November 2022

Andrzej Tokaj’s Notes from Miami

Our Senior Partner summarises what he felt were the seven main topics under discussion at the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association which took place in Miami this year.

(1) Sustainable Development

Given the current threats to the planet compounded by the energy crisis, climate change and green energy took centre stage. Attention was also drawn to another big problem facing much of the world, namely poverty as well as cyber security.

(2) Unity and Resoluteness

Ukrainian President Zelenski addressed the conference and called for all war crimes to be investigated and every criminal brought before the law. The outcome of the war will be a great test for the West but so far democratic countries have responded to Putin’s aggression with remarkable unity and resoluteness.

(3) End of History?

Lionel Barber, former editor of the Financial Times, recalled his meeting with Putin, who asserted that liberal thought was a thing of the past and that democratic governments preoccupied with multicultural obsessions, gender and diversity policies, had lost touch with their societies.

(4) Lessons from Covid

However, the liberal democracies handled the great challenge of the 2020-2021 pandemic better. It was the private sector in these democracies acting in concert with government agencies that invented, produced and distributed the Covid-19 vaccine with remarkable speed.

(5) Lifetime Achievement

Benjamin Ferencz, the Hungarian-born 103-year-old American lawyer won the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was the lead prosecutor in the 1947-1948 Nuremberg trials against the Einsatzgruppen Germans. In his speech, he stressed that we must never give up on the principles of the rule of law and peace.

(6) Equality and Freedom

Highlighting gender equality in the business, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (aka Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter films) took part in a session entitled “Men of Quality Respect Women of Equality”. Media freedom was also highlighted and the need for states to do more to protect it.

(7) Poland in Spotlight

Coupled with the solidarity of Polish people in helping their neighbours in Ukraine in their time of need, interest in Poland was clearly felt. Poland’s economic growth, size and stability of the market in the heart of the EU, meant that talk of cooperation opportunities in Poland could be heard in many corners of Miami.

The full article was published on 22 November 2022 in Poland’s premier newspaper Rzeczpospolita and can be found here.