Tag: World Law Congress

The President of the Constitutional Court of Spain chaired meeting of the Spanish legal profession for the World Law Congress 2021

>> The meeting was attended by the Minister of Justice of Spain, the Colombian Ambassador to Spain, the former president and current judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Eduardo Ferrer, and the 50 most important law firms with presence in Spain

The Madrid Bar Association (ICAM) hosted a lunch with representatives of legal institutions and law firms convened by the World Jurist Association (WJA). During such, the program of the Opening Session Bogotá-Madrid of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021 was presented, which will be held during July 5 and 6 in Madrid. This lunch was attended by the President of the Constitutional Court of Spain, Juan José González Rivas, the Minister of Justice of Spain, Juan Carlos Campo, the Colombian Ambassador to Spain, Luis Guillermo Plata, the judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor, the president of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers, Victoria Ortega, the dean of ICAM, José María Alonso, and the vice president of the Mutual Fund for Lawyers, Joaquín García-Romanillos.

During the opening speech, José María Alonso acknowledged that the hosting of this event is “a joint project to promote the Spanish and Ibero-American legal world beyond our borders.” The Dean pointed out the importance of “being aware of our potential and to act in unison.” In this sense, he welcomed initiatives such as those of the World Jurist Association, “which has the objective of reinforcing and enlarging our presence in the world, as well as being a collective, supportive and inclusive project.”

For his part, Javier Cremades, president of the WJA, underlined the association’s special defense of the rule of law and explained that in the world “there are profound processes of distortion and falsification of the rule of law within our democracies; alerts that exist in many countries and show that the rule of law must be taken care of so that more and more people take shelter under it”, recalling “the need for life to occur under the rule of the law ”.

Let us remember that the World Law Congress brings together prestigious presidents of courts, magistrates, government officials, academics, lawyers, students and legal professionals from around the world, who discuss defense issues of the rule of law as a warrantor of freedom. The last edition, held in Madrid in 2019, brought together more than 2,000 jurists, a framework in which the WJA awarded King Felipe VI with the World Peace & Liberty Award.

The next edition of the World Law Congress, which will be held in Colombia, on December 2 and 3, 2021, has held Opening Sessions from different cities around the world over the course of a year, with the Opening Session Bogotá-Madrid being the most powerful of all, as an allegory to the delivery of the witness from one country to the other.

Ambassador Luis Guillermo Plata expressed the suitability of holding the Congress at a time like the one Colombia is going through. He highlighted the values ​​promoted by this event and the message it conveys, since “Colombia is a country where we must talk about freedom, democracy and rights, but all within the framework of the law.”

The Minister of Justice of Spain, who participated in the inauguration of the opening sessions in Barcelona in July 2020, congratulated the World Jurist Association for having references from the international legal sphere, and has recognized that this event “represents an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen international legal cooperation”.

For his part, the president of the Constitutional Court of Spain expressed his wish that the celebration of the Opening Session Bogotá-Madrid and the congress in Colombia “be moments of deepening on the values ​​of the rule of law.”

Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor, Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Trustee of the World Law Foundation and member of its Organizing Committee, presented the content of the Opening Session Bogotá-Madrid program. On July 5, he highlighted the holding of an unprecedented panel discussion on gender equality and the rule of law, made up by presidents and judges of the world’s most important supranational courts, who will meet for the first time in history. Similarly, tribute will be paid to the recently deceased Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the last recipient of the World Peace & Liberty Award in 2020, and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medals of Honor. Ginsburg of the WJA to the world’s leading women jurists will be presented in her honor.

For its part, on July 6 there will be a summit of presidents of the supreme and constitutional courts of Europe and the Americas, which will also have presidents of different institutions related to the Judiciary and the presidents of the bars of the Mexican legal profession, with aim to discuss the rule of law.

Al finalizar el acto se entregaron placas conmemorativas a José María Alonso , Decano del ICAM, Luis de Carlos , Patrono de la World Law Foundation y Presidente de Uría Menéndez, Pedro Pérez Llorca ¸ Socio Director de Pérez-Llorca, Carlos Rueda , Socio Director de Gómez-Acebo y Pombo, y Fernando Bautista , Socio Director de Bautista & Asociados. Un reconocimiento a su permanente y necesaria colaboración con el éxito del World Law Congress Madrid 2019.

“The Distortion of the Economic & Social Constitution from La Paz”

>> The main presidents of the Ibero-American jurisprudence academies have participated in the latest Opening Session

The World Jurist Association (WJA) and the Permanent Conference of Ibero-American Jurisprudence Academies have organized the debate “The Distortion of the Economic & Social Constitution”, moderated by Ramiro Moreno Baldivieso, president of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Bolivia. This meeting has brought the main representatives of the Ibero-American academies of jurisprudence together virtually and has become the eleventh Opening Session of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021.

Augusto Trujillo, president of the Colombian Academy of Jurisprudence, has recognized that “the rule of law supposes freedom for economic activity and for private initiative, but without forgetting the responsibilities of the social state.” In this sense, he assured that “the law has to be a true guarantee of coexistence”. Javier Cremades, president of the WJA and the World Law Foundation (WLF), has reinforced this position, assuring that “if we want rule of law, we have to work towards it and make sure that there is no distortion or destruction of the Constitution, for which it is essential to identify when threats and attacks on the rule of law begin to be created”. Manuel Aragón Reyes, academic director of the World Law Congress, emeritus magistrate of the Constitutional Court of Spain and member of the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation of Spain, also made reference to this, stressing that “when the rule of law is distorted, the social state is harmed”.

For his part, Bernardo Fernández del Castillo, president of the Academy of Jurisprudence of Mexico, has underlined the relevance of transferring what the rule of law implies: “it is seldom understood by the general population because they do not have a clear concept of what it can encompass, implying respect for the legal order in the legislative hierarchy of each country”. He also stressed that “it entails absolute respect on the part of the human rights authority and has the obligation to ensure that this is respected.” However, Mario Castillo Freyre, director of Conferences of the Peruvian Academy of Jurisprudence, believes that “[Peruvian] society has accepted the falsification of political organizations.”

Encarnación Roca, vice-president of the Constitutional Court of Spain, has placed special emphasis on the protection of children in the rule of law and has recognized that “we must try not to leave the interest of the minor only to a programmatic declaration”, and in terms of child exploitation, pointed out that “work prevents children from having a healthy childhood, a full childhood and a safe environment.” In addition, she highlighted the importance of minors knowing what democracy is, because otherwise, she assured, “they will not be able to live in a rule of law.”

Cecilia Sosa Gómez, president of the Supreme Court of Venezuela (1996-2000) and member of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences of the country, has analyzed how the constitutional distortion of economic rights occurs: “we are experiencing turbulence associated with the Venezuelan political process and the impossibility of solving the problem in light of the Constitution is due to the fact that the 1999 text has been a mere facade for the tempters of power and the opposition elites have had a purely political vision of the problem and not constitutional or institutional, nor economical either”.

Along these lines, José Luis Cea Egaña, president of the Chilean Academy of Jurisprudence, has commented “with uncertainty and some hope” the problem that his country is currently going through. “Although we are close to voting on a new Constitution, we are going through a process of deconstitutionalization in which the phases of the legal system are being violated and there is an environment of misrule along with vandalism where society is being neglected by the State, which is weak, fragile and does not serve the human person”. In his speech, Sergio D’Andrea, president of the Brazilian Academy of Legal Letters, explained how the Amazon has become a lost paradise within the framework of the distortion of the social and economic Constitution.

For his part, Rafael Vergara, former director general of the Bolivian Tax Authority and the country’s Academy of Jurisprudence, has focused on debates such as those involved in the opening sessions: “we jurists must guide these meetings so that these decisions which distort the nature of constitutional control and the essence of the defense of minorities and the rule of law, do not repeat themselves in another part of Latin America”. And for Armando Andruet, president of the Academy of Jurisprudence of Cordoba, “the best laws make citizens better and they deserve to have judges who judge with broad scientific capacity and a dignity and ethical commitment.”

This has been the eleventh day of the series of opening sessions prior to the World Law Congress to  be held in Colombia this year, making it coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Colombian constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Iván Duque, has pledged to “continue promoting the strength of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow the growth and well-being, development and freedom of citizens”, and has assured that “we will continue working to build a better future for all based on the strength and guarantees of the rule of law”.

Opening Session Luxemburg: AI & Rule of Law

On the theme “Artificial Intelligence and the Rule of Law”, the World Jurist Association (WJA) held the ninth opening session Luxembourg of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021. According to Xavier Bettel, chair of the event, Prime Minister and Minister of Media, Communications and Digitalisation of Luxembourg:

“the main challenge we face is to gain people’s trust so that they are not afraid of Artificial Intelligence”.

Furthermore, Mr. Bettel added that “we must remember that, as human beings, we design [AI], we develop it and we choose to what extent it benefits society”. In this way, he defended the need to establish strict control criteria and the importance of being transparent and guaranteeing human dignity and rights: “this is what we have to ask from machines”.

Javier Cremades, president of the WJA, stressed in his opening speech that “we are facing new challenges that are a consequence of the digitalization of society in which Artificial Intelligence is also a challenge for the Rule of Law, since we must find a way to ensure that AI does not deteriorate it and that they are compatible”.

Meanwhile, Marina Teller, professor at the University of Nice, shared her opinion on the role of justice in the new technological landscape: “the law must prevent machines from monopolizing the political decision-making process, which must remain in the realm of human actions”. For this reason, she considers that “the first step towards this transition is related to developing critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication”. In addition, she pointed out that:

“to establish the rights of people in the digital era, a legal framework for Artificial Intelligence is necessary”.

Along these lines, Karim Benyekhlef, professor at the University of Montreal, emphasized that “we must consider that, with fairness in mind, Artificial Intelligence is the result of human engineering”. And he assured that “there is a responsibility to act now to regulate it without waiting any longer”.

Gregory Lewkowicz, professor at the University of Brussels, focused his speech from the perspective of lawyers and bar associations, “The development of digital society and the use of artificial intelligence makes lawyers face many potential problems. One of the most important now is that of the trust clients must have. Client-attorney confidentiality is very important and, since we use digital technology for almost everything, there are many challenges regarding the protection of information.

Viviane Reding, Vice President of the World Law Foundation (WLF) and Vice President of the European Commission (2010-2014), after assuming the role of coordinator and moderator of this panel, closed the meeting advising that “investments must be made to learn about Artificial Intelligence, because if you do not have knowledge, you will not be able to survive in the new ecosystem that is opening up before us”.

“It will need to be a wake up for lawyers in big institutions or in small cabinets… If they do not know about AI, if they do not understand the system, they cannot survive in the long term. And those should be the lessons to take with us also to Colombia”.

This meeting is the ninth session prior to the World Congress of Law to be held in Colombia this year, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Colombian constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Iván Duque, has committed to “continue promoting the strength of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow growth and welfare, development and freedom of citizens” and has assured that “we will continue working to build a better future for all based on the strength and guarantees of the rule of law”. 

FULL SESSION: https://youtu.be/zkMrg3WOrKs

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/Bx16hN8wDeE

The Rule of Law through the Educational System WLC Opening Session Dominican Republic

Chaired by Luis Henry Molina Peña, President of the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic, the World Jurist Association celebrated the Opening Session Dominican Republic of the World Law Congress “Higher Education: A dialogue in the Market”, on January 19, 2021. The event focused on the need to promote the rule of law through the education system.

Javier Cremades, President of the World Jurist Association (WJA) and the World Law Foundation, opened the debate by calling for collaboration to “educate the population on the importance of the rule of law through all educational structures and thus ensure that the new generations of judges, prosecutors and jurists can have access to a coherent legal system”.

Along these lines, María Eugenia Gay, president of WJA Spain and dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, acknowledged that the education system at its highest levels has to provide students with the tools they need to perform their work in decent conditions, and added that we must ensure that we provide all the mechanisms to ensure that lack of experience is an intermediate stage between training and employment.

William Adams, Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education at the American Bar Association, emphasized that training around the rule of law will have a greater impact on higher education if it starts at the grassroots: “civics education in elementary schools was very common, it disappeared and now it is coming back into the curriculum, and I hope that the school boards start acknowledging that this is as necessary as it used to be.

For his part, Antonio García Padilla, president of the Puerto Rican Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation, coordinator and moderator of the panel, directed the debate towards the dichotomy that arises from the possibility of pursuing an entire law degree online, while there are countries that do not recognize the quality of a distance education. In fact, Joseph K. West, partner and head of diversity and inclusion at Duane Morris, insisted on the need to “be aware of how you are educating and what education you are providing, because schools need to focus on inclusion, as they have begun to understand what the real situation is in dealing with people.”

Maite D. Oronoz Rodríguez, president of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, emphasized that currently “we are training lawyers for the 20th century because, although the world has evolved, the judiciary has not evolved as fast”. She believes that it is “imperative to rethink the way we educate,” but acknowledged that “while it is true that technology facilitates justice and the search for truth, I am not sure that it makes a student complete with the needs that we will keep on having in courtrooms.” In this sense, as she pointed out, “the interpersonal intelligence and communication that occurs in an academic environment, in a classroom or in a courtroom, I don’t think is fully and completely achieved by a fully online preparation or education.”

Regarding the role technology is playing in the legal aspect, Luis Henry Molina Peña, president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Dominican Republic, said that “the Internet has become an essential element that, until now, had only had an impact on the processing of paperwork. Now, it has transformed the operators of the administration of justice and has allowed citizens to get closer to justice, enabling them to have control over the provision of a service, for example, and providing them with greater transparency”.

Jaime Granados Peña, lawyer and university professor, specialist in criminal law, emphasized that the most difficult thing in the Colombian judicial system has been to understand that technology is not a threat, but a tool to achieve different circumstances: “they represent an opportunity to bring respect for the law closer to citizens and generate new possibilities for their rights to become a reality”.

This meeting is the sixth session prior to the World Congress of Law to be held in Colombia this year, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Colombian constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Iván Duque, has committed to “continue promoting the strength of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow growth and welfare, development and freedom of citizens” and has assured that “we will continue working to build a better future for all based on the strength and guarantees of the rule of law”.

FULL SESSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWvjTrOtlFM

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/kOpOSVUW2q8

Opening Session Strasbourg “International Protection of Families & Children”

In collaboration with the European Bars Federation (FBE), the World Jurist Association (WJA) celebrated on February 25, 2021 the Opening Session Strasbourg of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, focused on the importance of the Rule of Law in protecting minors in vulnerable situations, while maintaining their human dignity. Javier Cremades, president of the WJA and the World Law Foundation, opened the webinar by emphasizing that this is a very important area for the society, acknowledging that “if the rule of law is anthropocentric, the protection of families and children is essential”.

Under the title “The International Protection of Families and Children”, María Eugenia Gay, president of the WJA Spain and dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, moderated this debate in which Silvia Giménez-Salinas, president of the FBE, assured that “from its beginnings, the protection of children provided the administration with the necessary speed to protect a child immediately in the face of abuse or negligence, as we cannot allow procedural deadlines to harm them”. Along these lines, she pointed out that “family law and the protection of children has advanced thanks to European regulations”. However, she acknowledged that each State has its own independent regulations and has its own family law.

The same situation occurs in the United States where family law is statutory: “There is no American divorce law, for example,” acknowledges Pamela M. Sloan, chair of the NYC Bar Association’s Matrimonial Law Committee and Council at the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), who assured that, during these processes, children are given a voice. “The lawyer’s job is to advocate for the interests of the child, they have a confidential relationship, and the child does not have to be present at court because the judge can question them outside,” she said.

For her part, Dominique Attias, first vice-president of the FBE, was concerned about the cause of ghost children and wanted to pay special attention to these minors who are not registered, since, as she pointed out, “every minor must be registered at birth to have a legal identity”. Adding that “children whose birth is not registered do not exist in the eyes of their country’s governments, complicating access to their rights, health and education, which could even be denied to them”.

International child abduction is another problem related to the protection of children. Ignacio Goicoechea, representative of the Regional Office of the Hague Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC), called for “less rhetoric and more effective protection” to solve this issue since, he stressed, “what children need is to be protected”. Carolina Marín Pedreño, vice-president of the IAFL and former president of the Westminster and Holborn Bar Association (UK), also referred to this issue, pointing out that “the Hague Convention is a very good instrument to comply with the need for a child to be returned to his or her country of origin after having been abducted”. In addition, she highlighted the training of lawyers and recognized that “on occasions, we see children who have not been returned because the parent has declared that he or she is not aware of the existence of treaties that solve the situation”. In this sense, Diana Hamade, a lawyer from the United Arab Emirates and member of the IAFL, pointed out that “in many countries there are deficiencies when a parent takes a child away and the child is not returned to the other parent”.

Regarding child marriage, Dilia Leticia Jorge Mera, Vice Minister of Innovation, Transparency and Citizen Services of the Dominican Republic, stated that “it is a real situation of violation of human rights, since child marriage is carried out without the consent of children and adolescents, who are coerced by their families or by the social environment around them”. She also pointed out that “Dominican Republic and Nicaragua occupy the first place in Latin America with 8,000 minor girls and teenagers married between 2001 and 2019”.

For Pakistani lawyer Sulema Jahangir, member of the IAFL, the global culture of justice and equality could be used in benefit of minors in Pakistan where “judges try to help families and advance laws that are fairer for women”. She also highlighted the goal “to improve the lives of hundreds of women and families in Muslim countries”.

For Daniela Horvitz, president of AIJUDEFA (International Association of Family Lawyers) and governor general of the IAFL, giving children, young people and families the protection needed, also implies “an imperative need to standardize basic principles in relation to family law”.

This meeting has served as preview of the family law topics that will be discussed during the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, which will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Colombian Constitution. Through the projection of an institutional video, the president of the host country, Iván Duque, has committed to “continue promoting the strength of the rule of law as fertile ground to allow growth and welfare, development and freedom of citizens” and has assured that “we will continue working to build a better future for all based on the strength and guarantees of the rule of law”. 

FULL SESSION: https://youtu.be/FmXQmqcK1No

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/VFRoBUU4Sn4

Opening Session Chile “Transnational Crime and Corruption: Protecting Judicial Independence”

The President of the Supreme Court of Chile, Guillermo Silva Gundelach, participated in the Opening Session Chile of the World Law Congress Colombia 2021, titled ‘Transnational Crime and Corruption: Protecting Judicial Independence’. Silva Gundelach stressed the importance of discussing corruption and the protection of judicial crime, since “if we do not do so, we put our common future at risk”.

The meeting was chaired by Javier Cremades, president of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation, who welcomed the speakers, stressing “how important the independence of judges is, as well as the fight against crime and corruption”. Organizer Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2010-2014), introduced the topic and highlighted its importance since “the strengthening of organized crime networks has generated a new type of challenge and threat to the judicial independence of the powers”.

Leonor Etcheberry, Vice President of the Chilean Bar Association, has been in charge of moderating the debate in which Cheol-Kyu Hwang, President of the World Association of Prosecutors, has defended that “we are doing our best to apply the conventions against corruption” and has pointed out that international cooperation is fundamental, as well as ensuring that prosecutors’ offices work collaboratively beyond the traditional framework. During the discussion, the Attorney General of Spain, Dolores Delgado, bet on the functional and budgetary autonomy of the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in order to confront corruption, which she considers “the dirty game of democracy” and highlighted the need to resort to cooperation as the tool to tackle impunity.

María Eugenia Gay, President of the WJA Spain and Dean of the Barcelona Bar Association, ratified the “firm commitment” of the group to make law and the laws the safeguard of citizens’ rights. As she highlighted, political parties and the different public powers must act with transparency and rigor in favor of society, so that the political formations are capable of redirecting the deviation of power and recovering the institutions they represent, the people, reinforcing the sovereignty of the states. The great challenges ahead demand the development of the structure in which dialogue is the maximum expression of democracy.

In this line, Héctor Humeres Noguer, President of the Chilean Bar Association, assured that “it is the responsibility of all the powers and ministries, in addition to the bar associations, to contribute to the prevention, eradication and information about the dangers of corruption and the forms in which it may appear”. For Humeres Noguer, “corruption can deteriorate the basis of a country causing severe damage to society, because the corruption that falls on the administration of justice affects the guarantee of human rights protection”.

Jorge Abbott Charme, National Prosecutor of Chile and President of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors, believes in the autonomy and independence of public prosecutors’ offices and promotes the use of international cooperation tools. During the debate, Luz Ibáñez, Judge of the International Criminal Court, recognized that “the problem of corruption and judicial independence does not respond to the individual conduct of judges, but rather it is a structural problem and therefore the response must be holistic and structural”.

In his intervention, José Igreja Matos, Vice President of the International Union of Judges, explained that it is always clear that the domestication of judges is a fundamental tool to promote impunity, and he highlighted the role of the multiple institutions that play a decisive role in the defense of the rule of law. “Difficult times demand a firm and courageous voice from international institutions”.

Roberta Solis, Judicial Integrity Team Leader from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, closed the debate, stressing that “support among judges is fundamental because it helps prevent judicial corruption.

This Opening Session was the second session prior to the World Congress of Law to be celebrated in Cartagena de Indias on November 17-18, 2021. The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, participated in this session via institutional video, in which he assured that his country “receives this congress as recognition to the efforts of the Colombian society to defend the rule of law as a guarantor of freedom, order, peace and harmony”.

FULL SESSION: https://youtu.be/7F5jNVq1KDU

SUMMARY SESSION: https://youtu.be/YzuKod1v6sI