Tag: World Law Congress

Digital Resources for Climate Law

Digital Resources for Climate Law

On December 1, the World Jurist Association (WJA) and World Law Foundation (WLF) organized the Opening Session London of the World Law Congress New York 2023. Co-organized with Climate Policy Radar, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & the Environment of the London School of Economics, and Laws Africa, environmental law experts discussed about open source “Digital Resources for Climate Law”.

The online session addressed how digital technology can facilitate the effective use of legal data for climate law research, policy making and litigation. All of this, with a focus on protecting human rights and preserving the Rule of Law around the world.

In his introduction, Diego Solana, international advisor of the World Law Foundation, contextualized the current European energy crisis derived from the invasion of Ukraine, emphasizing its great impact on the economy and the Rule of Law. Likewise, he pointed out that this debate is a continuation of the Permanent Forum on Energy Transition and Climate, which will culminate in the World Law Congress New York 2023, to be held on July 20 and 21, 2023.

Open access to climate data and legislation is a guarantee of rights

The panel was chaired by Lord Robert Carnwath, former judge of the UK Supreme Court, member of Landmark Chambers and associate professor at the LSE Grantham Research Institute. Panelists included Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University and leader of Climate Change Litigation Database, USA; Michal Nachmany, CEO and founder of Climate Policy Radar, UK; Greg Kempe, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Laws.Africa; and Catherine Higham, Coordinator of the Climate Change Laws of the World program at the LSE Grantham Research Institute.

After commenting on the relevance of access to climate legislation, case studies and jurisprudence for all nations, the former British judge gave the floor to Michael Gerrard, who presented two databases on climate change litigation that he and his team began working on in 2007. This exhaustive research also refers, with the United States as a sample for analysis, to the legal models for the pursuit of decarbonization and climate regulation around the world. “With these databases we have found the particularity that they can be used globally for climate litigation and their usefulness and functionality for society lies in the fact that they are freely accessible in all parts of the world.”

After a round of questions to Gerrard on the challenges and limitations in research, Carnwath passed the floor to Michal Nachmany, who explained that “sharing knowledge” was the “motivation” for starting Climate Policy Radar, a contribution to the academic community, but also to society. “We are building the world’s largest and most comprehensive open knowledge base on climate policy, law and litigation.” The database is structured, intuitive, available in multiple languages, and is also “open source and free”, which allows “discovering national climate legislation from any country of the world”.

Greg Kemple then stressed that, in Africa, there is no transparency or free access to the country’s own climate laws, which is a barrier to securing rights. This is a challenge that requires special attention, especially considering that the effects of climate change in African countries are greater than in other latitudes. Considering that the fundamentals for the use of legal information are impact, use, understanding, access, knowledge, and availability, Kemple ended his speech by stressing that “enabling free and effective access to the law is essential for government, administration, business, the fight against corruption, the environment, and human rights”.

After Carnwath’s review of the presentation, the floor was given to Catherine Higham who emphasized the need for lawyers to be updated and aware of the uses of artificial intelligence, technology and the different open access databases presented throughout the session. The coordinator of Climate Change Laws of the World focused on the global and individual importance of climate legislation and practical cases, pointing out as a problem that “not all countries in the world have access to legal data on climate policies and laws”. Therefore, it is necessary to understand “what is the impact of failing in a climate case against cooperation” and the importance of an international consensus agreeing the digitization and liberalization of information on climate litigation.

At the end, after a final presentation of ideas by the speakers and a debate on the subject, Diego Solana concluded the session by explaining the importance of experts in international and climate law. He also emphasized the importance of raising awareness and freeing access to databases on climate laws and enabling the development of the Rule of Law in different countries around the world, such as Africa. To conclude the Opening Session, Solana stated: “if it is not accessible, it does not exist“.

FULL VIDEO ON YOUTUBEhttps://youtu.be/EvcEikQ4zEU

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The World Law Congress Awarded Best International Legal Initiative

The recognition has been awarded at the Legal Marcom National Law Gala 2022, the first Spanish-speaking awards that honor professionals in the sector.

The World Law Congress was recognized as the Best International Legal Initiative at the Legal Marcom 2022 Awards. The jury, comprised of 40 general counsels of prestigious transnational companies in Spain and legal journalists, awarded 28 prizes in twelve categories for Spain and Latin America.

At a different country every two years, the World Law Congress brings together different legal organizations that focus on the Rule of Law as a guarantor of freedom and development for nations. Given the great leading role of the Organizing Committee, the last editions of the congress gathered more than 2,000 leaders from around the five continents. Panelists include heads of State, presidents of international and national courts, judges, academics, lawyers, journalists, politicians, businesspeople, and students, who discussed topics as diverse as human rights, regulations for artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies, refugee crisis, democracy, high education trends, climate change, mediation, intellectual property, among many others. 

The Legal Marcom 2022 National Law Gala is an “enriching meeting point for the legal sector”, as Marc Gericó, managing partner of Gericó Associates, points out, and “a benchmark in the legal world”, according to Fernando Díaz Barco, member of the jury and director of Legal Counsel at Sacyr. About the 28 awards presented, Ana Prado, general counsel of Mercedes-Benz Spain, emphasized that “it was very difficult to decide as there were many very good candidates”, emphasizing “the great initiative and the good health of the sector”.

Rule of Law, Energy Transition and Climate

The Opening Session Helsinki of the World Law Congress New York 2023 gathered prestigious judges and academics who presented current environmental cases and their relevance in protecting human rights and the Rule of Law.

On November 7, 2022, the World Jurist Association (WJA) held the Opening Session Helsinki on Rule of Law, Energy Transition and Climate, which featured presentations by expert practitioners and academics from different countries. The presentations included theoretical and practical presentations of current international cases on environmental and climate mitigation issues, highlighting the relevance of sentences and sustainable energy policies in the global context and as a guarantee of the protection of human rights and the environment for future generations.

The online meeting, prior to the 28th edition of the World Law Congress to be held in New York on July 20 and 21, 2023, was presented by the executive director of the WJA, Teodora Toma, and moderated by the president of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, Kari Kuusiniemi. It also featured presentations by Ekaterini N. Iliadou, Professor at the Law School of Athens, Greece; Luc Lavrysen, President of the Constitutional Court of Belgium and President of the European Union Judges Forum for the Environment; Brian Preston, Chief Judge of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court, Australia; Ania Rytel-Warzocha, Professor at the University of Gdansk, Poland; and Christina Voigt, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Advocating for the Rights of Future Generations: Climate Policy and Sustainable Energy

In his introduction, judge Kuusiniemi described the impact of human activity on the “radical changes” in the environment and the European complexity given that “Russia is using energy as a weapon, which makes the energy transition necessary”. He then pointed out that “institutions must take care of the environment, support human rights and protect future generations.”

Meanwhile, Professor Iliadou focused on the European Union’s policies towards energy transition, emphasizing the need to establish climate laws as a top priority. She stressed that, being “energy a common public good, both in companies and homes, public intervention to guarantee it is essential”, adding that energy “impacts on the environment and on local and regional pollution”. She also justified the need for public intervention in the energy sector, as it traditionally rests on three pillars that protect future generations: “security of supply, affordability, and environmental protection”.

Judge Lavrysen then focused on the nexus between environmental and energy guarantees and the separation of powers and constitutionalism to protect the Rule of Law. “Climate change policies are complemented by constitutional rights such as corporate freedom, equality before the law, non-discrimination.” He reviewed European jurisprudence towards climate neutrality. The president of the Belgian Constitutional Court concluded, asserting that “the demanded policies are insufficient in relation to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, potentially conflicting with the separation of powers and thus with the Rule of Law.”

In this vein, Justice Preston explained the Australian government’s accountability in the face of climate litigation. He referred that the government “must take the lead in establishing and implementing the strategic, policy and legal frameworks necessary for effective climate action.” However, Preston stated that the administration, in some cases, “adopts policies, but does not implement them” and it is then when “the judiciary must hold the administration accountable for compliance”. Among some of the incidences he identified and exemplified in his intervention are the failure to adopt climate policies, the adoption of illegal policies, the failure to implement policies or their inadequate or illegitimate implementation, and the failure to take adequate measures or the failure of the duty to take them.

All this can lead to climate change affecting fundamental rights, such as the rights to a clean and safe environment, life, health, food, water and development, among others. Prof. Rytel-Warzocha further elaborated on this issue, adding that “in the global context, those most affected by climate change are usually those who contribute the least to it”, and that “its impact will also affect the rights of future generations”. Exemplifying the case of Poland, she concludes that environmental regulations are extensive, but reflect “the need for legal instruments to ensure that climate change is effectively combated to avoid its impact on the human rights of current and future generations”.

For her part, Professor Voigt presented a Norwegian case study in which the government was accused of violating fundamental rights by granting ten licenses for oil exploration in the Barents Sea, which would generate a large export of CO2 emissions. After passing through various Norwegian courts, the case is currently before the European Court of Human Rights. Despite Norway’s request to dismiss the case, it is a juncture that “opens the door to the recognition of climate damage as a violation of human rights”.

Judge Kuusiniemi closed the panel by inviting those present to continue the discussion at the World Law Congress New York 2023 and stressing that “this Opening Session is one further step towards the mitigation of climate change by legal means, by the efforts of the courts and academia”. 

FULL VIDEO ON YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/B8AALFCM-Rw

 

 

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