IBA hosts largest transnational crime conference to date

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Diana Czugler
Peters & Peters, London; Young Lawyers’ Committee Liaison Officer, IBA Criminal Law Committee

The 26th Transnational Crime Conference, which took place between 8–10 May 2024 in Milan, Italy, was a resounding success. In fact, it has become the most well-attended international criminal law conference in the IBA’s history! We would like to thank all the officers of the IBA’s Criminal Law and Business Crime Committees and the host committee of local advocates for their hard work in putting together such an excellent event, and all those in attendance for making it a conference to remember.

The conference selling out in record time and attracting a lengthy waiting list were the first signs that this would be a special occasion. Read on to learn what happened when around 300 lawyers from 36 jurisdictions got together to discuss the latest developments in cross-border criminal law and procedure while experiencing the best of Milanese culture and cuisine.

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Networking, arts, music and aperitivo

Those who have previously attended the Transnational Crime Conference, which travels to a new country around the globe each year, will know that the event goes way beyond formal conference sessions. Relationships are forged and strengthened both in and outside the lecture theatre across nationalities, languages and practice areas.

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This year’s conference kicked off on Wednesday evening at the beautiful rooftop bar of Terrazza Palestro in the fashionable Brera district of downtown Milan. The welcome party was, of course, Milanese-style: an aperitivo standing reception, allowing delegates to get to know each other over a glass of fizz and a bite of pasta while catching the last of the May sunshine. Many delegates carried on the night at various events organised by local law firms, who did their best to showcase Italian hospitality across the conference.

Thursday night’s traditional host reception this year took the form of a sunset terrace party followed by a formal dinner, both hosted in the stunning 1930’s hall of the Triannale Milano museum, which stayed open after hours to welcome delegates. It was not only the art on display that wowed those of us in attendance: the four-course traditional Italian menu was accompanied by a live opera performance and string quartet!

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Exchanging ideas and learning from each other

The formal conference sessions opened on Thursday morning with a very apt, if sobering, keynote address from Marta Cartabia, the President Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court in Milan. The President highlighted current risks to judicial independence and warned that these trends were symptomatic of a broader erosion of the rule of law.

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The conference continued with seven extremely well-attended panel discussions over the next day and half, with topics including formal and informal cooperation with law enforcement agencies, deferred prosecution agreements and other negotiated outcomes, whistleblowing and the rights of defendants.

As always, panel chairs and moderators took great care to reflect the IBA’s diverse membership in their sessions, with speakers representing a broad range of jurisdictions and both prosecutorial and defence practices. Topical discussions ranged from extradition, mutual legal assistance, sanctions and related legal issues arising from the Ukraine war to Covid-19 subsidies fraud and the latest trends in tax fraud prosecutions. The extended running time allowed interactive audience participation in each session, ensuring that delegates got the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, and to learn from one another. A full list of panels and speakers are included at the end of this article – scroll down for more!