On 14/15 September 2015 the third Advoc International Business Law Conference was held in Bali. Similar events were held in Bali in 2013 and 2014. The strategic purpose of the Bali conference is to showcase to our clientele and to the world at large the collective expertise of ADVOC in business law. It is thought that Bali is a suitable location as it offers a good quality, low cost venue that is easily accessible for most parts of Asia, as well as offering an opportunity to combine the conference with a few days’ vacation.

The conference was held in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel at Nusa Dua. This is a comfortable resort hotel with excellent conference facilities, within a short shuttle bus ride of the beach. The weather for the conference was excellent, September being a good time of year to avoid rain and high humidity or high temperatures.

There were around 42 attendees at the conference. Quite a number of these were lawyers from ADVOC Asia members. There were also some local Bali lawyers who were not members of ADVOC. We had ADVOC members and lawyers from Europe, namely from England, France and Germany. Pleasingly, the clients of several Advoc member firms attended, including two in-house counsel from major corporations in Australia.

The conference was chaired by Tom Darbyshire, of Kott Gunning Lawyers in Western Australia. The conference opened on Monday 14 September after lunch with an introductory address by the President of Advoc Asia, Dato Jude Benny, followed by a keynote address by Dato’ Mohamad Ariff Yusof, a retired judge of the Malaysian Court of Appeal and a founder of our Malaysian ADVOC member, Cheang & Ariff. He spoke on the Judiciary, the Executive and the Rule of Law. In a stimulating address he challenged us to think about shades of interpretation and purpose in different cultural and political systems.

The first of four business law sessions was on the theme of Creating Partnerships with Corporate Counsel. A strong panel chaired by Martin Deutsch of Colin Biggers and Paisley, including two corporate in-house counsel and the risk manager of a major not-for-profit organisation, presented on this important topic.

The second session on Monday afternoon, chaired by Jude Benny, was on the topic of Judicial Interventions in Arbitrations and Setting Aside Awards. Again, a panel of speakers from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia provided substantial presentations on this problematic legal area.

In the evening the conference dinner was held. Instead of the usual conference speech, two local charities were given time to present about the work which they are to do to assist those in need in Bali. The Muntigunung Development Program focuses on securing sustainable livelihood development for over 5,500 people in 34 villages in the poor and extremely dry region of Muntigunung in northeast Bali. The John Fawcett Foundation develops programs to help disadvantaged people in Bali to develop opportunities for improved standard of living and quality of life. It supports a range medical and educational programs. The presentation focused upon the work of the Foundation to restore sight to those who develop blindness. It is estimated that there are nearly five million blind people in Indonesia. In a fundraising effort by Conference attendees, significant moneys were promised to support these charities.

The first of two business sessions on Tuesday morning was on the issue of Cross Border Finance Transactions: Taking Security in Different Jurisdictions, chaired by Dr Harald Endemann. The conference was given presentations on the topic by lawyers from Australia, England and Germany. Nick Gleeson, group CFO of BW Maritime, provided valuable insights into the topic from a shipping perspective. This was followed by an engaging presentation about The Future Shape of Law Firms: Increasing Business Related offerings to the Client Base, hosted by Sathish Dasan from Norman Waterhouse in Adelaide. Finally there was an open forum in which questions could be asked of each of the panel chairmen and the panel members, which stimulated some spirited discussion to close out the conference.

The quality of the presentations, mostly by ADVOC members, was of a high standard. The topics were an eclectic but stimulating mix. In summary the 3rd IBLC was another successful business law conference. To quote from one who attended for the first time:

“I just wanted to thank you for the excellent work that you did in organising the 3rd Bali Business Law Conference.

I found the speakers interesting with the topics highly relevant to the legal profession. I also enjoyed the social activities and the opportunity to talk to our fellow Advoc members.

Thanks for all your efforts in organising such a wonderful conference.”

Simon Fraser

For Organising Committee