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International barristers come together at global bar conference

The Rule of Law, free speech and artificial intelligence were all on the agenda as the Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland and the Advocate General for Scotland addressed the World Bar Conference.

Organised in partnership by the Bar of Northern Ireland and Council of The Bar of Ireland, the World Bar Conference was a two-day event held across Belfast and Dublin between 16 and 17 May.    

The Attorney General for England and Wales Victoria Prentis KC MP played a key role during the conference, speaking on a panel about the Rule of Law and how to respond when it is challenged where statehood collapses.   

She was joined by barristers from Northern Ireland, Australia and Scotland, as well as the Head of Department for Combatting Crimes Committed in Conditions of Armed Conflict, from the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.  

The Attorney General used her platform to address the challenges of maintaining the rule of law in times of conflict.

The Advocate General for Scotland Lord Stewart of Dirleton KC sat on a panel that considered how legal systems, including practitioners, can navigate questions relating to freedom of expression in an increasingly digitised world.   

The Attorney General yesterday said:  

Barristers play a crucial role in the administration of justice. Whether you are self-employed and work in private practice or an employed barrister, a barrister’s specialist and objective legal advice crucially helps their client navigate complicated areas of law.  

The World Bar Conference was a thought-provoking event, bringing together barristers from across the world to discuss common challenges and share best practice. Only through this discussion can the profession react to the issues of the day.

During the two-day conference, the Attorney General also held bilateral meetings with, the Attorney General of Ireland Rossa Fanning and Northern Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Naomi Long MLA.   

The Attorney General and Advocate General for Scotland also met with barristers practicing in Northern Ireland and visited the Four Courts in Dublin.   

The Advocate General for Scotland yesterday said: 

This year’s World Bar Conference delivered on its objective of exploring how barristers and advocates can respond to global challenges. I joined the panel discussion on the importance of freedom of expression and navigating matters of free speech, and was heartened at how the aims of the session were brought to life through a fascinating and informed discussion. 

While in Belfast and Dublin it was also great to meet with my fellow law officers from across the UK and Ireland, and to talk with other colleagues from across the legal profession.


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