizing institutions, who said that law is the instrument that society has to face the challenge of climate change. In this regard, Cremades affirmed that “without law we can make little progress and that is why we need the commitment of the whole society, both the fiscal effort and the sense of corporate responsibility, in order to direct the future towards an energy transition that leads us to clean and sustainable energies that make decarbonization a tangible goal”.

Marina Serrano, Of-Coursel of Pérez Llorca, also highlighted the role of jurists in this area. She assured that “they serve society and citizens and, therefore, the environment.” And, in the words of Javier De Cendra Larragán, Dean of IE Law School and Member of the Health and Safety Committee of the International Bar Association, ”climate change has unleashed a cultural debate that requires an adequate framework and regulatory stability for technological development ”.

For Pilar Navarro, partner of Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo Sevilla and former Secretary General of Environment and Climate Change of the Junta de Andalucía, the solution to this problem lies “in regulatory stability, in the multilateral investment court and the application of law global administrative ”. And Navarro hopes to reach an environmental pact “to ensure that the planet will be available and sustainable for the next generations”.  To achieve this, she pointed out that “digitalization and technology, combined with the law, will be the horse on which this new transition to a decarbonized and sustainable world is galloping.”

The second day of Dialogues on Law and Climate Emergency, which took place at the headquarters of the news magazine Cambio16, featured Javier Cremades as moderator of the discussion in which Carlos de Miguel, partner of the Environment Department of Uría Menéndez, pointed out the need to establish “a consensus of price and legal security signals”, in addition to “a greater involvement of the public”, since “there is citizen and business awareness, but perhaps it is lower by the public bodies”.

Isabel Coleto, Co-Founder of Talantia and Professor at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, analyzed the industrial situation with respect to pollution, and indicated that zero waste is possible in business facilities thanks to the investments that are being made, but has not forgotten about small and medium-sized businesses, “so important in Spain as they cannot keep up with the environmental requirements that in recent years have proliferated so much in our country and that imply some insecurity for the end that can wait for them”. And is that “SMEs can barely meet the requirements of the regulator and there is an inconsistency between regulation and industrial reality.”