The CEE Region does not often host huge international lawyer conferences. A few years ago, however, firstly Bucharest hosted one and now, this year, on October 28-November 1, 2016 Budapest welcomes the 60th Annual Congress of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA).
UIA, the second largest and oldest international association of lawyers, was established in 1927 and brings together individual members and 200 bar, federation and association members from more than 110 countries. The UIA is open to all the world’s lawyers, both general practitioners and specialists. Its members also include legal professionals, judges, law students and teachers. The UIA is a multilingual and multicultural organization and is the only major international lawyers’ organisation to have adopted French, English and Spanish as its working languages.
The UIA’s membership has extensive expertise in legal matters, which means the UIA can initiate high-level legal debates within its technical commissions and working groups and adopt resolutions on current problems faced by the legal profession throughout the world in the course of responding to legislative attempts of governments and changes to the legal profession. It also plays a key role by raising a voice against political actions and decisions – intended to hinder the independence of the legal profession – in the interests of justice and the rule of law.
To promote professional excellence, the UIA offers seminars, training sessions and other events throughout the year in several countries which are accredited for continuing education purposes. UIA events, which have been held in locations throughout the world, enable participants to meet colleagues and establish business contacts, which are also two of the main aims of the forthcoming Annual Congress being held in Budapest between October 28 and November 1, 2016.
The Annual Congress meetings typically attract between 1000-1200 lawyers from around 80 countries. This year, there will be at least 35 working sessions – from employment law to telecommunication, tax, M&A and banking – along with two main themes that will focus on compliance, privacy and data protection.
Parallel to the working sessions there will also be two plenary sessions, including one on “Compliance – Challenges and opportunities for the legal profession“. The objective of this plenary session is to introduce participants to compliance, its fundamentals, its challenges, the benefits of a thorough compliance programme, its building blocks, their implementation into a company’s operations, the review and reporting mechanisms and internal investigations if an issue occurs. Furthermore, it seeks to highlight the importance of this area of the law for the legal profession. Speakers from the OECD, large corporations and legal and forensic experts will discuss the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (USA), the UK Bribery Act 2010, the UN Global Compact 10 Principles, the G 20 Anticorruption Action Plan and the ICC anti-corruption clause. In addition to Anti-Corruption, the main theme also focuses on competition, international trade control and sanctions.
Another plenary session will be devoted to “Privacy and Data Protection in a digital world – Towards an international regulatory approach for mass surveillance and profiling“, which will, in general, deal with the issue of the government surveillance of citizens for criminal profiling purposes (the public aspect), as well as the corporate use of the personal data of clients/users for commercial profiling purposes (the private aspect) in the context of a society where the processing of citizen and consumer data is increasingly prevalent. Here, in addition to international legal practitioners, the speakers will include regulatory bodies responsible for supervising the communication sector and also those responsible for data security.
It is a very important mission of the UIA and the Hungarian organizing committee to show the cultural and culinary treasures of Hungary to the Annual Congress’ international guests. Therefore, the first day of the Annual Congress on October 28, 2016 will invite the attendees to the Music Academy for the opening ceremony and a cocktail. The second evening with be an informal dinner at the bottom of the Castle Hill at the Castle Garden Bazar, while the closing ceremony will be at the classicist building of the Pesti Vigadó. All these places are situated in the heart of Budapest, close to the congress venues at the Marriott and Intercontinental Hotels.
Budapest and the UIA Organizing Committee warmly welcome our colleagues from Romania to a truly promising gathering of the legal profession, which will also offer an excellent professional networking opportunity!
Dr. András Szecskay, Szecskay Attorneys at Law
Dr. Judit Budai, Szecskay Attorneys at Law