Global Insight - 2012 Archive

October / November 2012

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Democratising the drug trade

The drug trade in Latin America is undergoing a ‘democratisation’. This is not a good thing.

Environmental law gets radical

As inertia hampers the fight against environmental degradation, IBA Global Insight makes the case for shifting the agenda from breaking conventions to enforcing them.

Health warning

Could an Australian High Court decision spell the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry?

Cleaning up the City

A series of scandals has cast a long shadow over the already beleaguered financial sector in recent months. IBA Global Insight examines what needs to be done to reform the industry.

The limits to freedom of expression

Does the denial of crimes against humanity mark the outer limit of freedom of speech? The ongoing dispute between France and Turkey over the Armenian genocide sheds light on a complex and sensitive issue.

USA: What backers want

Even as the remarkable wealth of the 400 richest Americans continues its astonishing annual increase – 13 per cent this year – those funding the Presidential campaigns still want more in return for their support, says our Washington columnist Skip Kaltenheuser.

AFRICA: Massacre at Marikana

In the aftermath of the killing of 34 protesting workers by police at a platinum mine, our Johannesburg-based correspondent, Karen MacGregor, describes how South Africa is struggling to find answers amid competing interests and political manoeuvring.

MIDDLE EAST: Bridge over troubled waters

A planned causeway between Egypt and Saudi Arabia could bring the two countries closer economically, socially, and politically, says Andrew White, based in Dubai.

August / September 2012

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Navigating Europe’s minefield

Greece’s plight has highlighted the crisis in democracy, the eurozone and the financial system. The position of Europe’s bigger but no less beleaguered economies looks precarious, too. IBA Global Insight assesses the way ahead.

Chasing tigers

The Asian powerhouses of India and China should not eclipse other emerging opportunities across the continent in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea, but there are risks as well as rewards.

After the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring countries have long-standing trade relations with Europe, but to stand the best chance of a swift and lasting recovery they must prioritise opportunities in the Middle East and Asia.

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: The anarchical society

As the death toll continues to rise in Syria, the international community is searching for a diplomatic solution. IBA Global Insight assesses how far diplomacy should go to stop the bloodshed and where the line should be drawn between immunity and justice.

DISCRIMINATION: Women and the law

The IBA hosted an expert panel discussion. Moderated by BBC broadcaster Fi Glover, the panel comprised four lawyers at the very top of the profession: Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, leading barrister and human rights expert; Margaret Cole, former managing director of the UK Financial Services Authority’s Conduct Business Unit; Elizabeth Barrett, Slaughter and May partner and former head of litigation; and Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society and former director of the British Institute of Human Rights.

USA: Banksters

Leading experts suggest the pandemic nature of ‘shenanigans’ at our biggest banks calls for criminal charges against top executives. Our Washington columnist, Skip Kaltenheuser, argues that reforming the system should become an important question in the US presidential election.

LONDON: Olympic Games

When London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics seven years ago, everyone knew the city would be closely scrutinised across the world. Our London-based senior reporter, Rebecca Lowe, assesses the winners and losers of the city's third Olympic Games.

LATIN AMERICA: Rio looks to London and plans historic redevelopment

The eyes of the world are always on an Olympic city, but a group of Brazilians planned to scrutinise every aspect of the London Games with uncommon care. As our Brazil-based columnist Brian Nicholson reveals, Rio de Janeiro, host in 2016, is seeking to use the Games to give the self-styled ‘marvellous city’ a transformational makeover.

June / July 2012

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Iran: from prince to pariah

Iran and the West have been sworn enemies since the Islamic Republic came to power in 1979. Now, the focus on Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions means that tensions have never been higher. Are the two sides irreconcilable, and could the escalation prove disastrous?

Europe’s downturn bodes ill for refugees

There’s no good time to be a refugee, but things are getting worse as, 61 years after the UN Declaration on Refugees was signed, Europe forgets the horrors that forged it.

Bringing the Khmer Rouge to justice

Cambodia’s war crimes court appears to have reached an impasse and run into controversy over potential future cases.

FINANCIAL REGULATION: Dodd-Frank exchanges

Attempts to re-build the financial system have resulted in a flood of banking regulations, emanating from the US and elsewhere, and it’s meeting with considerable resistance. Is the finance world right to push back?


Kalidou Gadio is the General Counsel of the African Development Bank, one of the most influential institutions on the continent of Africa. In a wide-ranging interview, conducted by award-winning BBC journalist Zeinab Badawi, he discussed critical links between law and development, investment from China and fragile states.

USA: Afghanistan: the long goodbye, leaving a failed state crippled by corruption

Widespread corruption in Afghanistan ranks among the strongest factors determining the country’s future. But, it appears that the United States and its allies are focused on an uninterrupted exit, fearing the potential for chaos if they meaningfully confront the issue.

AFRICA: A pivotal period as International Criminal Court comes of age

The ICC, marking its tenth anniversary this year with landmark convictions in the Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor cases, provides a sense that this is an historic moment for the new and evolving system of international criminal justice.

LATIN AMERICA: ‘Big Monthly’ exposes failings in Brazilian political system

Development could be stymied by political paralysis in a country that has 29 parties, with 23 represented in Congress. Most lack a consistent or even discernible ideological position, and some are sub-divided into warring factions.

April / May 2012

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Global leaders: Chris Saul

Chris Saul is Senior Partner of Slaughter and May, one of the world’s most prestigious law firms. With a blue-chip client list, its profit per equity partner, are a reported $3 million a year. In a wide-ranging interview with the award-winning former CNN news anchor, Todd Benjamin, he assessed the eurozone crisis and major themes set to be discussed at the IBA’s Group Member Summit at the end of May.

The great pay debate

Over the past decade, executive pay in the US and UK has rocketed in relation to that of average workers, despite major corporate scandals and global financial collapse. Yet leading figures in the business world continue to resist change.

Trading places

Ten years after China’s accession to the WTO, and with Russia soon to follow suit, the tensions in international trade are becoming increasingly exposed.

Web of discontent

The question of who can publish content belonging to others online has been dominated by fierce litigation and ineffective legislation. The latest ruling in Luxembourg suggests that the saga may finally be reaching its conclusion.

Law beyond borders

Throughout the era of globalisation, expansionist law firms have been plagued by regional restrictions. But, while trade agreements may open markets, they don’t necessarily prompt an influx of investment.


Despite the number of women entering the legal profession, there remain few at the top and discrimination is rife, but private and public initiatives are addressing the issue.

USA: Legislating to create the next Enron

Under the guise of easing the path to an IPO – up to a value of $1billion – the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act diminishes established transparency requirements, including some aimed at ensuring companies aren’t cooking the books.

MIDDLE EAST: Qatar’s coming of age as a regional powerbroker

Qatar is increasingly adopting a leadership role among Arab states, not just through its astonishing investment, but by bringing its influence and diplomacy to bear in Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan and Syria.

ASIA: A lesson not yet learned

The Fukushima disaster was a shock and a tragedy. Now, one year on, it’s time for a careful assessment of what happened and how to avoid anything like it happening again.

February / March 2012

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Sovereign wealth: shifting sands

The shifting dynamics of the global economy are giving rise to difficult questions. Although sovereign wealth funds tend to be passive investors, worries remain that their approach conceals aggressive intent.

Global leaders: Hugh Verrier

The chairman of White & Case – a global firm with an annual revenue of US$1.3 billion – discusses the financial crisis, emerging markets and the challenges for the profession.

The IBA interview: Access denied

Austerity, riots and spiralling prison numbers have led to major legislative responses from the UK Government, which have been heavily criticised by leading lawyers, NGOs and the House of Lords. The IBA met with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and put their concerns to him.Austerity, riots and spiralling prison numbers have led to major legislative responses from the UK Government, which have been heavily criticised by leading lawyers, NGOs and the House of Lords. The IBA met with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and put their concerns to him.

ARAB SPRING: Arabian fights

Egypt recently completed its first free elections for six decades. Yet the army, Islamists, liberals and old guard are still vying for power. IBA Global Insight meets those involved in the transition, including leading presidential candidate Amr Moussa, former Secretary-General of the Arab League.

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT: Acts or emissions

Climate change has taken a back seat to economic woes and the Arab Spring, further diminishing political will to tackle the issue. As successive summits in Copenhagen, Cancún and Durban have produced mixed results at best, IBA Global Insight assesses the challenges.

LATIN AMERICA: HUMAN RIGHTS Erivaldo dos Santos: The quest for prisoners’ rights

Sixteen years ago, Erivaldo Santos abandoned his job in a bank and became a judge. He is now renowned in Brazil and beyond for his innovative, award-winning projects.

USA: You could’a been a contender

Extreme foreign policy positions are commonplace during US electioneering. Though generally dropped like hot potatoes, as our Washington-based columnist Skip Kaltenheuser points out, they nevertheless change perceptions of the values defining America.

MIDDLE EAST: Year of the Dragon for Gulf oil and gas producers

Just as the eurozone crisis is deepening and European states are turning to the world’s richest countries for assistance, the Middle East region’s oil-rich states are increasingly forming alliances with China. Our Dubai-based columnist Andrew White assesses the implications.

AFRICA: Liberating in poetry but governing in prose

The African National Congress is viewed as a beacon of hope for those facing human rights abuses around the world. But, asks Karen MacGregor, our Johannesburg-based columnist, has it remained true to Nelson Mandela’s ‘cherished ideal of a democratic and free society’?

December 2011 / January 2012

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The Nobel Peace Laureate, Egyptian Presidential candidate and seasoned diplomat – having served three terms as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency – addressed the IBA’s first conference hosted in the Middle East in its 64-year history. He spoke of his hope for the international rule of law in light of the Arab Spring.

THE IBA INTERVIEW: Cherif Bassiouni

Frequently referred to as the Father of international criminal law,Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, led the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry into events during unrest in February and March 2011. In a wideranging interview conducted by Al Jazeera’s Nick Clark at the IBA annual conference ahead of the unprecedented report’s publication, Professor Bassiouni provides unrivalled insight on this and numerous other crucial political, diplomatic and legal initiatives.

FINANCIAL CRISIS: Who rates the rating agencies?

The US and countries across Europe have been humbled by downgrades from the hugely powerful credit rating agencies. As markets react ruthlessly to their proclamations, and governments topple throughout the Eurozone, IBA Global Insight assesses their influence.

LITIGATION: Rolls Royce justice

At £300m, the new Rolls Building offers cutting-edge commercial dispute resolution – but at a hefty price. Is the building emblematic of the world’s leading centre for legal services?

ASIA: CAPITAL MARKETS - The great gamble

US law firms have spent big to attract elite Hong Kong talent, but with so many firms apparently obsessed with gaining eminence in the volatile IPO segment, recouping their investments will inevitably prove arduous.

MIDDLE EAST: Eurozone crisis and MENA’s Future

While the lights may have dimmed on Gaddafi and Berlusconi, albeit in very different ways as our Middle East correspondent Andrew White points out, the futures of their two nations, as well as the regions of which Libya and Italy are such an influential part, are very much intertwined.

USA: Land of the unfree

America has five percent of the world’s population, but a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Overcrowding undermines rehabilitation and increases recidivism, but as our Washington-based columnist reveals, efforts to reform are meeting with wealthy and powerful resistance.

LATIN AMERICA: Who watches the watchers?

Eleana Calmon, a 67-year-old career judge, is shaking up Brazil’s judiciary, speaking of ‘the bandits behind the robes’. She’s coopted the assistance of everyone from Federal Police to the Finance Ministry’s money laundering unit in her efforts to unveil them, not without considerable and powerful resistance, as our Brasil-based columnist Brian Nicholson reveals.