The Australian Bar Association (ABA) is sponsoring the International Malaysia Law Conference taking place later this month in Kuala Lumpur (24 – 26 September).
Australian delegates including a High Court Judge and four silks will deliver talks at the conference.
“Members of the Australian Bar have frequently attended other Asian conferences… [but]… this is the first time the Australian Bar has actively sponsored and supported an Asian conference,” Mark Livesey QC (pictured), president of the ABA, told Lawyers Weekly.
He said the conference would be an exciting opportunity to showcase the accessibility and quality of Australian advocates before an international audience.
“[Asia] certainly appears to be a market which is growing and which is an opportunity for Australians,” he said.
Livesey will be joined in Malaysia by a high-powered delegation.
This will include High Court Justice Susan Kiefel QC, former Commonwealth solicitor-general Dr Gavan Griffiths QC, Campbell Bridge SC and Ian Robertson SC, as well as a host of lawyers from Hong Kong, Malaysia and the UK.
The conference will cover a diverse range of internationally-focused topics including financial reporting standards, Islamic finance, tax, personal data protection and tracing matrimonial assets.
Livesey said he would discuss directors’ duties in the context of insolvent companies, while Griffiths and Bridge would speak about opportunities for Asian clients to pursue international arbitration in Australia.
Justice Kiefel is going to deliver a talk on barrister immunity, comparing justifications for its abolition in England to its retention in Australia.
Livesey said the ABA’s support of the Malaysia Law Conference builds on years of significant advocacy training and pro bono assistance by Australian lawyers in Asia.
“It’s something that has been going on for a very long time and it’s something that we really haven’t given significant prominence to,” he added.
Does Asia prefer QCs?
In the recent debate surrounding the two alternative titles for silks, QC and SC, some have argued that the QC title is the more commercial option in Asia due to its perceived prestige.
Livesey said he is undecided on this point. “I’m hoping to learn more about that as a result of my trip to Malaysia. I’ve heard it said that the use of QC is very helpful. I’ve heard it also said that the alternative is now very well recognised, so I’m waiting to find out,” he said.
He added that the ABA “is very content to leave the question of QC or SC to the individual Bars.”