The International Committee, which will be led by James Dingemans QC in 2009, has set itself an ambitious programme of activities. In relation to promoting the Bar overseas, a number of events and missions are planned, in collaboration with the Specialist Bar Associations. In April the Bar will be represented in large numbers at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Hong Kong. In addition to featuring a number of barrister speakers, a reception hosted by the Bar Council, COMBAR and Chancery Bar Association will provide an excellent opportunity to build links with other common law practitioners. This will be followed by a second business development mission to the Gulf states of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain in May. In the autumn another mission to India is on the cards. Following the successful visit by a Bombay Bar delegation in May 2008, the IC will launch a young lawyer exchange with the BBA.

On the European agenda is a joint seminar with the German Bar in Berlin, open to all barristers in April and a seminar with the Italian Bar in the summer.

In relation to activities strengthening the rule of law we are looking to develop joint activities with the Advocacy Training Council, mainly in African jurisdictions, combining advocacy skills training with training and support in relation to conduct and regulation of the legal profession. A joint ATC-IC mission to Mumbai is also planned.

In relation to the international policy agenda, 2009 will see the implementation of the new EU Services Directive, which will require the BSB to make its procedures more accessible to European lawyers and consumer as well as requiring barristers to comply with increased standards of client care. The CCBE will embark on a review of the EU Establishment Directive in anticipation of the Commission’s own review in 2012. Beyond the shores of Europe, most international practitioners are awaiting with great anticipation whether the Indian legal market will open up to foreign legal practitioners. An LLP Bill currently before the Indian parliament is set to clear the way for Indian law firms to compete on level terms with foreign firms, and is seen as a precursor to a gradual opening of the legal market.