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What's it like to attend a CLA Commonwealth Law Conference?  Listen to what our members say 

The Commonwealth Law Conference

The first Commonwealth & Empire Law Conference was held in London in 1955. An Executive Committee comprising of representatives of a number of law societies/bar associations across the Commonwealth was responsible for the organization of the conference.

In organizing the second Commonwealth & Empire Law Conference (Canada,1960), the organizers realized that as the number of members of the Commonwealth had increased since 1955, planning decisions had to be made by the host country in consultation with the newly appointed Inter – Commonwealth Advisory Committee (ICAC) comprising of lawyers from 10 Commonwealth countries.

The representative from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on the ICAC raised the issue of the desirability of establishing a British Commonwealth Law Institute. This reflected the considerable and widespread view that further contacts between lawyers was desirable, and it was decided to invite the committee to consider the issue and any detailed proposals at the next conference to be held in India.

As a direct result of this, the Commonwealth Legal Bureau (CLB) was established in 1968 as a loosely knit association of bar associations and law societies.

The first Commonwealth Law Conference (5th Conference) was held in Scotland in 1977. Prior to conference, the CLB elected Mr Laurence South wick to be the Honorary Secretary. It was also agreed that the CLB should be constituted on a more formal basis – with a Constitution setting out its powers and responsibilities. It was felt that it had done useful work in the past and would continue to do valuable work in the future as the continuing link between the bar associations and law societies. The CLB would be answerable to the ICAC and would have responsibility for the law conferences.

At the Commonwealth Law Conference held in Hong Kong in 1983 it was agreed that the CLB should be replaced by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and a constitution was subsequently adopted in Jamaica in 1986.

The CLA now holds a biennial conference, the last being held in Glasgow, Scotland in April, 2015. The conference upholds the tradition of bringing together judiciary, lawyers and legal professionals from throughout the Commonwealth.

Past Conferences

he Commonwealth Law Conference (CLC) is probably the most well known activity of the CLA. The CLC is a prestigious event that brings together legal practitioners from all over the Commonwealth to debate current issues affecting practice and the profession, exchange views and experiences with colleagues and get up to date with the latest commercial products and services.

First held in 1955, the CLC has been organised on a regular basis ever since. It was initially held every five years but, as a result of their success and popularity, this was reduced to every three years. The conference now takes place on a biannual basis.

A list of the Commonwealth Law Conferences is shown below:

1955 London, UK 1960 Ottawa, Canda
1965 Sydney, Australia 1971 New Delhi, India
1977  Edinburgh, Scotland       1980 Lagos, Nigeria 
1983 Hong Kong  1986 Ocho Rios, Jamaica
1990 Auckland, New Zealand 1993 Nicosia, Cyprus
1996 Vancouver, Canada 1999 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2003 Melbourne, Australia 2005 London, United Kingdom
2007 Nairobi, Kenya 2009 Hong Kong SAR
2001 Hyderabad, India  2013 Cape Town, South Africa
2015 Glasgow, Scotland  2017 Melbourne, Australia

 


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