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Law Council of Australia


IBA Bar Leaders’ Conference in Helsinki

31 May 2023

Law Council President, Mr Luke Murphy, and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Margery Nicoll, attended the International Bar Association (IBA) Bar Leaders’ Conference held in Helsinki from 24-27 May 2023. During the Conference President Murphy and Ms Nicoll attended the Bar Leaders Forum hosted by the IBA Bar Issues Commission and the IBA Council meeting.

President Murphy served as a panellist in a session entitled ‘Running a bar post COVID-19 – old challenges and new’ alongside Mr Steven Richman, Dr Ulrich Wessels, Ms Imbi Jürgen, and Mr Olumide Akpata.

The President presented on the challenges and opportunities that arose during the pandemic for Australian legal professional bodies, and how that experience continues to inform activities today. President Murphy reflected on the rise in virtual and hybrid conferences and meetings, and the increased focus on wellbeing both in the profession and the wider community.

In the margins of the Bar Leaders’ Conference, President Murphy met with many counterpart bar leaders including the United States, Canada and New Zealand to discuss anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes with reference to the Australian Government's consultation paper on the subject. He also met with senior office holders of the IBA Human Rights Institute.

Immediately after the Conference in Helsinki, the President and Acting Chief Executive Officer travelled to London to meet with counterpart legal professional bodies and regulators in the United Kingdom, including the Law Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, to advance the Legal Services Regulatory Dialogue which will take place under the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement.

The trip to London coincided with the entry into force of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement on 31 May 2023.

On the date of entry into force of the Agreement, President Murphy and Ms Nicoll met with His Excellency, the Hon. Stephen Smith, Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom at Australia House.

This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss opportunities for Australian legal practitioners under the Agreement, particularly through the Legal Services Regulatory Dialogue of which the Law Council is a member.



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