English case law has, by virtue of its persuasive standing in other common law jurisdictions, an appealing quality for many of the five thousand odd delegates at the International Bar Association’s annual conference.
The fact that the ICLR is offering a special 20 per cent discount on all sales of both hard copy and online law report subscriptions to delegates during the conference has no doubt made it even more appealing.
This year’s conference is taking place at the Convention Centre Dublin (pictured), an airy modern building on the north side of the swift-flowing Liffey, which was designed by Kevin Roche, a US-based architect of Irish descent. It was opened in August 2010.
Delegates have come from 123 different jurisdictions, only some of which use the common law. Among those who do, there is a large contingent from Nigeria, 700 delegates representing the bench, the bar and government offices. They congregate around our stand, cheerfully chatting to each other like long lost friends while they wait for us to give them a demonstration of ICLR Online. We’ve already sold some of them hard copy and online subscriptions, and many others have taken our details and signed up for trials. The second largest contingent, almost as large, is from England and Wales, but we have met representatives from Ghana, China, Libya, the Netherlands and Belgium, among others.
Each morning the delegates arrive at the Convention Centre to face a punishing schedule of talks and seminars. There 180 working sessions listed over the course of the week, ranging from arbitration to the law of outer space.
Between sessions, they throng the exhibition hall, picking up corporate gifts (mostly pens, stressballs and sweets) and drop their business cards into goldfish bowls in the hope of winning an i-Pad or one of a number of other prizes, the most interesting of which is a pair of boxing gloves being offered by Grant Thornton, the accountancy firm, who provide forensic and investigation services in Ireland. Not just any old boxing gloves (though many lawyers might find them a useful antidote to stress), but a special pair signed by Katie Taylor, who won gold in the Women’s Boxing for Ireland at the London Olympics this summer.
The IBA Conference continues until Friday.