IBA launches forum for government and public lawyers at annual conference

New hub will help connect public sector lawyers from around the word, writes Ben Rigby

Federica D'Alessandra and Andrew McKenzie, co-chairs of the new forum

Public lawyers have a new home within the International Bar Association, as the IBA opens the forum for government and public lawyers to encourage membership from government and public lawyers worldwide. 

The forum builds on the IBA’s successful and long-established corporate counsel forum (CCF), which caters to business lawyers in in-house legal practice. By establishing a new hub for government lawyers as a distinct professional category, and as the global voice of the legal profession, the IBA is well placed to support public sector lawyers and to provide opportunities to connect such practitioners with others in both the public and private sector. 

Like the CCF, it will focus on the role and practice of its community, especially around the values and objectives that ground public service, ethics and specialist skills, as well as consideration of public international law issues. 

Membership is open to Bar associations, complete or supporting members of the IBA, and individual members of any IBA divisions. The forum will particularly interest practitioners working in government or public entities at domestic, regional or international levels. 

The new forum will be launched at the IBA Annual Conference in Paris today at a session co-hosted by Andrew Mackenzie of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, who will also co-chair the forum. Mackenzie said he is honoured to take up the role alongside Federica D'Alessandra, the deputy director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. 

Talking to IBA Daily News, he said: “My background is as a government lawyer, so I am delighted to be involved in this important initiative. 

“We have been committed to establishing a hub for government and public lawyers from across the globe for some time and established this new IBA committee this year. 

“Our inaugural session will take place on Monday at IBA Paris and involves some of the brilliant officers of the forum as speakers – Frances Anderson, Dr Pascal Dutru, Klaus Löber and Andy Beattie.” 

Anderson, who is the assistant solicitor for the Victoria government in Australia and the forum’s co-vice chair, added the session would “provide a new perspective and discuss the role and practice of the government and public lawyer”, which he says is “complex and critical”. It will also explore what it means to be a government lawyer and “the distinct responsibilities, opportunities and challenges which make this role unique”.

This article was first published in the daily newspaper for the IBA Annual Conference 2023, which is published in partnership with The Global Legal Post  

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