As 2019 draws to a close, Christian Wisskirchen (Head of International) and Stephanie Brown (International Policy and Programme Manager) share their highlights from this year.

The International Team and Committee have continued to promote the Bar and the rule of law internationally which included a number of new initiatives.

In 2019 we:

- started a new senior lawyers training programme for Chinese practitioners,

- held the first UK-China Arbitration Summit in London,

- organised a fourth English-Cypriot Law Day,

- conducted a third visit to Kazakhstan and a second English Law Week in Mexico City to which we added a new English Law Day in Bogota,

- welcomed the 6th group of Latin American exchange lawyers,

- celebrated 10 years of Russian and English Law Weeks in Moscow and St Petersburg,

- as well as provided support for the profession in Seoul at the IBA annual conference.

We continued to speak out in defence of legal professions abroad when they have come under political pressure, such as in Turkey and Indian-administered Kashmir and held our 13th International Rule of Law Lecture, featuring the Chief Justice of Ethiopia Meaza Ashenafi.

During a visit to the International Criminal Court in the Hague we laid the groundwork for an exchange programme benefitting barristers specialising in international criminal law.

We continued to support the development of a Convention on the Independence of Lawyers in the Council of Europe and continued to push for governance and strategic reforms in the International Bar Association.

We also did our level best to advocate to the UK government in relation to Brexit, providing well-reasoned submissions in relation to legal market access and justice cooperation. We agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Belgian Bars and negotiated simplified re-qualification for the Irish Bar, thus helping members with EU facing practices and lobbied successfully to remain a full member of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe.