Global Insight - 2013 Archive

October / November 2013

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Me, myself and i

The European Commissioner for Justice says personal data is ‘the currency of the digital economy’ with estimates suggesting that, by 2020, it will account for eight per cent of the EU-27 GDP – currently €13tn. IBA Global Insight examines the legal implications of this brave new world where few have control of their digital identity.

Global leaders

Sir Nicolas Bratza served on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) — which oversees justice for more than 800 million people — for 14 years. As President in his last year he grappled with a backlog of 138,000 cases, growing anti-ECtHR sentiment in the UK and elsewhere, and stagnating funding. In this in-depth interview, conducted by former CNN news anchor Todd Benjamin, he shares his views on the future of the Court and human rights law.

The six trillion dollar question

Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights, a forthcoming report from the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, addresses the practices of multinational corporations and their detrimental impact on the developing world.

Adaptive behaviour

Rwanda’s move from civil law to common law and last year’s accession of Democratic Republic of Congo to OHADA (Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires) are just two examples of a continent embracing new legal and business ideas.

Conflict or consensus

The dispute resolution industry has never had it so good. The financial crisis has given rise to a seemingly endless stream of parties seeking redress for their losses, but there are often better ways to settle disputes than the traditional courtroom battle.

USA: UN moves to tackle sexual violence in conflict

Until the United Nations addressed it head on this summer, an all too prevalent human rights abuse – the use of rape as a weapon – had been largely overlooked in international human rights law.

AFRICA: Military oppression sows seeds of violence in Egypt

The bloody coup d’etat has claimed the country’s newly-elected government and the lives of hundreds, putting democracy and the rule law in a precarious position.

ASIA: China corruption push making companies wary

Multinational companies are paying millions of dollars to law firms for FCPA investigations. In China, the trial of Bo Xilai and recent experiences of GlaxoSmithKline are timely reminders not to overlook local laws in this area.

August /September 2013

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The global land grab

Rising demand for agricultural commodities has led to a ‘land grab’ in some of the world’s poorest countries. IBA Global Insight assesses the legal implications and the prospects for the developing world.

Global leaders

Jim O’Neill spent many years with Goldman Sachs, and is well-known for having coined the term ‘BRIC’ economies. In this in-depth interview, conducted by former CNN news anchor Todd Benjamin, he shares his views on the financial crisis, the progress of the BRICs, and what we can all learn from the leadership of his friend Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ambitions for harmony

Southeast Asia is aiming high as it plans for closer economic and trade integration. Law, and lawyers, have a big part to play.

CHINA: Asia’s emerging superpower is going private

The recent surge in US-listed Chinese companies going private has highlighted the potential in the Asian superpower’s M&A market. IBA Global Insight assesses the opportunities and their impact on law firm Asia strategies

War on fakes

The trade in fake goods could cost the global economy $1.7tn by 2015 and direct links have been found with organised crime and terrorist groups. IBA Global Insight investigates an industry thriving in the shadows.

USA: Should the US and Europe intervene in Syria?

Experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam shows that rule of law and respect for human rights cannot be imposed by military force.

ASIA: Snowden revelations make mockery of Hong Kong privacy regime

Hong Kong lawyers considered recent amendments to the SAR’s data privacy regime to be merely a knee-jerk reaction to the 2010 Octopus scandal. That was until Edward Snowden revealed the scale of state and corporate intrusions.

AFRICA: Mandela and Africa’s post-independence founding fathers

Nelson Mandela fighting for his life on his 95th birthday has prompted a worldwide focus on a remarkable legacy that contrasts starkly with the abuses in Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s attempts to cling to power.

June / July 2013

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Cyber wars

It’s difficult to overstate the level of cyber security threats presently facing states, companies and individuals. As the United States considers legislation to share classified intelligence with private companies, IBA Global Insight assesses the risks and responses.

Global leaders

Cyril Shroff has been managing partner at one of India’s foremost law firms, Amarchand & Mangaldas, since 1995. In this in-depth interview, conducted by former CNN news anchor, Todd Benjamin, he shares his insight into liberalisation, challenges – including governance issues and bureaucracy – and new developments in regulation, tax and competition law.

Dhaka’s controversial International Crimes Tribunal

Over 40 years after Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan, a court in Dhaka trying alleged perpetrators of atrocities during the 1971 independence war has been accused of playing politics, as the country hurtles towards another national election.

Financial crisis: the moral of the story

The crash of 2008 triggered a wave of bailouts, making ‘moral hazard’ a key phrase among commentators. As Cyprus is made to fund its own rescue IBA Global Insight assesses whether the term has finally found purchase in the financial system.

RUSSIA: reforming or unravelling?

Engagement with the OECD and WTO has put rule of law firmly on the agenda and means that reform should be imminent.

USA: Afghanistan: governance vacuum presents major challenges

America is the biggest aid donor to Afghanistan, having committed $100bn to reconstruction since 2002. But because rule of law is almost completely absent, much of it’s been wasted.

ASIA: Abenomics: a game changer for Japanese business?

In recent years, a stagnant domestic economy and a strong Yen have driven Japanese outbound investment. Both are being attacked by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, with his aggressive fiscal stimulus, forcing law firms to re-think their strategies.

BRAZIL: Bread and circuses, but precious few aqueducts

Brazil’s President is undeniably popular, but she and her country face considerable challenges. IBA Global Insight finds out why.

April / May 2013

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Democracy, Italian-style

The Italian national elections have highlighted the instability of the eurozone’s third largest economy, raising serious questions for Europe and further afield.

Time to wake up

Recent events suggest a sea-change on corporate abuse of tax havens. IBA Global Insight assesses whether they will pave the way for meaningful and lasting change.

Global leaders

Mark Malloch Brown was Kofi Annan’s right-hand man at the United Nations, first as his Chief of Staff and then as Deputy Secretary-General. In this in-depth interview, conducted by the IBA’s Director of Content, James Lewis, he discusses turmoil in the Middle East, reform of the UN, and the future of global governance.

INVESTMENT ARBITRATION: Speculate and arbitrate to accumulate

Third-party funders have flooded the investment arbitration world in recent years, taking on claimants’ risk for a share of the award. Some suggest these funds assist access to justice, while others say they exploit flaws in a system already in serious need of reform.

AFRICA: Unemployable millions or global talent pool

With Africa’s class of 2013 set to dominate the world – on graduation, it will join a billion-strong workforce outnumbering China’s – IBA Global Insight assesses the importance of education across the continent.

US: Equal justice slipping away

Despite President Obama making all the right noises, American justice is imperilled as the full implications of Citizens United are felt in judicial elections.

ASIA: Cambodia: China is buying its only true friend in the region

The new global superpower’s adoption of its smaller Southeast Asian neighbour is compromising diplomacy and human rights in the region

BRAZIL: Brazil’s slow justice too appealing for some

High-profile cases drag on for years. In a system tilted towards those with deep pockets, running out the clock is a favoured tactic for defence lawyers, which politicians accused of corruption see as a safe haven.

February / March 2013

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Judicious activism

As a district judge in New York, Jed Rakoff has drawn praise and opprobrium for standing up to both the banks and the regulators in the aftermath of wrongdoing uncovered by the global crisis. IBA Global Insight meets the man putting rule of law back at the heart of the financial system.

Global leaders

Luis Moreno Ocampo is the former Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, and has returned to private practice in New York, focusing on fraud and defending whistleblowers. In this in-depth interview, conducted by award-winning former CNN news anchor, Todd Benjamin, he assesses the ICC’s first decade and the future challenges for international justice.

Torture never again

Three decades after ending its 21-year military dictatorship, Brazil is far from eradicating torture. IBA Global Insight finds out why.


Facebook’s IPO faltered last year, sparking talk of the dotcom booms and busts, and another big class action payout for disgruntled investors. But IBA Global Insight finds this hitherto lucrative area of litigation in decline.

BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Protect, respect, remedy

The Kiobel case at the US Supreme Court has put the issue of corporate liability for human rights abuses firmly in the spotlight. But are businesses and law firms doing enough to meet their obligations?

London: Is Leveson a watershed for press ethics or an expensive white elephant

What will come of the inquiry into press culture? And what could it mean for journalists?

USA: How Israel lost even its closest ally

The answer may not be what you immediately assume: Israel’s repeated, provocative settlement announcements. Actually, America shares a large part of the blame.

South Africa: Annus horribilis

A terrible year has brought wide-ranging consequences that could call into question its status among the BRICS.

December 2012 / January 2013

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Making poverty history

Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 having successfully developed microfinance to address poverty in Bangladesh. Starting with just $27 over 30 years ago, his Grameen Bank has grown to become a multibillion enterprise lending almost exclusively to women. At the IBA Annual Conference in Dublin, he spoke to James Lewis.

The rebirth of Africa?

A key market for multinationals eager to capitalise on global demand for natural resources and cater to rapidly urbanising populations, the continent of 54 states at varying stages of economic and legal development nevertheless presents unique challenges.

The long road of reform

Burma has recently made rapid progress along the road to democracy. But legal uncertainties and the rise of an untested opposition party make foreign investment a very complicated prospect.

EUROPE’S FUTURE: States of the union

Despite the recently awarded Nobel Peace Prize, the position of the European Union looks precarious. As the debt crisis continues, tensions are mounting between Brussels and member states outside the eurozone.

THE ARAB SPRING: Devout democracy

The Taliban’s shooting of a young activist in the name of sharia law confirmed many people’s worst fears about the attitude of Islamists toward human rights and the rule of law. As Islamic parties come to dominate the fledgling Arab Spring democracies, IBA Global Insight examines whether such concerns are justified.

Joseph Stiglitz: Financial crisis

Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz served as Chairman of the Economic Advisors under President Bill Clinton and Chief Economist at the World Bank, which made him well placed to analyse the current financial crisis and suggest a possible way forward as the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of the IBA Annual Conference in Dublin.

Mary Robinson: Environmental justice

In the first memorial lecture in honour of George Seward – the former Honorary Life President of the IBA – Mary Robinson, formerly President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, takes the opportunity to emphasise the moral imperative to act on climate change.

Bernard Kouchner: Human rights and the rule of law

Having witnessed the horrors of Cambodia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica, former French Foreign Minister, the Nobel Prize-winning co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, Bernard Kouchner, is a passionate advocate for humanitarianism reforming the law. He shared his views at the Rule of Law Symposium during the IBA Annual Conference in Dublin.